One of my favorite locations to visit for sessions in the Twin Cities metro: Theodore Wirth Regional Park.
Nestled minutes from downtown Minneapolis, Theo Wirth is a massive 740 acre park that ambles around Wirth Lake & the golf course. There is a big sandy beach, a playground, and ample trails looped throughout. Pair with big fields, wooded paths and an adorable bridge, this park has a MEGA ton of diversity in backdrops.
I was introduced to this park in 2017 with a session with Suzi & Elli. Fluffy dandelions in golden hour, many textures of walking paths, a sandy beach and a calm pond, what more to love? Inspired, Theodore Wirth became a go to for the park setting while only being 16 mins from Minneapolis.
Each time I visit, there are familiar spots to traipse: the beach & the bridge.
The beach has a lovely beach house (the playground is here too) and this is the best place to find parking and coordinate. If we’re doing a session, we won’t be doing the beach right off the bat! Instead we’ll stroll around the park and leave the sand & water to the end of the evening when the light settles in to a brilliant sunset.
Directly across from the park the paths start. Heading right the path is mown and it makes a giant loop around the park. If you continue on the path it passes Birch Pond and then leads you towards the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden (dogs are NOT allowed in the garden area). I’ve never followed the loop that far to know how scenic it is.
If instead of going right at the first path fork you’ll be on a broad paved path with multiple paths jogging off to the right. Saying on the paved path will loop you up the hill to the Theodore Wirth Pavilion. Dogs aren’t allowed in, but the building is rather quaint.
Following the path that leads from in front of the pavilion, you’ll head downhill to a smaller parking lot for the park. There’s a mega cute wooden fence that makes a lovely backdrop. You can head into the woods that flank the path to the right. The paths in the woods meet and make the same loops & connections to the main paved path – you can traverse them in either direction!
If you decide to turn left instead of right, you’ll cross a relatively busy road and head towards the water access. Go down the canoe launch for pretty views of the lake, or head up into the trees and hilly area. There is ample open space to explore plus the wide openness of the area is awesome for some running action shots! This is where you’ll find fluffy backlit dandelions in the early summer. There is one tree that actively turns orange well before the others, so if you’d like some color in your fall images find that tree!
If you pick up the paved path it heads towards the farthest edge of the park crossing Basset Creek as it does. Be mindful, this is a bike path! Make sure to move over or off the path to allow bike traffic to travel safely.
Crossing Basset Creek is an adorable bridge, a must visit even if you’re just strolling. If you’re feeling surefooted you can explore the creek by traipsing down big rocks to the water’s edge.
Continuing the path brings you to Highway 55. This busy road serves as intersection between the park area and the golf course. It looks like there is a trail that might loop around the golf course and turn into a mountain bike path (via Google maps) though I haven’t yet adventured that direction.
After you visit the bridge, backtrack to beach and let the sun work its magic as it departs the sky.
There is a trail that loops around the west side of the lake, but I haven’t yet travelled it to see how scenic it is. If you do, let me know if its pretty enough for a session!
(Once you wrap up for the day, head into the north loop of Minneapolis and get some ice cream for you and your pup! MN Nice Cream has dairy free pup cups & is only 14 mins from Theodore Wirth Regional park!)
We’re in a blog ring with awesome pet photographers around the world! Next up Abby Moreno of Paws Fur Joy Photography shares one of her favorite spots for pet photography, Raleigh Little Theater Rose Garden.