Enjoy The Outdoors In Shakopee This Fall

The temperature is dropping, the air has taken on a welcome crispness, and the leaves are starting to change to yellow, orange, and red hues.  Fall is here, and it’s time to appreciate the season in the great outdoors!

Shakopee is conveniently located to Minneapolis and St. Paul, and thanks to its proximity to parks and nature areas, it’s perfectly positioned for an outdoor-focused autumn getaway.

Hiking, biking, birdwatching, horseback riding, and more—here’s how to enjoy the outdoors in Shakopee this fall.

One of the best spots in Shakopee to get outside is the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area.  Take a hike on the 47 miles of trails, enjoy a picnic, and appreciate the colorful leaves!  

The recreation area is home to a wide range of natural landscapes, including wetlands, floodplain forest, and blufftop oak savanna.  That variety of habitats makes the recreation area perfect for wildlife viewing: the river valley is home to racoons, mink, muskrats, and beavers, while the upland areas are ideal for deer, rabbits, squirrels, and foxes.

The Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area is also an excellent destination for birdwatchers—thousands of song birds and waterfowl make their way through the area during their annual fall migration.  A checklist of which birds you might spot is available here.

Equestrians will appreciate the recreation area’s 30 miles of horse-friendly trails.  There’s also a horse camp featuring six equestrian sites with hitching rails and fire rings, which is open through November.

Visitors should also explore the Minnesota Valley State Trail, which consists of two segments of trail that run through the recreation area along the Minnesota River.  The 9.8-mile section that runs from Fisher Lake in Shakopee to Chaska is paved, making it perfect for in-line skating, biking, and hiking.  Expect to see plenty of colorful fall foliage, as well as views of the Minnesota River from scenic overlooks.  

Cyclists have another reason to visit Shakopee this fall—the brand-new Xcel Energy Mountain Bike Park at Quarry Lake Park.  The mountain bike course features four loops with difficulty levels ranging from easy to intermediate, with a total length of approximately four miles.  

The single-track course takes advantage of Quarry Lake Park’s 111 acres of natural and man-made topography, incorporating a loop around the lake, wooded areas, and a larger prairie area.  The range of different landscapes—especially the lakeside loop—make for a unique mountain biking experience compared to other area trails.

Thanks to the mountain bike course’s design and location, there are plans to use it for National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) racing for student-athletes.

The Xcel Energy Mountain Bike Park opened on August 24, 2021.  Check out the Quarry Lake Park Improvements website for additional information and for updates about future plans for park upgrades.

Wrap up your day in the great outdoors with an overnight stay in Shakopee.  Shakopee is home to Valleyfair (the largest amusement park in the upper Midwest), Canterbury Park, and the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and is conveniently located to area attractions including Mystic Lake Casino, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and Chanhassen Dinner Theater.

Book your stay at a Shakopee hotel or campground today!


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