Thursday, September 19, 2013

Great birds, lakes await at St. Croix forest

Ospreys can be spotted along the Tamarack River
in Minnesota's St. Croix State Forest.
Day hikers will find a number of great trails in Minnesota’s St. Croix State Forest, a 42,105-acre spread along the Tamarack and St. Croix rivers.

Among the highlights:
g Gandy Dancer State Trail segment – Starting in Danbury along Wis. Hwy. 77, walk across an old railroad bridge over the St. Croix River in the state forest on this 2-mile round trip trail. Watch for bald eagles, osprey, northern harriers, hawks, and in autumn migrating sandhill cranes.
g Lower Tamarack River Trail – From County Road 173, take the Tamarack Forest Trail to the parking lot for the hiking trailhead. Walk south, paralleling the Lower Tamarack River; at the second trail junction, turn back for a roughly 4-mile round trip.
g Matthew Lourey State Trail, Churchill Lake segment – The Matthew Lourey State Trail runs north to south through the park. Consider parking at the trailhead along County Road 173, head north past Churchill Lake for a 3-mile round trip. The trail north of the lake enters wetlands.
g Matthew Lourey State Trail, County Road 173 to Campground segment – From the same parking lot along County Road 173, take the trail southwest through wetlands to the campground for 2-mile round trip.

Read more about day hiking the scenic riverway in my guidebook Hittin’ the Trail: Day Hiking the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.