Lebanon Hills Regional Park: Our Complete Guide to Hiking, Camping, and Skiing in Eagan

About Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Lebanon Hills Regional Park is located in Eagan, MN roughly 20 minutes drive southeast of downtown Minneapolis.  The park is owned and managed as part of the Dakota County park system. 

It’s one of the most popular destinations for outdoor activities in the east and south Metro and frequently ranks top on lists as the “best park in Eagan” and the “best park in the Twin Cities.”  As you’ll see below, that’s largely in part because of the number and variety of year-round activities available.  

History of the Park

The origins of Lebanon Hills begin in 1967 when the Dakota County acquired 80 acres around the park’s largest lake, Jensen Lake.  Over the years, land acquisitions from surrounding neighbors grew the park to be the largest in Eagan and Dakota County.  At a total of 1,869 acres now, it’s one of the largest urban parks in the Midwest!

Directions to Lebanon Hills

The main park entrance and visitor’s center for the park is located at: 

860 Cliff Road
Eagan, MN 55123 

From 35E in Eagan, take the exit for Cliff Road.  Travel east on Cliff Road until you see signs for the different park entrances. See below for details on the different trailhead options.

Hours and Season

Whether it’s mid-summer or the dead of winter, there’s something to do in every season at Lebanon Hills.

The park grounds, beaches, and trails are open from 5 AM – 10 PM, 365 days per year.  (The Visitor Center and bathhouse hours change seasonally based on staffing, so it’s best to check the park website before you visit.)

Why Visit Lebanon Hills?

visiting lebenon hills
The City Pup enjoying a visit to Lebanon Hills

Training for an upcoming hiking trip, trail run, or mountain biking trip?  The hills and well-maintained trail system will help you log miles without getting bored. 

More of a beach person than a trail bum?  No worries. Lebanon Hills has you covered with plenty of short hikes and spots to enjoy the afternoon sun with a good book. 

Want to try portaging before for a summer trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area?  The 13 different lakes in the park form one of the longest canoe paddle routes in this part of the state. 

As the list below shows, people from all over the Metro come to Lebanon Hills for the activities. 

That’s because this amazing park offers something for everyone, in a great place to get out of the noise and movement of the city!

We often find ourselves taking out-of-town friends and family members to Lebanon Hills.  The hiking trails are well marked, with options for an easy, kid-friendly stroll or for a more challenging 8-10 mile afternoon in the woods.  Even better, because of the figure-eight style trail map, we can put together new routes and customize them to how much time and energy we have.

Invariably, someone in the group always comments “I can’t believe we’re still in the Twin Cities” given how quiet and scenic the park is year-round. 

10 Activities to Try at Lebanon Hills

Need more convincing? Here’s 10 of our favorite things to do in the park.

1. Hiking Trails in Lebanon Hills

jensen lake hike
Jensen Lake Trail in Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Hiking and running the trails at Lebanon Hills is definitely the most popular activity in the park.

The park has more than 14 miles of summer trails and 12 miles of winter trails.  The trail system here is numbered and easy to navigate–we rarely bring a map along since there are several posted along the main trail intersections. 

Some of the favorite hikes in the park include:

Voyaguer Trek

The hallmark trail and longest trail in the park.  The Voyageur Trek splits into a Northern and Southern Route with plenty of cut-off points to shorten the full 5.3-mile loop.  Can be reached from either the Jensen Lake Trailhead or the Visitor’s Center Trailhead.  

Jensen Lake Trail

Jensen Lake is the largest lake in Lebanon Hills.  It’s also one of the biggest in Eagan. 

The  2.1 mile Jensen Lake Trail skirts the entire shoreline of the lake at a distance of about 2 miles.  The route is easy, mostly flat, and varies between dirt trail and boardwalk. 

Holland & O’Brien Lakes Trail

Departing from the Holland Lake Trailhead near the northern edge of the park, the Holland and O’Brien Lake Trail covers 5.5 miles in the middle section of the park.

Expect extra hills, pines, and wetlands as you stroll through the heart of the park. 

Bridge Pond Loop

Bridge Pond is one of the most popular and scenic spots in the park (as well as one of our top recommendations). 

While the trail can most easily be accessed from 120th Street (unpaved road with no parking area), the best hike is connected from the Jensen Lake Trailhead along the southern shore of the park or from the Visitor’s Center Trailhead along the Southern Voyageur Trek.  

2. Mountain Biking Trails

Rather take your time in the woods on wheels than on foot?  Lebanon Hills offers 11 miles of year-round mountain biking trails ranging in difficulty from flat gravel to more challenging hills and slopes.

Park at the West Trailhead near Johnny Cake Ridge Road and Cliff Road, or the Galaxie Entrance near Galaxie Avenue.

3. Canoe Portage Route

Boundary Waters canoe trips are an outdoor rite of passage for many Minnesotans. If you’re not sure if canoeing or portaging (hauling your canoe and gear by land between two lakes), Lebanon Hills can help. 

The park offers one of the longest canoe portage routes in the Twin Cities Metro, covering 9 different lakes.

They also offer rentals and canoe lessons. 

4. Kayak & SUP Rentals

kayaking lebanon hills

If kayaking or stand up paddleboard (SUP) sounds more your style, Lebanon Hills offers rentals for those as well.  The Visitor’s Center staff provides quick lessons, life preservers, and everything you need for an afternoon on Schulze Lake (near the public beach). 

There’s a good chance you’ll spot ducks, turtles, and the occasional deer along your paddle route as well!

5. Schulze Lake Beach

Lebanon Hills is also home to one of the best beaches in the Twin Cities Metro. Schulze Lake is located in the same parking area as the Lebanon Hills Visitor Center.  Plenty of sand, room to spread out, hammock poles, and extra-wide sun umbrellas. Exactly what we look for when the popular Minneapolis beaches feel a little too crowded. 

6. Cross Country Skiing

cross country skiing lebanon

Some of the best memories we have in Lebanon Hills happen in the off-season when the park transforms into one of the premier cross country skiing destinations in the Twin Cities Metro. 

Daily ski rentals are available from the Visitor’s Center and the 16+ miles of groomed classic ski trails offer a full day of options. 

Dakota County Parks also offers ski lessons for beginning adults and youth.

7. Snowshoeing

snowshoeing lebanon hills

About a third of the trails in the park are not groomed for skiing each winter, offering the option for winter hiking and snowshoeing.  Some of the best parts of the park are only accessible during the winter this way! 

If you don’t have a pair of your own, daily rentals are available at the Visitor’s Center.   

8. Tubing & Sledding Hills

It wouldn’t be fair to have a park with “Hills” in the name and not have a spot for sledding.

Stop by the Visitor’s Center parking area on any given winter weekend and you’ll find dozens of kids enjoying the machine-packed sledding hill. It’s a smaller slope, so a good fit for even the youngest of toboggan riders. 

9. Lebanon Hills Campground

Lebanon Hills advertises the campground in the park as the best of both worlds — city close and country quiet. 

It’s close to so many Twin Cities attractions, you can enjoy a trip to the Minnesota Zoo or a Twins Game during the day and head back for a night under the stars at night.

The 93 campsites here are a mix of electric and non-electric, with flush toilets, showers, and laundry available.  Just know that the sites here reserve quickly for the summer season. (May to September)

10. Special Events

Lastly, Lebanon Hills hosts events throughout the year that are some of the more popular ways locals in the area enjoy the park. Check out these: 

  • Story Walks –  What evolved as a pandemic activity, Lebanon Hills selects sections of a hiking trail as a “story walk” posting large pages from favorite picture books posted every 15-20 yards down the trail.  Read the familiar story as you walk along the shores of Schulze Lake.
  • Kids camps – The park offers year-round programming for kids of all ages, including some of the best summer camp options in the Twin Cities.  Drop-off day camps and homeschool programming are also available.
  • Candlelight Events- During the winter months, enjoy Lebanon’s award-winning cross-country ski trails, hiking and snowshoe trails, and plowed walking paths —​ all by candlelight. Bring s’mores as there is always hot chocolate!
  • Forever Wild Family Fridays – On the first Friday of the month, Lebanon plans an evening fireside nature program.  Come for an early evening hike and stay for the staff-led nature talk.
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