Sunday, January 26, 2014

Great trails abound at Kinnickinnic S.P.

Kinnickinnic River Delta, from the Purple Trail. Photo courtesy Wis. DNR.
For residents of the eastern Twin Cities and west-central Wisconsin, Kinnickinnic State Park offers a convenient central location to escape back to nature for a day.

The park is located on the St. Croix and Kinnickinnic rivers, almost equidistant from River Falls, Hudson, and Prescott, Wis. The latter two communities offer bridge access into Minnesota.

Among the trails at the state park (going from east to west):
g Red Trail – The 1.6-mile hike heads through prairie alongside a forest’s edge. Among the highlights is the Vulture’s Peak area. Near the park entrance, the set of two loops can be accessed from the park’s first two parking lot.
g Blue Trail – The 0.7-mile out-and-back trail (1.4-miles round trip) gives hikers the opportunity to explore gorges and coulees into the Kinnickinnic River Valley. Access the wooded trail from the second parking area past the park entrance. Add the 0.1-mile (0.2-miles round trip) Brown Trail, which serves as a sledding hill in winter, to extend the hike.
g Yellow Trail – The 1.2-mile loop edges a forest and prairie area. Watch for deer, pheasants and turkeys along the trail. The Kinni Overlook Lot is a good place to start; the trail can be extended by adding the Green, Orange or Purple trails.
g Orange Trail – A wooded out-and-back trail atop the Kinnickinnic River bluffs, it runs for 0.5 miles (1-mile round trip). Park at the Kinni Overlook Lot and access it via the Yellow Trail; add the Purple and Yellow trails for a longer walk.
g Green Trail – The trail loops about the outside of a prairie area under restoration and is an excellent place to spot partridge, pheasants and other birds. Access it via the Yellow Trail; from the Kinnic Overlook Lot, go left/north on the Yellow for a 1.6-mile round trip (The Green Trail itself is 1.1-miles long).
g Purple Trail – The 1.2-mile loop (when combined with a segment of the Yellow Trail), offers great views of the Kinnickinnic River Delta and the St. Croix River, as well as access to a swimming beach along the St. Croix. Park in the St. Croix Picnic Area Lot.

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