Outdoor Adventures Near the Twin Cities

Animal lovers, trail enthusiasts, thrill-seekers, and families alike will all find something to love around the Twins Cities! From your home base in Burnsville, there’s no limit to the outdoor adventures you’ll discover.

Mountain Biking


At Terrace Oaks West Park, mountain bikers will find challenging, trails that loop through mature woods, over rolling hills, and near ponds. In addition to a digital map, the park offers maps and benches along the trail.


A ski resort during winter months, Buck Hill, offers an intermediate downhill mountain biking trail with a stimulating layout featuring fun descents and tight, sharp turns. Test your mettle at Thursday Night Races in the summer and perfect your technical ability at the skills area!


Just a few minutes outside the Twin Cities, you’ll find a 72-mile river park home to quiet forest scenery at the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. As the trail follows the Mississippi River, you’ll pedal under forest canopies, past farms, along old railroad tracks, and through cities big and small. If you’re feeling adventurous, the path will even take you all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Birdwatching & Wildlife Watching


Catch wildlife in their natural habitat at Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge, where annual migrations funnel hundreds of thousands of waterfowl, songbirds and raptors through the Minnesota River Valley. Be sure to check off your sightings with the Bird Checklist and Wildlife Checklist!

Hiking


Voted the 2019 Best Botanical Garden in North America by USA Today readers, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum encompasses 1,200 acres of manicured gardens, woods, and prairie. Try taking a unique, free guided walking tour to visit beautiful trails and garden paths home to over 5,000 plant species and varieties! It’s wheelchair accessible as well.


At Cliff Fen Park, you can hike through nature trails and scenic wetland. The trail provides access to the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge, where you’ll discover over 30 miles of stunning hiking trails along the Minnesota River. You can even take your furry friends with you as long as they're on a leash! Also, in addition to its mountain biking paths, Terrace Oaks West Park offers great, wooded paths for hiking.

Hunting & Fishing


At the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge, there are specific hunting options during Minnesota’s seasons. You’ll find deer, upland game, and migratory birds, and there are opportunities for youth and those with disabilities to participate, too. The refuge also allows shore fishing and ice fishing on most waters - which are stocked with bass, crappie, bluegill, and catfish.

Beach & Paddling


If you’re looking for a fun day on the water, head Crystal Beach, a 24-acre park complete with a swimming beach and canoe and paddleboard rental. You can bring your own lunch to the picnic area or grab a bite from the concession stand!

Zoos


The Como Park Zoo & Conservatory is a great place to spend a day. It features indoor and outdoor zoo exhibits home to the Arctic Fox, Giraffe, Gorilla, Penguin, Polar Bear, Sloth, Tiger, and more! The attached Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, has exotic plants and beautiful displays in various gardens. There are plenty of other things to do besides gazing at nature, as Como Park has everything from an amusement park to mini golf!


Of course, a trip to Burnsville wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Minnesota Zoo and all its animals – more than 4,200 comprising over 500 species from 5 continents, in fact! Experience popular exhibits like Russia’s Grizzly Coast, Discovery Bay (Kangaroo Crossing was a temporary exhibit), and the Wells Fargo Family Farm. You sure won’t want to miss out watching a shark feeding!

Thrills


With over 75 rides, from roller coasters to family rides to a water park, the Valleyfair Amusement Park is full of adventure. Its newest ride, Delirious, is a 70-foot looping thrill ride that completes 10 revolutions in less than a minute!


As seen on Shark Tank, Extreme Sandbox is a Heavy Equipment Adventure company that allows clients to play on construction equipment. Any package includes instruction followed by fun on the obstacle course!

Playgrounds


Nicollet Commons Park is a playground nestled between restaurants, shopping, and the Ames Center in the heart of Burnsville. Your little ones will also love the splash pad located in the park. Cliff Fen Park also offers the New Burnsville Lions Playground and a splash pad, too!

Golf


Golfers, be sure to check out our Complete Guide to Golfing in Burnsville, detailing the great offerings - from HD Golf Simulators to gorgeous 9-hole layouts to championship courses!


Don’t forget to take advantage of Burnsville’s great hotel deals, and be sure to check out 5 Reasons You Should Visit the Burnsville, Minnesota Area!