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.