An easy, east-side escape, Swede Hollow and the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary were both historically rough places in St. Paul. Recent years have brought restoration efforts to the once industrialized area along the banks of the Mississippi River. The route starts at the trailhead at 7th Street and Payne Avenue, and loops north beneath the historic Seventh Street Improvement Arches. Just past the bridge, bear right into Swede Hollow, a deep, wooded ravine that was home to early Minnesota immigrants.
At the top of the hollow—and the trail’s only real hill—hook south on the upper trail, looping back toward the trailhead and skirting a busy railroad thoroughfare. A gentle downhill slopes toward the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, an Audubon Society Important Bird Area that’s undergone major restoration efforts in the last few years. Trails through this park are gravel, perfect for family biking, but walking affords the best chance for wildlife viewing.
-Mapped by Steve Johnson