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.

Swing Bridge Park Trailhead-Inver Grove Heights-Minnesota

This morning’s hiking adventure began at the Swing Bridge Park Trailhead.

I began by taking in the view from the Rock Island Swing Bridge that was built in 1894. The bridge no longer extends across the Mississippi River as it is now a recreational pier.

Further away from the shore, the frozen river began to break apart into giant sheets of ice. The warm sun shimmered across the water as eagles soared above looking for their next meal.

As I began my hike along the Mississippi River Regional Trail, I could hear birds singing, and the trees creaked as the wind blew through them.

The trail offered several places to rest and overlooks to view the mighty Mississippi.

The Wakota Bridge/494 Bridge appeared in the distance stretching across the Mississippi River.

The trail went under the Wakota Bridge. I had to wait for a long train to pass by before I could make my way towards the top of the bridge.

The Mississippi River mirrored the brilliant blue sky as I crossed the Wakota Bridge.

Today’s hiking adventure was 8 miles.

Fort Snelling State Park/Minnehaha Falls Loop-Minnesota

With the sun shinning brightly and the temperature a chilly four degrees, today was meant for a wintery hiking adventure. The cloudless sky was as blue as the ocean. Our adventure started at Fort Snelling State Park by the Thomas C. Savage Visitor Center. Several inches of fresh snow covered the trails. With the Mississippi River to our right, we hiked the trail heading towards the Minnehaha Falls which led us to several beautiful sites. 

Coldwater Spring was the first site. The creek was lightly flowing with snow and ice surrounding the edges. The rising steam from the water shimmered through the rising sun. The old Coldwater Spring house and reservoir is a beautiful place to visit during the winter months.

We continued along the trail which offered views of the Ford Dam and an old incinerator.

Minnehaha Falls in the winter is breathtaking. The water appears frozen in time enabling it to capture different shades of blue. It was eerily quiet as we walked around the falls.

Our final site on this hiking adventure was the Historic Fort Snelling buildings. The old stone appeared as cold as the crisp whispering winds swirling past us. The hiking loop we traveled was 6.5 miles long, a beautiful winter sight seeing adventure.