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Outdoor Recreation

Even in the middle of the Twin Cities metropolitan area, it is easy to surround yourself with natural beauty and endless opportunities for recreation. There are more than 50 parks and park reserves in the metro area alone (Minneapolis, St. Paul). Minneapolis is ranked as the #1 biking city in the U.S., and no wonder with more than 300 miles of interconnected trails, such as the riverside Grand Rounds trail or the convenient Midtown Greenway.

The State of Minnesota boasts 124 state parks and forests, one national park, two national forests, nearly 12,000 lakes, and numerous scenic river areas, including the gorgeous Headwaters of the Mississippi River. Minnesota lives up to its “Land of 10,000 Lakes” nickname by offering 90,000 miles of total shoreline—that’s more than California, Hawaii, and Florida combined! Many of those lakes are located in the heart of the Twin Cities, including the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes that includes more than 1,550 acres of shoreline and trails in total.

People in Minnesota stay active and outdoors year round. Canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and biking are popular in the summer, while skiing and ice skating are popular in the winter. U of M students who want to enjoy the outdoors can rent camping, backpacking, rock climbing, and skiing equipment and sign up for trips and clinics from the Center for Outdoor Adventure on campus.

U of M students get free admission to the award-winning Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, which features more than 1,200 acres of beautiful display gardens, award-winning tree collections, and natural areas. The Arboretum has miles of trails to enjoy in all seasons, whether on foot or on skis.

With all of these options for enjoying the great outdoors, your only difficulty will be deciding what to do!