Monday, September 22, 2014

Multitude of trails run across Hinckley area

Confluence of Kettle and St. Croix rivers from Two
Rivers Trail. Photo courtesy of Minnesota DNR.
A fire tower, the confluence of two major rivers, and a popular multi-county path await day hikers in the Hinckley, Minn., area.

Located between the Minneapolis-St. Paul and Duluth-Superior metro areas, Hinckley easily can be reached via Interstate 35. St. Croix State Park is located southeast of town.

Five great trails to hike in the Hinckley area include:
g Kettle River Highbanks to Observation Tower Route Day hikers can climb to the top of a 100-foot fire tower at St. Croix State Park. An amazing 127-plus miles of hiking trails cross the state park’s 34,000 acres; a combination of three of them (here dubbed the Kettle River Highbanks to Observation Tower Route) marks a great 3.6-mile (7-miles round trip) route for physically fit families with a lot of energy.
g Matthew Lourey State Trail – This trail runs for several miles roughly north to south through St. Croix State Park. A pleasant 2.3-mile segment heads from a trail center to Hay Creek.
g Park Headquarters to Lake Clayton Route – From the St. Croix State Park headquarters, head west for 2.5 miles for Lake Clayton Beach. Have one of the adults in the group pick you up after a day of swimming.
g Two Rivers Trail – The 2.5-mile loop at St. Croix State Park follows the Kettle River, overlooks the confluence of the Kettle with the St. Croix River, then runs north along the latter. Each autumn, the St. Croix’s mixed floodplain forest is regal with fall colors.
g Willard Munger State Trail – The southern terminus of the trail begins at a gravel parking lot along Second Street NW (County Road 18) between Old Hwy. 61 North and Root Avenue North. The trail passes the Grindstone Reservoir and dam with a bridge over the Grindstone River.

Read more about day hiking Northeast Minnesota in my Headin’ to the Cabin: Day Hiking Trails of Northeast Minnesota guidebook.