Three-Mile Walk

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Sensory Garden
Shrub Rose Garden
Wildflower Garden

Three-Mile walk provides an excellent overview of the Arboretum grounds, allowing visitors to hike to the Arboretum’s highest point and experience woods, wetlands and prairie as it meanders through a variety of the Arboretum’s gardens and collections. It features a beautiful new paved trail, the Gail and Bob Buuck Walkway, which provides sweeping views of the Red Barn. Walkers will travel mainly on paved paths and brick walkways, as well as short distances on gravel paths. Taken at a leisurely pace, the walk could take about an hour and a half (somewhere between 7,000-8,000 steps).

Please note that motorized and non-motorized skateboards, scooters, and inline skates are not permitted anywhere on Arboretum Grounds.  Bicycles are not permitted on Three-Mile walk.

Visit These Gardens

  • Sensory Garden
  • Dayton Wildflower Garden
  • Lady Slipper Garden (Discover orchids native to Minnesota.)
  • Pillsbury Shade Tree Exhibit (Find a fun play area here.)
  • Prairie Garden (This was the first restored prairie land in Minnesota.)
  • Frerichs Garden for Wildlife
  • Crabapple Tree Collection (Don’t miss the blooms in mid- to late-May, and look for the beautiful fruit in late-summer/fall.)
  • Harrison Sculpture Garden (The top of the hill is the high point of the Arboretum—on a clear day you might spot the downtown Minneapolis skyline.)
  • Shrub Walk
  • Maple Collection
  • Shrub Rose Garden
  • Pine Tree Collection (Walk through a tree trunk, and find Minnesota’s state tree.)
  • Azalea Garden (This research garden typically blooms in late-May/early-June.)
  • Maze Garden (This is a great destination for children who want to play.)
  • Oak & Nut Collection
  • Rhododendron Garden (Since Rhododendron’s bloom so early, they’re a great food source for bees.)
  • Bog (Look for the Lady Slipper nook near the spot where the asphalt path and bog boardwalk meet. Lady Slippers typically bloom in June.)

Choose Your Own Adventure

  • Hike the entire Three-Mile Walk loop (about 2.25 miles), beginning at the Sensory Garden and ending at the Ordway Picnic Shelter
  • Take a family-friendly walk to the Maze Garden on a stroller-friendly and wheelchair-friendly paved path from the Ordway Shelter.
  • Take a shorter, family-friendly walk to Shade Tree Exhibit on a stroller-friendly and wheelchair-friendly paved path from Sensory Garden.

Want to see more?

After passing the Harrison Sculpture Garden, travel a short distance off the Three-Mile Walk loop to see the Chinese Garden, and rejoin the walk in the parking lot near the Dahlia Trial Garden and Ornamental Grasses.

Pack a Picnic!

There are plenty of grassy spots and benches along Three-Mile Walk that are perfect for picnicking.
Savor your food and the scenery in these places:

  • Pillsbury Shade Tree Exhibit
  • Maze Garden (There’s even a picnic table.)
  • Along the new Bob and Gail Buuck Walkway (Bring a blanket or find a bench.)
3 mile walk sign

Look for these signs along pathways, helping to guide you through the Three-Mile Walk!

Picture Perfect Spots

While there are plenty of photo-worthy views along the walk, these are great places for a selfie or a snapshot.

  • Little houses in the Shade Tree exhibit.
  • Crabapple Tree Collection during its spring bloom.
  • Top of the hill in the sculpture garden. This is the highest point at the Arb!
  • A tree house near the ornamental grasses.
  • Inside the tree along the Pine Walk.
  • The platform overlooking the Maze Garden.
  • A distant view of the iconic Red Barn on the new paved trail after the Maze Garden.