Point Douglas Park-Hastings-Minnesota

Today’s hiking adventure began at Point Douglas Park.

Brrrrr! It was a cold start to our adventure. Fog danced on top of the two merging rivers: St. Croix River and Mississippi River.

We left the park hiking on Point Douglas Regional Trail.

We crossed the Hasting Bridge where the mighty Mississippi River flowed under us.

Hastings majestic City Hall appeared as we exited the bridge and continued our hike on the Mississippi River Regional Trail. 

A quick stop at Lake Rebecca offered a colorful view.

A giant eagle perched above us looking down at the Mississippi River waiting for its next meal.

Turkey vultures soared above us.

Some rested on a tower.

Our next stop along the trail was Lock and Dam #2.

Just after the Lock and Dam #2, the trail led us to a wider view of the Mississippi River. Here we decided to turn around and hike back to Point Douglas Park.

Fall is a magical time of year. The leaves are so colorful and the mid-morning sun warmed us from the cool air. 

The train tracks were getting used today! We saw many trains pass by us on the different railways.

As we approached our starting point we decided to cross the Fort Douglas Bascule Bridge and hike into Prescott, Wisconsin. We took in the view of the BNSF Lift Bridge that was built in 1984 for trains to cross over the river.

We hiked to the end of Point Douglas Park taking in the view from the beach.

Today’s hiking adventure was 12.3 miles.

Swede Hollow Park-St. Paul-Minnesota

Today’s hiking adventure began at Swede Hollow Park.

By descending down a long staircase, we started our adventure.

Swedehenge, a large stone exhibit, encompassed the lower level of the park. Informational historic markers lined the trail explaining the timeline of the park’s history.

We hiked out of Swede Hollow Park on the Bruce Vento Regional Trail.

We hiked under E. 7th Street through a very intriguing stone tunnel.

The bright colors of fall began to whisper through the greenery.

Downtown St. Paul and our State Capitol appear in the distance.

It was then on to Indian Mounds Park.

The park resides on the cliffs which offers great views of downtown St. Paul, the Mississippi River, and the train tracks below.

The fall colors were exploding as we hiked the trail through the park.

We continued our hike on the Samuel H. Morgan Regional Trail. The trail led us closer to the Mississippi River.

We hiked by the cliffs we were standing on earlier.

We continued hiking alongside the river passing under the Lafayette Bridge, Robert Street Bridge, and Wabasha Street Bridge. In order to loop back to our starting point, we hiked through downtown St. Paul capturing some fun photos along the way.

As we hiked along E. 7th Street, we passed by a fabulous neighborhood art exhibit.

Today’s urban hiking adventure was 10.5 miles.

Great River Bluffs-Winona-Minnesota

We hiked Great River Bluffs State Park on June 25, 2022.

The rain poured as we began our hiking adventure. We followed the King’s Bluff Trailhead to the King’s Bluff Overlook.

The light fog and rain created a mystical environment. We felt like we were walking into an enchanted forest.

The ground was a bit muddy at times. Thankfully, Mother Earth provided natural traction as we hiked up the hills.

The plants and flowers were soaking up the rain.

Fog gently danced around the top of the trees.

The overlook was breathtaking! The Mississippi River can be seen in the distance.

Our hiking adventure was 2.6 miles.

John A. Latsch State Park-Winona County-Minnesota

We hiked John A. Latsch on June 24th, 2022.

The Riverview Trail has a rating of difficult due to the 592 steps one needs to take straight up the bluff to Mount Charity Overlook.

On a hot, sunny and humid summer day we took our time climbing up those stairs. We saw glimpses of what the top of the bluff might offer the higher we climbed.

We made it to the top of the bluff! The overlook was worth the climb. The view of the mighty Mississippi River was magnificent.

Lock and Dam #5 can be seen in the distance.

What goes up must come down.

Our hiking adventure was 592 steps straight up the bluff.

Pine Point Regional Park-Stillwater-Minnesota

Today’s hiking adventure began at Pine Point Regional Park. This Washington County Park allows the trails to be used for hikers, bikers and our equine friends. The paved Gateway Trail cuts through the park. Most of the bikers we saw stayed on this trail. The trail map showed four different color coded looping trails. We decided to hike all four.

We began our hike on the yellow trail. This non paved trail led us through the woods and to a prairie.

The trail continued to Louise Lake. We briefly detoured from the yellow trail to the blue trail so we could hike alongside the lake.

The terrain changed just as frequently as the weather did. The sun began to shine, and the green of the forest became electric.

We hiked past several marshes that were higher than usual due to all the rain we have had lately. The frogs sang to us as we stopped for photos.

This next photo is my favorite of the day. The mirrored reflection is very serene.

The next trail we hiked was the blue trail. The trail was covered in thick grass and dandelions.

The green trail led us through a grove of birch trees as we hiked towards Loon Lake.

The youth of spring is nearing its end in Minnesota, however, we were able to see some crabapple blossoms and baby ferns growing.

Last but not least, the red trail. The trail was covered with luscious green grass. The giant open field was covered in small pine trees.

We found a giant mushroom, which I believe is called a Dryad’s Saddle.

Today’s hiking adventure was 6.3 miles.

Grey Cloud Dunes SNA-Cottage Grove-Minnesota

Today’s hiking adventure began at Grey Cloud Dunes Scientific and Natural Area. Grey Cloud Dunes SNA is a type of sand-gravel prairie which is rare in Minnesota. We were very careful to stay on the trail so we did not damage the sensitive landscape.

Spring is definitely here! The dirt trails were surrounded by bright green grass. Little baby leaves were beginning to grow on the trees all around us.

The trail led us under the train tracks and to a beautiful open prairie.

As we hiked closer to the Mississippi River we came across several small ponds. The water and grass appeared so vibrant in color.

The Mississippi River offered beautiful views as always.

Along the trail, the trees were magnificent.

We crossed back over the railroad tracks and began our climb to the upper part of the prairie.

The higher view offered a beautiful view of the river below.

After hiking the Grey Cloud Dunes SNA, we continued our hike to Hazen P. Mooers Park. Mooers Lake connects to the Mississippi River. We crossed over the bridge and continued our hike on to Lower Grey Cloud Island.

Once on the island, we noticed there was a Sand and Gravel Mine. They had a huge excavator bucket on display at the beginning of their entrance.

The turquoise colored water next to a mining operation is always interesting to see.

Today’s hiking adventure was 9.9 miles.

Kaposia Landing-South St. Paul-Minnesota

Today’s hiking adventure began at Kaposia Landing.

The paved trail we hiked was called the Robert Piram Regional Trail. The trail offered views of the Mississippi River and many trains.

The sky turned dark and rain began to downpour on us. Lightning flashed across the sky in front of us as the thunder crashed. We decided to stay the course and continued on. Thankfully the storm passed quickly.

On the trail, we passed an old car not far from the railroad tracks.  

We hiked past the St. Paul Airport. Downtown St. Paul can be seen in the photo below.

Harriet Island Regional Park was our next stop.

We crossed the Wabasha Street Bridge into downtown St. Paul. Smith Avenue High Bridge can be seen in the distance.

Downtown St. Paul has some great old buildings.

We even found Snoopy!

On the north side of the Smith Avenue High Bridge was a small sculpture garden. The green chair weighs 2,500 pounds!

Crossing the Smith Avenue High Bridge offered beautiful views of the Mississippi River and downtown St. Paul.

The High Bridge Overlook was the next stop on our hike, which is on the south side of the Smith Avenue High Bridge. Eagles could be seen soaring below scanning the river for their next meal.

Being an urban explorer offers the advantage of stopping for a snack. We decided to walk down Wabasha Street towards several restaurants. We passed the Wabasha Street Caves. They offer cave tours and host other events. Around the corner from the Wabasha Caves we found a cave entrance that was closed, however, it offered us a peek inside.

Tacos for the midday snack! Charlie Brown greeted us as we walked towards the entrance.

We continued our hiking adventure down Cesar Chavez Street until we reached the Robert Piram Regional Trail. Once back at Kaposia Landing we crossed the bridge over the railroad tracks to see Simon’s Ravine Trailhead. We decided to tackle that trailhead another day. They have a beautiful sculpture at the Simon’s Ravine trailhead.

Today’s hiking adventure was 10.5 miles.

West River Parkway-Minneapolis-Minnesota

Today’s hiking adventure started out on the West River Parkway in Minneapolis.

We began our hike on the paved path, however, we quickly found our way walking down the stone steps to the river trail.

The trail we were on was called The Winchell Trail.

Due to the recent rain and snow we had, the river trail was muddy and slippery at times. We were even able to see some icicles along the rocks.

The trail brought us to the Locks and Dam #1. Unfortunately, the observation deck was closed for the season. This allowed us to see several different views of the Ford Parkway Bridge.

Once on the other side of the Ford Parkway Bridge, we continued our hike along the river trail in St. Paul. We found two waterfalls along the trail. The first waterfall was still frozen.

The second waterfall we saw is called Shadow Falls. The waterfall trickled down the side of the rockbed. 

The limestone bluffs offered great views of the Mississippi River.

The river trail continued to the Lake Street-Marshall Bridge.

We decided to continue our hike past the Lake Street-Marshall Bridge to the Franklin Bridge. The paved trail offered views of the Short Line Bridge and the Franklin Bridge.

We jumped back on the Winchell Trail after crossing the Franklin Bridge. We were able to hike under the Short Line Bridge which allowed us a close view of the giant metal pieces it was constructed from.

White Sands Beach was the next destination on the trail. The sand was very fine and soft to the touch.

We continued on the trail back to our starting point.

Today’s hiking adventure was 11.5 miles.