University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
College of Biological Sciences
http://www.cbs.umn.edu/

Fish Lake Nature Trails

Hike the Fish Lake Nature Trails and experience the beauty and diversity of Cedar Creek at any time of year! Main trail open to the public 365 days a year, from sunrise to sunset. Additional extensions open seasonally.

 

Hiking

The Fish Lake Nature Trail, also known as the John A. Harstaad Interpretive Trail, is dedicated to the memory of Cedar Creek scientist and naturalist John Harstaad. This trail winds through several distinct ecosystems along its 1.5 mile (one way) path. Hikers first pass through a sand prairie on the way from the parking lot to the lake. Turning left at the lake leads through a bur oak savanna where red-headed woodpeckers nest and feed. Continuing around the south end of the lake, there is a cattail wetland on the left and the lake on the right.  Sandhill cranes and water birds are commonly visible in this section. Traveling on to the southwest corner, one comes to the beginning of a deciduous forest and then to the first of four boardwalks crossing the cattail marshes. The trail ends in the forest and the return journey features the parade of ecosystems in reverse.

Boating on Fish Lake

Non-motorized boats are welcome on Fish Lake. Launch from the east side of the lake, at the end of the path from the parking lot, or at the north side of the lake along Fawn Lake Drive. Please be respectful of wildlife when using the lake.

Geocaching

Five geocaches are placed along the trail. Bring your own GPS and see if you can locate them! For coordinates, visit the official geocaching website "Geocaching" or download this brochure from the City of East Bethel listing the codes for the five Fish Lake caches as well as several others around the city.

Cross-country skiing - WINTER ONLY

When the ground is snow covered, we invite you to snowshoe or cross-country ski the Savanna Loop Ski Trail, a 2-mile loop along internal sand roads. These trails are open to public access only in the winter; during the rest of the year they are used for research and are therefore closed to hikers unless otherwise marked.

Bison gazebo and trail extension - SUMMER ONLY

On Saturdays between 9am and noon from June 16th to September 1st, a 1-mile (one way) trail extension heading south from Fish Lake is open to the public. For your safety as well as the safety and security of our research and our bison herd, this trail extension is closed at all other times (including during the week). It leads, via sand roads, to the bison viewing gazebo which is staffed by trained interpretive naturalists. Because the bison herd roams across 200+ acres of savanna, there is no guarantee that they will be visible from the gazebo. However, you are invited to pop by for a look and an opportunity to learn more about bison from our naturalists! They will be on hand with fur, bones, a bison skull and lots of information about the species and the project. The gazebo is also a wonderful place to birdwatch! More information about the bison project is available here.

Facilities

Facilities include a pavilion with picnic tables, dirt parking area, information kiosk, benches, trash receptacles, and porta-potties. There is no running water at the trailhead or along the trail.

Rules and regulations
  • Day use only (sunrise to sunset)
  • Park only in designated areas (please do not park along Durant St.)
  • Deposit all trash in available receptacles.
  • No fires allowed and no smoking on trails
  • Stay on designated trails
  • No motorized vehicles, including ATV’s, dirt bikes, and snowmobiles
  • No bicycles
  • No dogs
  • No firearms, hunting, or collecting
  • No alcohol
  • No motorboats on lake (canoes allowed)

 

Please note: These trails are interpretive and/or nature trails. Please treat them as such, respecting the research and wildlife in the area.


Directions

Directions from Google Maps

From Highway 65, turn east at Cooper’s Corner onto 237th Avenue. Take this road until it ends at a T-junction, where you will see a sign for Cedar Creek. Take a right at the T onto Gopher Drive.  Follow the road around the curve to the left as the road changes names to 229th Avenue.  Stay on 229th and take a left onto Durant Street. Go up Durant Street and turn right onto the dirt road at the end which leads to the parking area, kiosk, portable restroom and trailhead. 

  
Special thanks to the City of East Bethel, friends and supporters of Cedar Creek ESR, and the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources for providing funding for this project.