Kaplan’s Woods Parkway-Owatonna-Minnesota

Today’s hiking adventure began at Kaplan’s Wood Park.

The temperature was a cool 44 degrees and the sun was beginning to shine as we began our adventure. Thick leaves layered the unpaved trail.

Pumpkins were scattered throughout the park for the critters.

There were maps throughout the park, however, they were not incredibly helpful. The different trails seemed to wind around the forest haphazardly. At times we wondered… “have we been on this trail already?”

Our mushroom friends helped us remember which trails we had been on before.

Raindrops laid gently on the leaves from last night’s rain.

Straight River flowed through the park.

We left Kaplan’s Woods and hiked to Lake Kohlmier. The wind was so strong it almost blew us into the lake from the dock.

The bridge brought us to a small island. Ducks were swimming all around us and the geese could be heard gossiping with each other in the distance. 

Today’s hiking adventure was 6.6 miles.

Salem Hills Park-Inver Grove Heights-Minnesota

Today’s hiking adventure began at Salem Hills Park.

The end of October is always bitter sweet. We are in the season of letting go. There are more leaves on the ground than on the trees. Fall colors are beginning to fade and the air is getting cold. Today though, may have been the perfect fall day. The sun was shining, the temperature was warm, and there was a cool breeze blowing.

The park is made up of unpaved shared hiking and biking trails.

Hiking through the birch tree groves was incredible. The changing colors of the leaves popped alongside the white bark.

The trail led us to a small pond.

Mushrooms were enjoying the weather too!

The trail looped around the park offering an amazing view of the spectacular fall colors.

Today’s hiking adventure was 5.3 miles.

Quarry Park and Nature Preserve-Waite Park-Minnesota

Today’s hiking adventure began at Quarry Park and Nature Preserve.

Ah, the crisp fall air felt wonderful as we began our hike into the park. There are many different unpaved trails throughout the park that weave around the 20 different quarries. Saint Cloud Red Granite was quarried from the land with operations ending in the mid 1950’s. Quarry Park and Nature Preserve opened in 1998. Along with hiking, biking and skiing, people are able to swim, SCUBA dive and rock climb in designated areas.

Old mining equipment can be found throughout the park. My favorite was the gigantic granite saw blade.

Giant rock piles are seen all over the park. The mining term for these piles is Grout Piles.

One of the grout piles had an observation deck at the top.

The quarries are stunning. The water mirrors the landscape that surrounds it.

Along with the amazing quarries, the park offers wonderful trails through wetlands and prairies.

The quarries created a humid environment which the mushrooms appeared to enjoy.

The leaves are just beginning to change.

Today’s amazing hiking adventure was 8.4 miles.