Explore the Minnesota River Bottoms

Minnesota River Bottoms

11 miles of sandy trails to ride, run or hike. Seclusion near the city. Wildlife spotting and bird watching opportunities.

The "River Bottoms" is an unofficial network of single track, double track and service roads just south of Minneapolis along the Minnesota River flood plane. Flat, fast and easy to navigate, the 11-mile trail system is a popular spot for mountain bikers, trail runners and hikers looking to do long distance hauls in relative solitude.

The main trail closely follows the river and winds through diverse natural environments including forests containing old-growth trees, meadows brimming with wild flowers, and wetlands that support a variety of wildlife ranging from birds to beavers.

The Bottoms are constantly changing and receive no formal maintenance. Winter thaw leads to spring flooding, which reshapes the sandy trails and surrounding area each year. Summer brings tall field grass, dense foliage and an aggressive mosquito population. Cooler fall temperatures thin out vegetation, improving visibility and killing off the bugs. Winter conditions vary with the snowfall.

The most popular entrance points are at Bloomington Ferry Road at the trail's West end, Lyndale Avenue in the center, and Indian Mounds Elementary School at the East end. These locations offer easy parking with nearby access to the trail. All of the trails in the Bottoms are technically two-way and it's up to riders to yield to each other and pedestrians. Avoid biker/hiker collisions by remaining alert and respectful to those sharing an otherwise peaceful experience with you.

Pack List

  • Daypack with water and a snack
  • Mountain bike
  • Running shoes
  • Bug spray
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • GoGirl
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Activities Chillin, Fishing, Photography, Mountain Biking, Running, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Easy Parking


Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

A nice casual local hike.

There are some very impressive large, old trees.

I am a mountain biker and I was at the river bottoms. Lots of great trails, some paved and lots of nice trails. Last time I was there the biking trails were pretty overgrown with itch weed and there was a lot of mud, so dress accordingly. Other than that it's a very fun trail for walking, biking, or just having an afternoon picknick. Also, there are plans to pave the trails, which is slightly redundant considering the trail floods every year and this would only ruin the pavement. Go like the Save The Riverbottoms page on Facebook!

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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