Explore On Your Own

The Abbey has owned and cared for this site since 1856. In keeping with our Benedictine Values, the monastic community is pleased to share our home with you where you may observe nature and be physically and spiritually refreshed. As a guest on this private property, please be respectful of our policies and this land which we consider sacred.

Hike the Abbey Arboretum 

Two people Hiking the Abbey Arboretum

Saint John’s Abbey Arboretum has more than 15 miles of hiking trails. No pets or unauthorized motor vehichles are allowed, but they’re beautiful for hiking and jogging! No hiking on groomed ski trails, please! Trail maps are available outside the OutdoorU offices in the New Science Center. 

Bike the Abbey Arboretum

A man biking on pavement

Abbey Arboretum trails are not for biking, but you can cycle on any paved surface at Saint John’s. Bike down the Old Entrance Road, across the footbridge over I-94 to access the Lake Wobegon Trail, a 46-mile long hiking and biking trail.

Swim the Abbey Arboretum

People swimming in Lake Sagatagan

The Saint John’s Abbey beach is a private beach for Saint John’s University, College of Saint Benedict, and the Saint John’s Prep communities, as well as their guests. Swimming is allowed only during beach hours and in designated areas.

Boating in the Arboretum

Two people paddle boating

Although there is no public boat access to any of the lakes at the Abbey Arboretum, Saint John’s allows people to access the lake at designated points. In order to provide a quiet and peaceful outdoor experience for the community, only non-motorized boats or canoes are allowed. See the Saint John’s Abbey Lake & Water Policy for more information.

Disk Golf the Abbey Arboretum

A man Frisbee golfing

Bring yourself over to the Saint John’s Abbey Disc Golf Course, located just east of East Gemini Lake. Don’t have a disk? Make a pit stop at the OLC before heading out to the course and take your pick from 100 disks. The disc golf course is an all natural course and in order to preserve that we ask that you follow the Leave No Trace policy.

Ski the Abbey Arboretum

A man cross country skiing

Cross-country ski trails in the Abbey Arboretum are groomed for the benefit of the ski team, faculty, staff, students, members of the CSB and SJU communities, and OutdoorU members. All of the grooming is performed by volunteer efforts of a few individuals plus the help of a student employee. We colled no trail fees, but if you enjoyed the ski trails, we recommend joining Saint John’s Outdoor University at the $40 Family yearly membership level to support the trails.

Snowshoe the Abbey Arboretum


Venture off the beaten path with your pair of snowshoes! Snowshoeing is allowed anywhere in the Abbey Arboretum except on groomed winter ski trails. Don’t have snow shoes? Not a problem. Head over to the OLC before your adventure and rent a pair, free of charge.

Fishing in the Abbey Arboretum

A man ice fishing

There is no pubic access to any of the lakes in Saint John’s Abbey Arboretum. (Although all Minnesota water is public, users may only cross private land with permission.) However, Saint John’s allows fish from the shoreline as long as individuals respect the Abbey’s land and follow all DNR regulations. Please avoid fishing along sensitive shores and remember to remove all garbage, such as unused bait or dead fish. See the Saint John’s Abbey Lake and Water Policy for more information. 

Sledding in the Abbey Arboretum

A sledder getting a push down the hill by another person

Grab your sled or your snowboard and head to the Saint John’s sledding hill! You can sled anytime you want, but please do not build jumps on the hill and always be mindful of other users travelling up and down the hill. Locate the sledding hill with this map. Check out sleds from the OLC!


A man orienteering

Test your skills on the Saint John’s Outdoor University Orienteering Course in the Abbey Arboretum. Test out your compass skills and head on over to Oak Savannah to start your journey. We have designed several courses for various skill levels, so grab your compass and head outside!


Two women taking pictures of nature

Have you ever wanted to know what to call those purple wildflowers in the prairie? Or wondered what kind of bird you spotted flying over Lake Sag? Well now there’s an easier way to identify what you see! iNaturalist can help you keep track of animals and plants in the Abbey Arboretum. Use your camera or the iNaturalist app on your cellphone to snap a picture of your observations and share them with the online community of nature lovers at iNaturalist.org.

Geocaching the Abbey Arboretum

Global positioning system device (GPS)

Use your GPS to locate the geocaches located in the Saint John’s Arboretum!