At 736 acres, Crosby Farm Regional Park is the largest natural park in Saint Paul. Nevertheless, it is a bit of a hidden gem. A small side road off a main thoroughfare, Shephard Road, leads to this riverfront respite in the heart of the metro.
Crosby is home to primarily floodplain forest, ensconced by steep, wooded slopes cloaked mostly in oak forest, with a smattering of wetlands and small lakes (Crosby and Upper lakes).
When the river floods fish and other aquatic animals gain access to these small lakes, which act as nurseries for their offspring. Due to this and other factors — its size, location and ongoing efforts to restore its habitat — Crosby plays an important role protecting the biodiversity of the metro-area Mississippi River corridor. Eagles, beavers, turtles and other animals are frequently spotted at this expansive urban park.
With about 6.7 miles of paved trails, the park provides a beautiful setting for an afternoon's walk, run or ride. Trails run along shady, wooded bottom-lands next to the river, along the marshes of Crosby Lake, past scenic picnic areas, and also connect to the Mississippi River Boulevard parkway.
Crosby Shelter at Gannon Road and Crosby Farm Road seats approximately 50 people. Other amenities include a fire pit, barbecue grill, electricity and restrooms. Fishing is also available at the Upper Lake, Crosby Park and in the Mississippi River. Watergate Marina is nearby as well.
Crosby is also home to a demonstration prairie for visitors who want to learn about plants that benefit pollinators, wildlife and our local waters. The three-acre demonstration prairie includes 1,000 native prairie plants and species markers to educate and inform park-goers.