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Elm Creek Loop

Intermediate

Trail

5.8 mile 9.3 kilometer loop
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 280' 85 m
Descent: -281' -86 m
High: 936' 285 m
Low: 874' 267 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 10% (6°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Map Key

Trail shared by Michelle Dobbratz

Nice big loop in savanna with smaller, wooded loop add-on

Michelle Dobbratz

Features -none-

Overview

This is one of the longer winter hikes you can find in the metro. If you don't want to add on the smaller wooded loop, it's 4.5 miles. I would recommend following the GPS on the Hiking Project mobile app, because the trails are poorly marked.

Need to Know

Accessible in winter.

Description

From the trailhead, turn right, and you'll come to a bridge that is also used by snowmobiles, so be mindful. Stay straight at the bridge, the trail that turns right is for snowmobiles. This is probably all accessible to hike in the summer, but I've only been in the winter so my directions are winter-specific.

You'll walk for maybe another mile before coming to another intersection, which isn't marked, and stay left at the intersection. Most of the hike, you'll be able to tell which way to go (in the winter) by paying attention to the tracks on the trail; skate ski tracks along with hiking tracks. You'll cross a few other trails, but just keep going straight at each intersection.

Eventually, you'll come to a trail with signs that say "no dogs." Keep going. After you've walked around four miles, there will be a trail going off to your left that has a sign saying "nature center." Take that trail if you want to do the inner loop. It's not as well traveled as the larger loop.

Follow the trail past the nature center, across the road, over the lake through the floating boardwalk, up the hill, and through the woods. If you reach an intersection, keep heading away from the nature center, until you reach a point where your options are to go to the nature center or the group camp, and then head back toward the nature center. Soon, you'll see the wider trail, and take a left to head back to the trailhead.

I highly recommend keeping your GPS on, because the park in general is not well marked, and the signs that do exist relate to the summer map only (so you may want to print off the summer map in addition to the winter map so you know the trail names as well).

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  5.0 from 1 vote

#1363

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  5.0 from 1 vote
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Hike Rankings

#9

in Minnesota

#1,363

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261 Since Feb 21, 2020
Intermediate

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Photos

Eastman Nature Center Pond - Elm Creek Park Reserve.
Feb 27, 2020 near Champlin, MN

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