Three-Mile Drive

Note:  Three-Mile Drive is open to pedestrians for walking and hiking and visitor vehicle traffic for the season 2015.

Three-Mile Drive will re-open for the season to visitors' motorized vehicles and bicycles in mid-April or when weather and roadway repair conditions permit. Tram tours are starting again in May.  Also, beginning in early May the free-of-charge Visitor Circulators will provide hop-on and hop-off service on Three-Mile Drive Thursday - Sunday afternoons (check for specific hours). Thanks for sharing the roadway so all can enjoy the beauty and wonder of the Arboretum. 

Be safe on Three-Mile Drive

Spring and summer brings change for Three-Mile Drive. As an official roadway of the University of Minnesota, sharing the road is necessary so all can enjoy the beauty and wonder of the Arboretum.

Overview of "Rules of the Roadway":

  • BIcycles are welcomed back on the roadway (bicycle symbols are on center of roadway) and must abide by speed limits and are encouraged to announce yourself when approaching pedestrians from behind
  • Pedestrians are to use the newly marked pedestrian lane (parallel to roadway in most places) and encouraged to use the paved walkways and trails that bring you into the heart of the Arboretum
  • Motor vehicles must abide by speed limits and yield to others.

Thanks for your patience, respect and cooperation as these changes take effect.

More Info

Pedestrians are encouraged to use caution around vehicle traffic. Hikers and walkers will see a striped lane on the right hand side of the road,which is designated for pedestrians when Three-Mile Drive is open again to the Arboretum tram, circulators, other motorized visitor vehicles and the return of bicycles in spring 2014. For the safety of all, pedestrians are encouraged to use the system of signed pathways and trails that typically run parallel to Three-Mile Drive.  Bicyclists are expected to abide by vehicle rules of the roadway including speed limits and yielding to pedestrians in cross-walk areas.  

Three-Mile Drive is a fully paved roadway that winds through the various collections and landscapes at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Personal vehicles are typically allowed to drive this road from April to November. The exact open and close dates will be announced, as they depend on weather. Walkers are welcome year 'round.

Bicycles on Three-Mile Drive
Starting in spring 2014, bicycles will be once again permitted on Three-Mile Drive, an official University of Minnesota roadway.   Bicyclists are expected to practice responsible riding, abide by roadway speed limits and yield to pedestrians in cross-walk areas. The Arboretum parallel system of signed pathways and trails offer a safer and more scenic alternative to pedestrians walking on Three-Mile Drive.  However, pedestrains that choose to continue walking on the roadway will be directed to walk in the signed pedestrian lane on the right side of the roadway--so bicyclists should use extreme caution. Scooters, skateboards and in-line skaes are not allowed on Three-Mile Drive.

Minnewashta Parkway Trail
For bicyclists passing through the Arboretum on this regional bicycling trail, there is no admission charge. If bicyclists wish to stop and visit the gardens and grounds, enter Arboretum buildings or use walkways and trails, a $5 day pass is required for trail users age 13 and up. Arboretum members, ages 12 and under are free. For a day pass, please pay at the Visitor Center or at secure lock box at trail entrance. Please lock your bike securely at bicycle racks only and affix day pass tag. Thank you for your cooperation.

Three-Mile Drive features three rest stops for Visitor Circulators, which will resume operation in late spring and continue through the summer and early fall.  The rest stops will provide partial shelter, visitor map and information on nearby trails and gardens as well as more to explore indoors at Oswald Visitor Center. There will be limited seating for visitors waiting for next timed arrivals of the Visitor Circulators (operates Saturdays and Sundays summer to fall). Thanks for your patience as the Arboretum enhances the visitor experience.



Join us on our two electric-powered, 11-passenger Circulators for FREE hop-on/hop-off transportation along Three-Mile Drive! This vehicle circles Three-Mile Drive on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with four stops: Home Demonstration Garden (by greenhouse), the Sculpture Garden, the Maze Garden and the Learning Center. On weekends when heavy traffic is anticipated, two circulators will be in operation. See the Arboretum in a new way and out of your car!  In 2015, Circulators will begin operating on Friday, May 1, and continue throughout the summer and into the fall.

The purchase of the Circulators was the focus of the 2012 Fund-A-Need cause, part of the annual Gala in the Gardens. The addition of the Circulators is to ease some of the traffic congestion along Three-Mile Drive and bring visitors closer to the gardens and collections. Thanks to all for their donations.