Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park-Cottage Grove-Minnesota

Today’s hiking adventure began at Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park. The park offers paved and unpaved trails. Our adventure began on one of the unpaved trails. The air was humid and the forest floor was damp from the rainstorm we had this morning.

Raindrops glistened on the forest vegetation.

The baby blue sky began to gently show through the clouds creating a beautiful mirror reflection on Ravine Lake.

The terrain changed on the unpaved trails frequently.

The different wild flowers and flowering trees added a lovely splash of color as we hiked.

Hiking on the paved trail offered us a variety of surprises.

We found tiny snails basking in the sun’s warmth.

And goats! The goats were working hard eating the less than desirable plants like buckhorn and garlic mustard.

The paved trail brought us to the east side of Ravine Lake. At this location, we found a new park building and a playground full of life. People were fishing from the dock and turtles were sunbathing on the rocks.

Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park is an absolutely beautiful place to hike. I highly recommend taking advantage of all the different trails.

Today’s hiking adventure was 10.2 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.