Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center-Hastings-Minnesota

Today’s hiking adventure was at the Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center.

Today I adventured out for a solo hike. Mother Nature has a way of healing the soul and I needed a bit of that today. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and the squirrels were playing. I began my adventure on the Savanna Trail.

From the Savanna trail, I entered the South River Bluff Trail. The trail descended down the bluff towards the St. Croix River.

The river began to appear through the trees. I could hear all the boats’ motors roaring in the distance.

The right side of the trail was lined with stones. Some are covered in a dark green moss.

The trail led to a dock on the St. Croix River. Many boats passed by in the distance. The wake from the boats made the dock sway back and forth.

I must have been the first person on the trail this morning. I was walking into so many spiderwebs.  Spiderwebs are so itchy!

The trail began to go straight up the bluffs. Many different ferns were basking in the heat.

The trail led me back to the Savanna Trail.

Next stop was the Ravine Lookout. A beautiful wooden deck stretched down the side of the hill. It was a bit buggy at the bottom, so I didn’t stay long.

The North Loop Trail was next.

The next part of the trail was my favorite. The tall pine trees looked amazing and they smelled wonderfully.

The Red Cedar Trail was next.

The Red Cedar Trail led back to the North Loop Trail.

The trail led to the front of the park. I crossed the road to take a photo of the park sign. A beautiful Polyphemus Moth was hanging on to a stem. I couldn’t believe how huge it was. After a bit of research I learned they only live for 4 days. I am thankful I was able to see it in its short life. It remained very still for me to take its photo.

Vibrant purple lupine lined the field by the front of the park.

I crossed the street and headed back inside the park. I took the trail next to a small pond. The pond was full of tadpoles!

I wanted one more view of the river before leaving this amazing park. I took the trail to the River Overlook.

Today’s hiking adventure was 5.5 miles.

St. Croix River Crossing Loop Trail-Stillwater-Minnesota

Today’s hiking adventure began in Stillwater. The St. Croix River Crossing Loop is one of my favorite loops.

The sun tried to join our adventure today; however, it was a pretty cloudy day. We started the trail by the Stillwater Lift Bridge.

The St. Croix River appeared frozen over for the most part. We only noticed a few open areas of water. The snow was piled high alongside the trail.

The St. Croix Crossing Bridge can be seen in the distance. A gentle fog covered the bridge.

The entire loop is on a wide paved trail which makes sharing the trail with runners, and bikers so nice especially in the warmer months.

Hiking over the St. Croix Crossing Bridge offers beautiful views of the surrounding land. Snowmobile tracks could be seen below us on the frozen river. A few individuals were even on the river ice fishing with their car parked nearby them. It has been rather warm as of late during the day, I’m not sure walking or driving a car on a river is the best idea, but to each their own.

The trail continues across the bridge and into Wisconsin.

There is a steep hill on the Wisconsin side one needs to go down to loop back into Minnesota. We decided to stop and put on our Yaktrax so we didn’t slip and slide down the hill.

At the bottom of the hill, the trail continues across the Stillwater Lift Bridge.

Today’s hiking adventure was 5.4 miles.

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.

St. Croix State Park-Hinckley-Minnesota

We hiked St. Croix State Park June 3rd, 2022.

As we drove into the park, we noticed that the main park office was 5 miles off the highway. Wow, this park must be gigantic was our first thought. Yep, it is!! St. Croix State Park is the largest state park in Minnesota at over 33,000 Acres!

Our first stop was the Fire Tower. The Fire Tower was built in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. With 134 steps to the top and 100 feet tall, we were up for the challenge.

As soon as we cleared the top of the trees, a gust of wind hit us and our adrenaline kicked in. No stopping now, we had to make it to the top. We continued our climb to the top for a breathtaking view.

With a rush of energy, we were ready to begin our hiking adventure. We drove to the St. Croix Lodge to hike the trails closest to the St. Croix River. Behind the lodge we found a trail leading down to the river.

The River Bluff Trail was the next trail we hiked.

There were a couple of interesting nature finds on this hike. The first, a tree completely burned to a crisp surrounded by other lush trees. Second, we found a communal nest of caterpillars… kind of cool, kind of gross.

The River Bluff Trail offered wonderful views of the St. Croix River below.

Beautiful trees, wildflowers, mushrooms and tall prairie grass kept our spirits high.

The River Bluff Trail led us to the historic ruins of the Civilian Conservation Corps camp.

The bugs began to attack, so we looped back on the River Bluff Trail back to our starting point.

Today’s hiking adventure was 5 miles.

Wild River State Park-Center City-Minnesota

We hiked Wild River State Park June 3rd, 2022.

Our hiking adventure started on the River Trail by the Visitor Center.

The plant life was so lush and green alongside the unpaved River Trail. Large ferns were growing everywhere! Song birds gifted us with a wonderful soundtrack as we hiked.

The royal blue sky reflected off the calm St. Croix River.

We crossed over Spring Creek.

Due to all the rain we have had this year, sections of the ground were flooded. It created an almost swampy feel to the land. My cousin teased that we would stumble across an alligator.

Dragonflies danced all around us.

The trail led us to the Nevers Dam Overlook. The history of this location is interesting. Nevers Dam stretched across the river connecting Minnesota and Wisconsin. In the late 1800’s, large logs used to be sent past this location as they made their way to the sawmills down river. In 1903, Northern States Power Company purchased the dam as a way to control the water flow for the hydroelectric dam being built downstream. The dam was removed in 1955 after it was damaged by flood waters. I saw no remnants of the dam, just a beautiful overlook.

A beautiful fine sand beach was next to the Nevers Dam Overlook.

The last part of the River Trail looped us close by the river.

We hiked the Old Logging Trail back towards the visitor center.

Our hiking adventure was 5.3 miles.

Interstate State Park-Taylors Falls-Minnesota

Our hiking adventure began at Interstate State Park on June 3rd, 2022.

We hiked the Walter F. Mondale River Trail along the St. Croix River. Just as we were beginning our hike, we found a single leaf on a tree in the shape of a heart. I read this as a sign from Nature letting us know today was going to be a great day for a hike!

Rocks and tree roots jetted up from the ground below creating the unpaved River Trail. Large boulders decorated with vibrant green plant life surrounded us on the trail. Wildflowers added a splash of color.

The trail offered several overlooks to view the St. Croix River. I found it interesting how the river appeared to change color right before our eyes.

We headed up the stone staircase to view the river from a higher angle. The river below looked like flowing root beer.

Our next stop was the Glacial Potholes.

Giant Basalt boulders surrounded us. Trees grew right on top of the rock.

We crossed the US-8 Bridge over the river and into St. Croix, Wisconsin. The trail in Wisconsin offered views of the turbulent St. Croix River.

Once back on the Minnesota side of the St. Croix River, we were welcomed with a beautiful sign.

We hiked the Walter F. Mondale River Trail back to our starting point. Our hiking adventure was 4.3 miles.