Trail: Lake Phalen

Description: The trail around Lake Phalen is St. Paul's answer to the popular Minneapolis trails around Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet. It has a smooth surface, fewer bikers and skaters than the Minneapolis trails, and good connections to the Bruce Vento and Gateway trails.

Getting there: Take 35E north out of downtown St. Paul to the Larpenteur/Wheelock Parkway exit. Turn right on Wheelock Parkway and follow it about two miles east to the lake. Turn north at the park entrance, and you will find several parking lots along the side of the road.

Length: About 3.1 miles.

Difficulty: Intermediate. The trail surface is smooth, but there are some rolling hills along the route. A couple of the longer downhills don't have the best views, so you will need to be careful.

Popularity/number of other users: The trail is fairly popular with walkers, skaters, and bikers, though not excessively so. Some parts of the trail are not physically separated between bikers/skaters and walkers.

Surface conditions: The surface is nice and smooth. It appears to be newly paved, probably in 2003 or 2004.

Scenery: Nice views of Lake Phalen and the parkland around it, particularly in the golf course area.

Water: Available at park pavilions, mostly along the west side of the lake. I think there were a couple fountains on the east side of the lake.

Other nearby trails: At the southeast corner of the lake, the trail connects to the Bruce Vento Regional Trail, which goes north into Maplewood and south almost to downtown St. Paul. There is also a spur trail at the northwest end of the lake that connects to the Gateway Trail.

Comments: Minneapolis has lost its monopoly on nice skateable trails around lakes.

Link: St. Paul - Phalen Park


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