Spring Lake Park Reserve-Hastings-Minnesota

Today’s hiking adventure began at Spring Lake Park Reserve.

Finally, the weather felt like spring! With the sun shining and the temperature decent, we began our hike on the Mississippi River Greenway Trail towards Schaar’s Bluff.

The park has recently added bison to the land. We were excited to catch a glimpse of them as we hiked by. Unfortunately, the bison were grazing out of sight. We continued on the trail hoping to catch them on the return trip.

The first bridge we crossed offered a great view of the Mississippi River and the valley below.

The trail curves and bends around the bluffs.

The view of the Mississippi River from an overlook.

This tree had a huge burl. We had to stop and get a closer look. The tree was completely hollow inside.

We reached Schaar’s Bluff. Thankfully, their Gathering Center was open. After looking around the center, back outside we went to take in another view of the Mississippi River.

Our plan was to turn around and head back, however, the day was too perfect to end our hike so soon. We carried on to the Lock and Dam #2. The trail led us past someone’s personal art sculptures. I made sure to take pictures of the bison sculptures in case we missed the real ones.

The trail led to one of my favorite places in Hastings. The trail cuts in between the Mississippi River and Lake Rebecca Park.

An eagle was on the edge of the ice on the river as it looked for a snack on the open water. 

Lots of giant nests along the river.

Lock and Dam #2 was closed. After a quick rest we decided to head back to our starting point. As we hiked past an open farm field, we saw at least 24 deer run across it. I’m not sure where they came from or where they were going but WOW! That was a lot of deer. We also saw an owl take off from the ground. As soon as the owl landed, it must have turned its invisibility cloak on because… poof, it was gone. We were happy to have had other animal sightings since we were unable to see the bison, although, we were still hoping to catch a glimpse of them.

We found them! The bison were out grazing in the far end of the East Paddock. There were about 6 of them.

Today’s hiking adventure was our longest hike to date at 19.5 miles.


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