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As a kid, I lived at the beach at Lake Minnewashta Regional Park. My mom was taking us there most days during the summer to swim. When we weren’t at the beach, we’d take the boat out and water ski or go fishing.
The lake had everything. When I moved to Chanhassen, I was so excited to be so close to the beach. The sad part is, I’ve lived here for 7 years and have only made it to the park twice, both in winter.
The park has changed so much since I was young, with so many different things to do.
Lake Minnewashta Regional Park
Lake Minnewashta Regional Park is a 340-acre park along the shores of Lake Minnewashta. The lake covers 680 acres. Its located along the border of Chanhassen, Chaska, and Excelsior off Highway 41 between 5 and 7. It neighbors the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The kids camp, Tanadoona borders the park.
Things to do at Lake Minnewashta Regional Park
First and for most the park is known for its beach. It has a water table for kids, fabulous changing facilities. There is also a concession stand there. During summer, rentals like Canoes, Kayaks, and Stand-Up Paddle Boards.
They also offer lessons on weekends. The park rents out space on their canoe racks too for locals.
They have also added a free little library by the beach. Finding this library was part of the Regional Parks Winter Adventure Scavenger Hunt on Goose Chase.
The library is based on the honors system. Take a book and leave one behind. Or take one out for the day and return it on your way home.
The Lake Minnewashta Regional park playground is a great meeting spot for families. They have a bunch of equipment, along with plenty of opportunities for kids to use their imaginations.
Nearby is a pavilion for picnics and get-togethers. My kids keep talking about getting to go there.
Lake Minnewashta Regional Park has five miles of hiking trails that wind through the park’s woods, lakeside, and prairie landscapes. They are a mix of paved and natural surfaces.
In winter most of the trails transition to groomed cross country ski trails. There are a couple of trails that remain open for winter walkers. Snowshoers can walk wherever there isn’t a groomed trail.
Lake Minnewashta Dog Park
There is an 18-acre site fenced dog park at Lake Minnewashta Regional Park. Unlike most dog parks, this one includes a mix of woods and open areas.
The park even has two trails, one of wood chips and one of aggregate material. It’s a good way to enjoy extra time with your dog. They even have a drinking fountain for you and your pets near the entrance to the park.
The average depth of the lake is 15 feet and gets up to 70 feet at its deepest location.
The lake has Black Bullhead, Bluegill, Brown Bullhead, Green Sunfish, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike, Pumpkinseed, Rock Bass, Walleye, Yellow Bullhead, and Yellow Perch.
There is a fishing pier west of the beach area. There is also a boat launch that becomes very popular in the summer. During winter, the lake fills up with fishing houses.
Sledding at Lake Minnewashta
Any hill in Lake Minnewashta Regional Park is fair game, but there are still a few favorites. There are two great hills by the playground. In the late afternoon, they get light from the setting sun.
The third hill is located just down the road from the park before you get to the beach. The hill is a solid mound, allowing sledders to get a side of the hill to themselves. This gets great morning light.
This was one of the biggest surprises I had visiting. I had no idea how popular the different sledding hills would be. The only thing it’s missing is a warming house. Don’t forget these other great hills in the Twin Cities.
What’s the Cost?
The biggest thing holding me from visiting the park was the vehicle permits that were required. As of December 1, 2019, they eliminated all fees with the Carver County Parks.
Would I go back to Lake Minnewashta Regional Park?
I would definitely go back to Lake Minnewashta Regional Park. They had a lot of fun things to do in the park, especially in the winter. In the spring and summer, I plan on heading back over the weekdays and exploring some of the trails more.
The dog park’s natural features are exactly what I look for in a good off-leash park. Now that they have eliminated the permits, I don’t have an excuse not to go!