Big loop of beauty: 15 Mile loop Cedar Lake Pkwy/Greenway/West River Parkway

Minneapolis and St. Paul are known for their extensive bike trails.

Bike near the Mississippi River

Tom and I went on a Sunday morning bike ride. We started at Cedar Lake and made a 15 mile loop. This is a tour of the part of the Grand Rounds Byway trail we rode.

Kenilworth Trail, Minneapolis

Kenilworth Trail

We parked in the Bryn Mywr Neighborhood and rode our bikes a block over to the trail that started on the Cedar Lake Parkway. There’s noting like free parking when you’ve got your own wheels. The homes and gardens there were beautiful. In fact, I see they have a garden tour on Saturday, July 14th from 10am-2pm that would be worth checking out. I wanted to stop right away and take a picture of Cedar Lake. Lots of beauty everywhere.

The Kenilworth trail is 1.5 miles and connects the Cedar lake trail to the Midtown Greenway. It’s very scenic.

We hopped on the Midtown Greenway. One of the first things I saw were inline skaters passing bikers, a group of three or four. They seemed synchronized in their speed and form. I felt like I was watching the Olympics. I was struck by the beauty of their movement. This parkway has a very communal and urban feeling to it. There are residents gardens that butt up against the trail and two communal gardens. There are fruit trees in areas and I’ve seen bikers stopping with their containers to pick a few berries to bring home. It’s a path that cuts under the bridges of downtown Minneapolis.

Fairview University Hospital Photo

Fairview University Hospital

The Martin Olav Sabo Bridge passes over Hwy 55. The wind had damaged the suspension cables. It’s now repaired, but the support structure beneath the bridge is still in place. On this part of the trail someone was creating art with shoes. First there was a pair of work boots sitting on a bench. I thought, “Oh!  Someone left their shoes”  Then a little while down the road there were two pairs of beautiful woman’s shoes from the 50’s. This had been my tip off that this was art. They were in perfect shape. How creative and how unusual that someone would decorate the trail with shoes! My favorite landmark in this section of the trail was the back of an industrial building that was covered with art/graffiti. I wish I would have stopped to take a picture. There are a lot of very talented people in the world.

Weisman Museum of Art Photo

Weisman Museum of Art

We connected to the West River Parkway. We stopped someplace along the trail to take a picture (cover photo) and have a water break. The Mississippi river was high and brown from the heavy rains and flooding that occurred up North in June. The University of Minnesota Hospital Fairview cast a reflection in the river. We rode past the Bohemian Flats which sounds like a destination in and of itself. The Washington Avenue Bridge was decorated in school colors, Maroon and Gold. There was the Weisman Museum of Art  that’s a piece of art itself.

St. Anthony Falls, Minneapolis Photo

St. Anthony Falls

A short way down the trail was the Guthrie Theater with the holograms on the side of the building. We stopped to watch the water rushing over St. Anthony Falls from the Stone Arch Bridge. We’ve been to the Hennepin Island Park in the past.  It’s just on the other side of the Stone Arch Bridge to the left. It’s small, but has a lot of pretty views and nice backgrounds for pictures. There’s the Mill Ruins Park with remnants left from the old milling district.

NorthStar Commuter Train Photo at Twin's Stadium

NorthStar Commuter Train

The West River Parkway connects up to the Cedar Lake Trail once again near the Hennepin Avenue bridge. Apparently this was a very expensive piece of land to purchase. On this section we saw the NorthStar Commuter train passing through. I gave him a big wave. We got a little honk, enough for acknowledgement and yet not disturb the neighbors. There’s something about trains. Does the little kid inside ever leave? The one who waves at the engineer?

Target Field Photo Twin's Stadium

Target Field

This section of trail also goes past Target Field home of the Minnesota Twins. I thought there was major construction going on. There were semis and pallets and cranes and buses. Instead, this is just concert set up and take down material. No wonder tickets are over $100/person. Country stars Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw were co-headlining Target Field’s first-ever concert Sunday evening. About 41,000 tickets sold out within hours back in December. It takes about 91 hours to set up. There were 80 semis of stuff to arrange.

The loop was relatively straight forward except where we got off of the Cedar Lake Trail to bike on the perimeter of Cedar Lake. There were a few people fishing on the pier. We went past a beach where a kayaker was getting out or going in.

The trail is paved the whole way around making it good for bikers, walkers, strollers, and bladers. It’s a good ride and a beautiful loop. It goes past many of the places and sites that make the Minneapolis area such a wonderful place to live and that would include the incredible trail system we have throughout the metro. This resort we call Minneapolis is full of amenities and many of them are free. I’m glad I find myself here for this stretch of life.

It’s a beautiful world. What do you love about the Minneapolis bike trail system?
Marie LaForce About Marie LaForce

Writer | Photographer | Explorer |Dreamer | Intentional Disciple of Christ


  1. I recently did an 18 mile ride on another part of the Grand Rounds – starting around Lyndale and heading East and around Lake Nokomis. I parked my bike at the lake and walked around one direction and then rode my bike around the other. I’d never been around Nokomis before and loved the art, the families, the general vibe. And like you, I just keep thinking how lucky we are to live in a city with so much to see/do.

  2. No doubt getting your walking and biking miles in for the Lazyman Triathalon. I hope to be done soon.

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