Parks in Rochester, MN

5 Can't Miss Parks: Outdoor Fun For All Ages

Rochester boasts more than 100 parks providing access to historical sitesswimming areas, sports facilities, ice skating, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and dozens of playgrounds.

With many of the parks connected by over 85 miles of trails that wind scenically through the city, visitors can stroll, run, or bike between Rochester's green spaces.

In addition to beloved favorites like Quarry Hill Park and Chester Woods, Rochester is also home to dozens of smaller city parks worth a visit. Spend an hour--or all day--at these five can't-miss parks.


Silver Lake Park, a few minutes from downtown, is the hub for many of the trails. It's an easy place to stroll along the water and enjoy the natural scenes. To experience the trails or the water by bike or boat, Silver Lake Boat and Bike Rental rents bicycles, kayaks, canoes and paddleboats daily during the summer from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you've got kids in tow, the nearby Silver Lake Playground is a sure winner. The park is wheelchair accessible, featuring wide ramps, low platforms and transfer stations. Multiple play areas appeal to a wide range of ages and shaded benches offer respite for spectating parents.


Indian Heights Park is a hidden gem for nature lovers. The 40-acre park is situated nearly in the middle of the city, about 3.5 miles north of downtown off of Elton Hills Drive, and boasts a deep cultural history. Visitors are treated with gorgeous views, hiking and snowshoeing trails and birdwatching. Imagine what our Native American ancestors saw when they looked out over the eastern bluff. Enjoy the space but watch for bluff drop-offs and steep quarry walls.


If feeling that you are deep in the woods and totally secluded appeals to you, make your way to Essex Park. Located 10 miles north of downtown off of 55th Street NW, it covers 160 mostly wooded acres offering unpaved trails, a small playground and a picnic shelter. An old barn on site is great for pictures. The winding hiking trails are perfect for scouting birds, small animals and plant life. You may even catch peek at a whitetail deer or two.


Featuring a beautiful 18-acre lake, Foster Arend Park ensures fun for all. Little visitors will enjoy the playground. Others will appreciate volleyball, unpaved trails and a wheelchair-accessible fishing pier. Carry in your paddle board, kayak or canoe, but be aware there is no lifeguard on duty and the lake beyond the swimming area is quite deep with sudden drop-offs. The lake has a good number of rainbow trout, bluegill and bass, making fishing and ice fishing particularly popular. You'll find it about 5 miles north of downtown, where 37th Street NW meets East River Road.


A visit to the Wooden Castle Park at Soldiers Memorial Field at 7th Street SW and George Gibbs Drive in downtown is
a unique Rochester experience. Toddlers will love the large sand play area and farm space. Children a bit older will want to play all day on the wooden castle with slides, bridges and swings as well as the mini corn field maze. Tip: Be sure to pay your respects at the nearby Wall of Remembrance honoring veterans from Southeast Minnesota.

Playgrounds, trails, sports, swimming-don't miss any of the fun at these five great Rochester parks.

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