West River Parkway-Minneapolis-Minnesota

Today’s hiking adventure started out on the West River Parkway in Minneapolis.

We began our hike on the paved path, however, we quickly found our way walking down the stone steps to the river trail.

The trail we were on was called The Winchell Trail.

Due to the recent rain and snow we had, the river trail was muddy and slippery at times. We were even able to see some icicles along the rocks.

The trail brought us to the Locks and Dam #1. Unfortunately, the observation deck was closed for the season. This allowed us to see several different views of the Ford Parkway Bridge.

Once on the other side of the Ford Parkway Bridge, we continued our hike along the river trail in St. Paul. We found two waterfalls along the trail. The first waterfall was still frozen.

The second waterfall we saw is called Shadow Falls. The waterfall trickled down the side of the rockbed. 

The limestone bluffs offered great views of the Mississippi River.

The river trail continued to the Lake Street-Marshall Bridge.

We decided to continue our hike past the Lake Street-Marshall Bridge to the Franklin Bridge. The paved trail offered views of the Short Line Bridge and the Franklin Bridge.

We jumped back on the Winchell Trail after crossing the Franklin Bridge. We were able to hike under the Short Line Bridge which allowed us a close view of the giant metal pieces it was constructed from.

White Sands Beach was the next destination on the trail. The sand was very fine and soft to the touch.

We continued on the trail back to our starting point.

Today’s hiking adventure was 11.5 miles.

Mississippi Gateway Regional Park-Brooklyn Park-Minnesota

We began our hiking adventure at the Mississippi Gateway Regional Park. The trail quickly led us to the Coon Rapids Dam. The Mississippi River roared through the dam.

Crossing the bridge over the dam offered beautiful views of the Mississippi River. The river was calm on one side of the dam and turbulent on the other. The cold wind whipped around us as we made our way across the dam.

Once on the other side of the dam, we hiked a portion of the Mississippi River Regional Trail. The brilliant blue sky reflected off the river creating a stunning view of the mighty Mississippi.

About a mile into our hike on the Mississippi River Regional Trail, the trail closed due to bridge repairs. On our way back to the dam, we looped around the still frozen Cenaiko Lake. Even though it didn’t feel like spring, we could see some green grass beginning to grow.

We crossed back over the dam and continued our hike on the river trail. The ice gathering along the side of the river was amazing to see.

Today’s hiking adventure was a little over 6 miles long.

Woodland Trails Regional Park-Elk River-Minnesota

Happy first day of Spring!

We began our hiking adventure at Woodland Trails Regional Park. The sun was shining brightly down on us as we ventured out on the trails. A thin layer of ice coated the trails making for a slippery start to the day. Our first trail was the Prairie Loop due to it being mostly clear of snow and ice.

We tried walking on the snow covered paths for a bit, however, the ice on top of the snow made for a dangerous commute.

The Great Northern Trail crossed through the park. Being it was paved and mostly clear of ice, we jumped on it and began hiking out of the park. 

After a few side road detours, we hiked into the Historic Downtown Elk River. Downtown offered beautiful views of the Mississippi River and their cool water tower.

Several murals were painted on the buildings. We even came across an elk!

On the loop back to our starting point, we visited a small Veteran’s Memorial, crossed over railroad tracks and hugged a giant tree.

Today was a beautiful day for a 9 mile hiking adventure!

Crow-Hassan Park Reserve-Rogers-Minnesota

With the temperature a cool 2 degrees, we began our hiking adventure at Crow-Hassan Park Reserve. The snow crunched loudly under our feet as we hiked. The trails varied in size depending on the route we took. Several of the trail routes were plowed and others were fresh single file boot prints.

We had a birds’ eye view of the Crow River flowing by as we stood on the cliffs. A tremendous number of geese, ducks and swans graced the river’s presence.

The hiking trails weaved in and out of forest and prairie terrain. A variety of birds were making their voices heard this morning. A bright red cardinal and his partner danced in the air as they flew past us.

A large knothole on a tree called to me to take a closer look. I am glad I did as I found a gnome living inside. Not long after discovering the magical gnome, a beautiful owl departed from a tree branch and flew just a few feet in front of us. A breathtaking moment!

A panorama view of part of the park.

Today’s hiking adventure was 6.5 miles long.

Richfield Lake-Richfield-Minnesota

Minnesota had its first rainstorm of the year yesterday. During the overnight hours the rain turned to snow. I woke up to a magical winter wonderland of snow covered ice. Due to the icy roads, I decided to stay close to home. Richfield Lake is a small lake with a paved path surrounding it.

With a variety of trees and plant life covered in a fresh thick layer of snow, a winter paradise was created.

Raindrops froze in place overnight.

Several crossing bridges around the lake allow access to the surrounding neighborhoods.

There are plenty of places to rest and enjoy the view.

Many different species of birds and small wildlife call Richfield Lake home throughout the year. Today I was able to capture rabbit tracks in the snow.

Today’s winter wonderland hiking adventure was 3 miles.

Lake Minnewashta Regional Park-Excelsior-Minnesota

The sun was warm and the air was cool as we began our hiking adventure at Lake Minnewashta Regional Park. The wide paved path was marked for winter hiking. The park also offered beautifully groomed ski trails.

Without any trail maps posted we found we had exited the park after the trail went under Highway 41. We walked along the highway until we saw a dog park across the way. A quick loop around the dog park allowed us to hike on the fresh covered snow trails.

After a detour of the dog park, we found our way back to the park and onto the winter hiking trail. A quick walk on the frozen Lake Minnewashta offered views of ice fishing houses, ski trails and our fresh footsteps.

Today’s winter hiking adventure was a little over 5 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.

Ritter Farm Park-Lakeville-Minnesota

With the temperature at -5 and it feeling like -16, we began our hiking adventure this morning at Ritter Farm Park. The wide trails were well marked throughout the park. We hiked the Mader Loop and Matterhorn Trail.

The winding trail led us through different types of tree groves.

We crossed over a walking bridge and decided to hike across Lake Marion. The sun shone brightly upon on us warming our faces.

On our hike back to the park we noticed our footprints were the only visible ones on the ice.

Two old silos still stood on the Ritter Farm property.

We finished our hike at 3.6 miles. A return trip during the summer months is a must!

Lake Johanna- Arden Hills-Minnesota

I went snowshoeing for the first time this past week. It took a little time getting used to wearing them, however, I definitely recommend giving snowshoes a try. My friend and I began our snowshoeing adventure at Johanna Marsh. We followed deer tracks all the way around the marsh.

A short distance from Johanna Marsh was Lake Johanna. The lake had cars and ice fishing houses scattered across the ice. Many people were out enjoying the day. Snowshoeing across the lake offered a beautiful view of the University of Northwestern.

University of Northwestern
University of Northwestern
Lake Johanna

We came upon a bridge and on the other side of the bridge an old chapel sat on top of the hill. Island Chapel was built in 1925. Its huge carved wooden door was locked.

Island Chapel

I enjoyed my snowshoeing adventure. My favorite part of wearing snowshoes was how well they gripped the ice when I walked. I might have to invest in my own pair.

Reservoir Woods-Roseville-Minnesota

Even though the temperature was 10 degrees, the wind chill took it to a -12 this morning. Gray clouds covered the sky as we started our hiking adventure this morning at Reservoir Woods. Without any maps posted of the Reservoir Woods Trail we quickly found ourselves hiking off the paved trail and into the woods.

Pine Trees
Pine Tree
Holiday decorated tree

The snow covered trail allowed us to walk under the mighty pine trees. We even found a holiday decorated tree. Once through the pine tree grove we began hiking again on the paved Reservoir Woods Trail until we reached Lake McCarrons.

Fox on Lake McCarrons
Fox on Lake McCarrons
Willow Tree
PEACE

We continued our hike across the frozen lake. A beautiful fox jetted out and ran past us until it reached the middle of the lake. The fox watched us as we continued our hike to the other side of the lake.

So many ducks
Trout Brook Regional Trail
Trout Brook Creek

The Trout Brook Regional Trail began once we reached the other side of the lake. The Trout Brook Creek was only partially frozen allowing ducks to gather by the dozens.

Reservoir Woods Trail

With our cheeks feeling like a thousand bee stings, we ended our hiking adventure at 5.9 miles.

Lebanon Hills Regional Park-Eagan-Minnesota

Today’s hiking adventure was at one of my favorite parks, Lebanon Hills. The trails wind around many different lakes and ponds allowing for diverse landscapes. With the sun shining on us as we hiked, it felt much warmer than 14 degrees.  

The best part of hiking in the morning is catching the sun rise up through the trees.

There is something almost magical about hiking across frozen lakes. Being able to stop in the middle of the lake offers such a different perspective. Today we were able to explore a small island on one of the lakes we visited.

We ended our adventure after hiking 5.5 miles. Pausing for a moment, we watched several swans swim around a small section of water on Lake Holland that wasn’t frozen due to the water being aerated.

The Landing-Three Rivers Park District-Shakopee-Minnesota

Today’s hiking adventure brought me back in time. The Landing offers visitors a glimpse of what a town might look like living in the 19th Century. With the temperature feeling like -6, I had the place to myself. The vacant town was quiet except for the wind blowing around the buildings and the snow crackling below my feet as I walked.

As I hiked out of the first town, I came across an old school house and farm equipment. Taking a glimpse at the inside of the school, I could see small chalk boards the students used to use on each desk. 

The next town I entered was much older than the previous town. The farm houses were from the mid 1800’s. The old wagon was very impressive to see.

Down the hill from the historic towns was a river trail. The trail followed alongside the almost frozen Minnesota River. Eagles soared above me as I hiked through the forest. Silence surrounded me. The wind began whipping across the river and through the trees. The fresh snowfall floated up making the air sparkle like glitter.

Memorial Park was just west of The Landing’s parking lot. As I hiked through the snow towards Memorial Park,  I came across two more old stone/brick old houses with a creek flowing behind them. The trail continued past the old houses to a walking bridge which offered beautiful views on both sides of the frozen snow covered waterway. 

As I looped back towards where I began this hiking adventure, I was humbled as I came upon Sacred Burial Mounds. After a moment of silence for those who came before me, I ended this hiking adventure.

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. 

Gallery

Pine Bend Bluffs Scientific and Natural Area-Inver Grove Heights-Minnesota

Today’s hiking adventure started at the Pine Bend Bluffs Trailhead in Inver Grove Heights. The temperature was in the lower teens and the wind was mild as we embarked on our hike. At times we could see the Mississippi River to our left as we walked south on the paved trail. Eagles soared above us. The recent snowfall made it hard to find the trails that led to the Pine Bend Bluffs Scientific and Natural Area. With a push from our intuition, we decided to follow a deer trail. Eventually we found signs confirming we were on a trail. As we made fresh footprints in the snow, the view of the mighty Mississippi appeared in the distance over the bluffs. The view was majestic. The frosty temps and our rosy cheeks hastened our decision to end our hiking adventure of a little over 7 miles for the day.