Saturday, October 19, 2013

Trails abound at Moose Lake State Park

Echo Lake Trail west segment. Photo courtesy
of Minnesota DNR.
Moose Lake State Park offers a number of great short hiking trails for Minneapolis-St. Paul residents looking to get back to nature for the day.

Located about 45 minutes south of Duluth along Interstate 35, the park boasts five fairly easy trails through mixed Northern hardwood and pine forests. Some go alongside crystal blue lakes and ponds, and Lake Superior Agates can be found aplenty in the park.

To reach the park, from I-35 in Carlton County, take Exit 214, following County Road 137 east into the park; turn right/south to the park office.

The park’s trails include:
g Echo Lake Trail east segment – A total of 1.5 miles, the trail hugs the northeast shoreline of Echo Lake. Past the visitor center, turn right/west to a pair of parking lots; the trailhead is at the south side of the eastern lot. Veer left/east at the first trail junction.
g Echo Lake Trail west segment – About a mile long, the trial follows Echo lake’s northwest shoreline. Park in the same lot as for the Echo Lake Trail east segment; veer right/west at the first trail junction, however.
g Rolling Hills Trail – At 1.7 miles round trip, the looping trail passes two ponds. Park in the lot across from the visitor center, taking the trail heading east from the lot. Turn north at the first trail going left/north (Warning: the trail crosses Hwy. 137). At the next junction the stem to the loop begins; go right/northeast, past the dam. Upon reaching the next junction, head left/north. On the north end of Wildlife Pond at the shelter, go right/northeast. Ignore next two trail junctions.
g Tall Pine Trail – The 1-mile lollipop trail starts at the parking lot across from park office. Take the trail heading east from the lot; the stem trail briefly joins with the Echo Lake Trail east segment.
g Wildlife Pond Trail – The 1.2-mile trail loops around Wildlife Pond. Start at the parking lot across from park office by taking the trail heading east from lot. Turn north at first trail going left/north (Warning: This crosses Hwy. 137). At the next junction, the loop begins. Go clockwise, always keeping the pond to your right when coming to other trail junctions. Watch the skies for bald eagles that have nested near the pond.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.