Hike the Grey Cloud Dunes Scientific and Natural Area Loop

Minnesota Grey Cloud Dunes South Parking Area

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Grey Cloud Dunes Scientific and Natural Area is the largest intact prairie system located within the Twin Cities metro, with wind-sculpted dunes that rise high above the bordering Mississippi River. The area is home to a number of unique plants and animals including the rare sea-beach needlegrass and the North American blue racer – a snake not commonly found in Minnesota.

Grey Cloud Dunes Scientific and Natural Area, the largest intact prairie system located within the Twin Cities, is home to a number of rare plants and animals. The SNA has no marked or maintained trails, but there are a few well-worn footpaths that create an easy-to-follow three mile loop through the area's most interesting features.

Begin in the south parking lot located at the top of the bluff. You'll see a set of railroad tracks to the west. Hike down the dune through waist-deep grass toward the tracks. In a half mile, you'll enter a tall oak grove occupying the southwest corner. Follow the trail north for one mile. You'll pass through a tunnel running under the railroad tracks. Here the trail turns east and heads back up the dunes. The rise is gentle, climbing 110 feet over a half mile. Follow the utility road running south along the top of the bluff for one mile to get back to the parking lot.

Pack List

  • Walking shoes
  • Long pants
  • Bug spray
  • Sun protection
  • Water
  • Camera
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How to Get There

about 1 month ago

!!

Beautiful place it's a favorite of mine, many ticks in the summer

about 1 month ago

about 1 year ago

Beautiful for sunset

I visited this summer and spent a lovely hour walking on the narrow trail through the prairie. It was relaxing and very good spot to watch the sunset as you can see for quite a distance from the top of the dune. Overall, very pleasant area.

about 1 year ago

about 1 year ago

Little Prairie

This was a nice little prairie with a short trail. Worth a days visit :)

about 1 year ago

Added by Robin Pfeifer

An endlessly curious travel writer who simply cannot sit still.

Activities:

Hiking

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Loop

Distance:

3 Miles

Elev. Gain:

110 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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