Monday, April 29, 2013

Fun, eclectic trails await in Taylors Falls MN

Lily Pond Pothole, Minnesota Interstate State Park
The village of Taylors Falls, Minn., which boasts its state’s oldest public school, also offers some day hiking trails with as much range in personality as one might find among kids in a classroom. Trails in near the village are:
g Bryant Woods Park Reserve Trail – A lollipop trial runs about 0.8 miles through a mixed hardwoods forest at the local school district’s property off of Furuby Road northwest of town. Features include basalt rock outcroppings and wildlife sightings.
g Fraconia Sculpture Park walkways – While not a wilderness hike, the art center south of town on U.S. Hwy. 8 still offers plenty of sites to see, in this case, sculptures. Seventy-two to be exact. Walkways in three stacked rectangles wind through the modern art sculptures that will delight young children and inspire older ones.
g Lions Trail – A few short trails run through and connect North and South Lions Parks north of town on County Road 16 (aka Chisago Street). Alternately, walk the park’s 1.25 miles of shoreline along the St. Croix River.
g River Trail – Located in the Milltown Road section of Minnesota Interstate State Park, the trail runs 1.25 miles (2.5 miles round trip) along the St. Croix River. The route first passes a campground and then hugs the shoreline where Folsom Island sits in the river. Three overlooks are on the trail, which ends at the park’s northern side.
g Shadow Rock Lookout Trail – On the northside of Minnesota Interstate State Park, a set of short, interconnecting trails leads past deep potholes formed by swirling glacial floodwaters and The Squeeze, an exceedingly tight, L-shaped break between two ultra-large chunks of basalt. From there, climb to the Shadow Rock Lookout, which offers a great vista of the St. Croix River and gorge rock formations on the Wisconsin side.

Read more about day hiking Interstate State Park in my Hittin’ the Trail: Day Hiking Wisconsin and Minnesota Interstate State Parks guidebook.