Trail Review: Kicksledding at Fort Snelling State Park, Pike Island, Twin Cities
Mapping Address for Pike Island:
200 Tower Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55111
Need to know: Do not attempt without crampons or brake due to steep hill.
3 miles of groomed trails are maintained on Pike Island.
6 miles of trail are groomed for multi-use that include other areas of the state park.
There are several different parts of Fort Snelling State Park so double check you are heading to the correct place. To access Pike Island, park at Historic Fort Snelling in the lot (currently free parking). From here, you have to walk a bit, towards the historic buildings. You walk past the historic buildings, down around a closed staircase and follow the trail down a very large hill. Please do NOT attempt this hill on your kicksled. You haven’t made it to Pike Island yet, and you never will if you attempt this hill. Instead walk it down or ride dragging your foot the entire time, stopping if you pick up speed.
At the bottom of the hill you can go left or right. Basically 4 trails split from here. Going left is a trail that connects to Minnehaha Trail, also a great kicksledding route if conditions prevail. Going right is the trail to Pike Island. Not the far right but the middle right. Kicksled about 300 feet until you see the bridge (bridge seen in photo). Over that bridge is Pike Island. On the Island, there are basically 2 trails, one that runs a loop on the perimeter and another loop on the interior. The skiers get the scenic exterior (don’t they always) and the mixed use trail is on the interior. At the time this review was being written, (End of Dec 2022) neither trail was groomed yet on Pike Island. Therefore, both trails were open to kicksledding. In general, the trails are wide and clear, great for kicksledding with views of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers.
The island was bigger than I thought and I didn’t make it all the way around the first day I attempted this. I had to turn around because I didn’t have water or my warm hat and it was 15 degrees. Didn’t make it around the second try another day either; it started snowing hard slowing down the sled quite a bit.
You have a pretty good chance of kicksledding past deer, lots of evidence of beavers, and also raptors. Remember you have to go up that hill again to get back to your car!