The Cedar Lake LRT Regional Trail is part of a trail system that the City of Minneapolis has called "America's First Bicycle Freeway," but it's more than just a commuter trail for cyclists. This 4.5-mile trail, and the others it connects with, help make Minneapolis a paradise for pedestrians of all kinds, including four-legged ones. The wide, paved, two-way trail has plenty of room for multi-use traffic from both directions, and passes through green spaces where dogs can rest their paws and take a potty break.
The 4.5-mile trail begins at the Park and Ride lot next to the Depot Coffee House in Hopkins. It's a good idea to consult a trail map and plan your route, because it can get tricky from there. There are technically three trails with the name "Cedar Lake" in them, and two immediately branch apart at the trailhead. The Cedar Lake LRT Regional Trail proceeds 4.5 miles east to where it merges into the Midtown Greenway just south of Cedar Lake. The North Cedar Lake Regional Trail heads north along Highway 169 past Aquila, Texa-Tonka, Cedar Knoll, and Dakota Parks, crossing Minnesota Highway 100 and skirting just north of Cedar Lake.
Both trail branches can ultimately take you to the eastern shore of the Mississippi River. The North Cedar Lake Regional Trail continues past Target Field and ends at the river just north of the Hennepin Avenue Bridge. If you trek the entire length of the Cedar Lake LRT Regional Trail and continue on the Midtown Greenway, you'll end at the part of the river just north of White Sands Beach. Each route is just under ten miles long.
The scenery at the start of each trail section is distinctly urban and industrial, following old commercial railway corridors, though each trail passes through parks and over creeks too. Of course, ten miles is a long way for little puppy paws on a paved trail, so people using the Cedar Lake LRT Regional Trail for dog walking should plan how long they want to walk and which section of the trail they want to use. Starting at the Depot Coffee House, you and your dog can walk to where the trail crosses Minnehaha Creek and back in about two miles. The section from the Midtown Greenway to Lilac Park is about 1.5 miles and is probably the most scenic.
Minneapolis' trail system isn't just fantastic for bike commuters, but is puptastic for canine commuters as well. Bring any supplies for the trek, such as water and clean up bags.
Pups and their people give the urban Cedar Lake LRT Regional Trail two paws up!