Hiking in Locke County Park

Fridley, Anoka County • No fees

hiking trail in Locke County Park next to Rice Creek
A spur trail off the main trail sticks close to Rice Creek

Locke County Park is a wooded oasis tucked away in urban Fridley between Highway 65 and University Avenue. With its mature trees and Rice Creek meandering through the entire length of the park, it’s a relaxing and beautiful hike.

What’s to Love about Locke County Park

Take a look at the map below:

Locke County Park trail map
The yellow loop I took is 1.5 miles—partially paved and partially dirt trail

The purple line is the paved Rice Creek Regional Trail that runs through the park. The green dotted line is natural dirt trail that’s entirely in mature trees. That section is so relaxing and beautiful, even in the early spring when the leaves were just barely budding.

I parked in the lot just to the west of the Dog Park (circled in yellow) and hiked the loop shown in yellow. That loop is 1.5 miles with some nice ups-and-downs occasionally. Nothing hard, but it gives some variety.

big fallen tree with moss next to rice creek along the hiking trail
This huge tree has been down for awhile! (Rice Creek behind it)

This is trail is very doable for families with children. If you need to cut it in half, you can take the bike trail that runs north and south in the middle of the park.

On the other hand, to make it longer just go a couple of laps and you’ll have a nice 3-mile walk or a great trail run.

There are some gorgeous large trees on the north side that have had a chance to spread out. Very majestic!

the sun peeks through early spring tree branches along the paved hiking trail
The beautiful large trees pre-leaf in early May

The trail crosses Rice Creek a couple of times on footbridges, runs alongside it at other times, and is high above it once, too.

Rice Creek is very high right now so it’s running fast. There are a lot of trees that have fallen directly over and in the Creek which made me wonder if the park folks remove some of these before paddling season starts. We’ll find out, I guess! That could be quite a hazard.

What’s Not So Great

Anoka County doesn’t post mileage for any of its trails—either on location or on the map. I don’t like that, but a simple solution is to download an app that tracks mileage. I use MapMyWalk.

Interstate 694 is directly south of Locke, and so traffic noise is constant—at least it was at 8:30 on this Saturday morning! That’s to be expected in most urban parks, especially when they’re on the smaller side like this one is.

The paved portion of the loop—Rice Creek West Regional Trail—is flanked by industrial buildings, a Fridley water tower and goes under major power lines in one section. Not so nature-like!

footbridge over rice creek
One of the footbridges that crosses Rice Creek

What Else is at Locke

Locke County Park is a great asset for the neighboring community. Besides hiking and trail running, it offers:

  • Fenced off-leash Dog Park
  • Playground
  • Picnic pavilions and several picnic tables with plenty of shade from the mature trees surrounding them
  • Biking—this would be a great place for kids to try some mountain biking. The dirt trail is wide, hard-packed and has some hills that would be challenging but not impossible for them!
an interesting tree along the hiking trail
This tree has quite the shape! Long, gangly arms spread out all over

How to Get There

The entrance to Locke is off University Avenue. You’ll want to get on the service road on the east side of University between 69th and 73rd. Take 71st Avenue east about a half mile right into the park.

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Sharon Brodin
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