One of the best things about nature is that there’s nothing that’s ever exactly the same. You can replicate a building and other man-made structures, but there’s none of that in Earth’s creations.
That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a good urban adventure, but nothing beats the feeling and experience of being outdoors.
In Minneapolis, you get the best of both worlds. It’s a large city with easily accessible spaces of nature scattered around. One of these is the city’s Chain of Lakes. Overall, that park has more than 14 miles of pedestrian walkways and more than 15 miles of bike path available for use.
I was able to visit two lakes in the chain: Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles. Both are easily accessible via public transportation!
Lake Calhoun is the largest lake in Minneapolis. The surrounding area has a little over 3 miles of pedestrian pathways and a little over 3 miles of pathway for bikers. It’s connected to Lake of the Isles, from which it gets its water.
Lake of the Isles Park is less than half the size of Lake Calhoun Park, but both are equally enjoyable spaces.
Aside from walking, jogging and biking, you can also go boating on the lakes. At Lake Calhoun, there’s a Wheels Fun Rental where you can rent kayaks ($13/hour), double pedal boats ($27/hour), canoes ($21/hour) and stand up paddle boards ($20/hour), among other things. I didn’t do any of those when I visited, but they’re definitely activities I would do.
I also saw some people tie their hammocks between trees so they could nap or read a book, so that’s another option.
The Chain of Lakes is one of seven byway districts along the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway, which is part of the Federal Highway Administration’s National Scenic Byways Program. The program recognizes and supports outstanding roads, but I won’t elaborate on it much in this post. You can read more about it here if you’re interested.
I definitely recommend spending some time at Chain of Lakes Regional Park. If I’m ever in Minneapolis again, I’ll be coming back and checking out Lake Harriet.
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