BEST URBAN HIKE Minneapolis 2010 - Swede Hollow Park, St. Paul
While there are many great places to hike in the city, none has a more interesting history than Swede Hollow Park. From the early 1900s to the 1950s, Swede Hollow was a small immigrant community, full of rustic shanties, just below the Hamm's Brewery on Dayton's Bluff. After the city condemned and burned down the houses in 1956, the area reverted to its natural state, full of native trees, flowers, and wildlife. In the Hollow it's not unusual to see wide-eyed owls perching in the trees or deer traipsing across the path and drinking from the stream that snakes along the walking trail. Descending several flights of stairs into the Hollow is a great workout in itself, and the footpaths and bike trails also lead to the Bruce Vento Trail, which wends nearly seven miles toward Lake Phalen. Not only is the Hollow a great place to hike, it's an enchanted little world, so serene that you will forget the skyscrapers of downtown St. Paul hovering nearby.