“A nice loop around scenic Eagle Point Lake.”
— Robert Nack
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This trip around scenic Eagle Point Lake is one of the highlights of Lake Elmo Park Reserve. While the rest of the reserve can sometimes be crowded with swimmers, picnickers, and those not willing to stray far from their vehicles, this 3.8 mile trail seems to be a world away from the hustle of the metro area just a short drive away.
If you enjoy winter sports, come back in the winter for a nice intermediate cross country ski experience.
Need to Know
Vehicle permits are required for the park: $5 per day or $25 for the year.
Each of the intersections are well numbered, and the trail markers are color-coded to let you know that you are still on the right one. For this hike keep on the "red" trail.
From the parking, lot head north. You'll pass along a couple little singletrack trails for accessing the lake. Keep note of these if you ever want to come back and do some kayaking or canoeing. The trail will follow along a wooded buffer between the prairie and the lake. Keep heading up and down the rolling hills, staying to the left at all intersections along the way.
Once you pass the northern edge of the lake, the trail turns south. There are benches scattered along the way for a rest if needed. Some of the better views are from the west end, about halfway down.
Keep on going, and you should end up passing by a large shed that is now used as a shelter area. The trail bends to the east and takes you through a grove of large trees.
At the next junction, head north for about a half mile and arrive back where you started.
Flora & Fauna
Raspberries and blackberries can be picked easily right from the trail. Watch for eagles roosting above in dead tree limbs. Plenty of song birds live in the marshy edges along the lake. Enjoy the views of of semi-restored prairies filled with wildflowers and grasses. Along the way, watch for pheasants, weasels, red fox, woodpeckers, cardinals, cottontail rabbits, squirrels, and white-tailed deer.