One Mile Lake Nature Area
Location: Fergus Falls, MN
Management: Fergus Falls Fish & Game Club
Trail Surface: Natural Surface - Grass
Environment: Prairie, Marsh
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Cell Phone Reception: Excellent
Parking: Plentiful, no charge
Dog Rules: None posted
Up in my hometown of Fergus Falls, MN, just an hour shy of Fargo off I-94, there is a trail system through the prairie hosted by the Fish & Game Club. This is Mica’s favorite place by far! He absolutely loves zooming up and down the hills and racing breakneck through the tall grass, leaping and bounding like a gazelle. When he’s finally tuckered out, we sit on one of the many benches and he lets his tongue loll out like a drunken fool.
Best visited in the summer, it’s also a great destination for a spring or fall hike. They do an excellent job of keeping the trails well groomed, but not every dog owner is diligent about picking up poop, unfortunately. Just watch your step!
There are two loops to choose from as well as two trailheads. Depending on the season and they type of vehicle you drive, you’ll want to take a look at both trailhead options.
This is a small, grass parking area that fits about 4 cars just off of Main Street. If it’s springtime, you’ll want to use the other trailhead because this will be pure mud. You might be able to get in, but getting out will be a challenge! This is a nice option right in town if you don’t want to drive all the way out to 210.
This is the main trailhead for this trail system. There is ample parking on a gravel lot, right off of highway 210. You can also enjoy the picnic table, grill, and shelter on site, care of the Fergus Falls Fish & Game Club. You might run into a couple people out on the trails, but it is usually wide open.
There is a short loop – just under a mile – and a long loop that goes around the entire park which is just under 2 miles. You can find crude trail maps that I made in the "How to Get Here" section below. If you start off on the short loop, taking a right at the first intersection, you can choose how adventurous you are that day and either complete the short loop or continue onto the long loop further up the trail.
Whichever you choose, you’ll absolutely enjoy the rolling hills, waving prairie grasses, and wide open spaces. The trail surface is mowed grass and feels great underfoot. Easy on the ankles! In the morning, it can be covered in dew, so bring some kind of waterproof footwear if you plan on an early morning hike. Otherwise, tennis shoes should serve you just fine! Enjoy one of the overlooks like the one Mica and River are modeling below. You can hear all of the prairie birds singing or frogs in the ponds sprinkled throughout the park.
Although there are no trail rules posted, it is courteous to leash up your dog if you are approaching other hikers on the trail. It makes for a smoother interaction as you pass each other, and you never know how another dog might react. Not sure if you can trust your dog off leash? A long line is always a great option. Here are some additional tips.
For more unwritten rules of trial etiquette when hiking with dogs, check out this handy article.
Throughout the trial system, there are areas of lowland and some marshes. If there has been rain recently, it can get a bit muddy with a chance of standing water on the trail. Watch the weather and plan accordingly. There are some cute wooden bridges at the north end of the trails.
This trail is absolutely gorgeous in the summertime! As you can see in the pictures below, the dogs are having a blast. I love to sit at the bench on top of the hill and let the wind cool my face on a hot summer day. While the long loop is less than 2 miles, I’d still take along some water for the dogs if you choose to do that trail on a hot day. You’ll probably want some, too!
I leave you with a quick video of the crazy border collies tearing it up:
Adventure On and check out my hometown! Woof!
Danielle, Mica & River
How to Get There
Scenes From the Trail