The Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway is part of the Federal Highway Administration's National Scenic Byways Program, which recognizes and supports outstanding roads. The Grand Rounds is one of the country's longest continuous systems of public urban parkways and has been the preeminent urban parkway system for more than a century.
The Grand Rounds encompasses natural features, including lakes, creeks, woodlands, riverbanks, and wetlands, as well as constructed features, like canals, lagoons, greenways and parks, playgrounds, parkways, trails, golf courses, athletic fields, picnic grounds, gardens, and bridges.
Originally conceived by Horace W. S. Cleveland and other visionaries in the early days of the Minneapolis Park System, the Grand Rounds is a unique example of a connected park system created for the benefit of the citizens and visitors of Minneapolis.
The Grand Rounds has been nominated for inclusion on the Natural Register of Historic Places.
Pocket maps mailed by request.
6 am-midnight in developed areas
6 am-10 pm in undeveloped areas
Approximately 50 miles of parkways
102 miles of Grand Rounds trails:
51 miles walking; 51 miles biking
The system consists of seven segments:
Information Center: Longfellow House
Information kiosks along byway trails
More than 50 interpretive sites
20 byway access areas from interstates and major thoroughfares
A “missing link” between the Mississippi and Northeast segments keeps the Grand Rounds from being the unbroken ring of parks and parkways that its founders envisioned. This project will connect East River Parkway with St. Anthony Parkway.
Size: Approximately 4,662 acres
The Grand Rounds Scenic Byway runs along the following Minneapolis parkways:
Parking: Learn about parking options along the parkways and how to obtain an Annual Patron Parking Permit.
Led by Horace W. S. Cleveland’s vision and that of many others who followed, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s early ‘down payment’ to protect many of the intrinsic resources of Minneapolis by creating The Grand Rounds has returned immeasurable benefits to generations of city residents and millions of city visitors.
Among many other national and international distinctions, that early investment in The Grand Rounds today also manifests itself as America’s most important urban scenic byway.
Designated as a Minnesota State Scenic Byway (1997) According to the Federal Highway Administration, “Scenic Byways are public roads having special scenic, historic, recreational, cultural, archeological and natural qualities that have been recognized as such through legislation and other official declaration. Scenic byways refer not only to the road, street or highway itself but also to the corridor through which it passes.”
Received two federal grants for the development of the Interpretation Program (1997) and a model volunteer and hospitality program (1998)
Designated as a ‘National Scenic Byway’ by the Federal Highway Administration (April 1998)
Recognized by the Federal Highway Administration as the premier national urban scenic byway (1998)
Provided the key link in completing the Great River Road (1998)
Longfellow House opened as an Interpretive and Information Center (2000)
Grand Rounds "Enchanted Journey" exhibit installed at the Longfellow House Interpretive and Information Center (2002)
Collaboration with Hennepin History Museum brought new historical exhibits to the Longfellow House as well as expanded the traveling exhibits for the Byway (2002)
"Look forward for a century, to the time when the city has a population of a million, and think what will be their wants. They will have wealth enough to purchase all that money can buy, but all their wealth cannot purchase a lost opportunity, or restore natural features of grandeur and beauty, which would then possess priceless value . . ."
— Horace Cleveland
Minneapolis Park System Landscape Gardener, 1883