Hiking in Crosby Farm Regional Park

Saint Paul/Ramsey County • No fee

trees with exposed roots along the river bank
Exposed tree roots with some flooding of the Mississippi River

Crosby Farm Regional Park—indeed an old farmstead—offers almost seven miles of wooded, prairie and waterside trails just minutes from 35E and downtown Saint Paul.

First, What I Didn’t Like

I’ll admit my first impression of the park wasn’t high when I visited the restroom first thing. It had standing water in it, was unkept, and I couldn’t wait to do my business and get out!

Of course it could’ve been it that was a weekday, past high season and we’d had recent rains. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on that one.

What’s Great about Crosby Farm

But once I got on the trails I was impressed by the mature hardwood forest, with some giant trees…the immensity of the Mississippi River it borders (I could see some of where the high waters had been earlier in the summer—far from the current shoreline)…the vast array of wildflowers.

crosby farm regional park, forested hiking trail with mature trees
Crosby Farm includes a beautiful mature hardwood forest with lots of shaded trails

This park is easily accessible to thousands of people in the Saint Paul area, and I could imagine the beauty no matter what season we’re in.

I love trees, and there are plenty of very large trees in this park. I suppose between the high canopy and tendency for flooding, there’s not a lot of undergrowth. That gives us a clear view through much of the forest between the parking lot and river.

wild turkeys foraging in crosby farm park
A flock of wild turkeys foraging just a little ways from the trail

Part of the trail goes along the Mississippi River. Directly across from this section is Pike Island, part of Fort Snelling State Park. So we get nice views of the river without looking at developed land across the way.

You can see below where I hiked (the yellow lines).

crosby farm park map, along with my hiking route
Covering the trails in yellow took me about an hour

I have a feeling the boardwalk between the two lakes and the fishing pier had been underwater, or maybe damaged by flooding. This part would be buggy in the summer, but it was fine in mid-September.

boardwalk at crosby farm regional park over a swampy part
The boardwalk between Crosby Lake and the fishing pond—a bit sketchy, but felt firm underfoot!

There are many, many wildflowers, especially in the restored prairie section between the parking lot and smaller lake, but also in the woods.

butterfly on aster, crosby farm park
The bees and butterflies were flocking these 5-foot tall wild aster
bright yellow autumn flowers, crosby farm regional park
Loved the bright yellow of these sunflowers along the pond

What Else is at Crosby Farm

Bikers can take a detour off the Sam Morgan Regional Trail to bike through the park. It connects on both ends.

There isn’t a designated canoe/kayak launch in the park, although if you launched elsewhere, there’s beach access here to pull over for a paddle break or picnic.

There doesn’t appear to be groomed ski trails during the winter months, but skiing would be easy here, and snowshoeing would be great.

red sumac leaves, crosby farm pak
Hints of fall color on this mid-September hike

How to Get There

The entrance to Crosby Farm is off Shephard Road W, at the Gannon Road intersection. There are two different parking areas.

Here’s more…

Sharon Brodin
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