Sunday, May 22, 2016

Great hikes await near Marine on St. Croix

Lake Alice on Riverside Trail at William O'Brien State Park. 
Walks along the scenic St. Croix River, a historic river bridge, a lakeside beach, and more await day hikers in the Marine on St. Croix, Minn., area.

The tiny village sits north of Stillwater and at the William O’Brien State Park entrance. It’s the site of the first commercial sawmill on the St. Croix River, dating to 1839.

Among the many trails in the area are:
Arcola High Bridge Trail – An undesignated trail in the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway runs 1-mile round trip down a bluff to the a cedar grove and the St. Croix River just below the hundred-year-old railroad bridge. Park in the pullout along Arcola Trail about 3.5 miles east of Minn. Hwy. 95 south of town.
Big Marine Park Reserve Trail Hikers can enjoy a walk through a woodlands and on a long pier at Big Marine Park Reserve west of town. The unnamed trail in the fairly new Washington County park runs 0.75 miles round-trip.
Falls Creek Scientific and Natural Area Trail – The primitive nature trail runs through several diverse ecosystems atop a St. Croix River Bluff north of town in Chisago County. An access road off of Hwy. 95 directly across from Pilar Road North leads to a parking lot.
Jackson Meadows Trails – Several undesignated stacked loops run through a city-owned woods immediately east of Jackson Meadow. Pick up the trail at the parking lot on the west side of Jackson Trail near the Sandpiper Lane junction.
Old Guslander Trail – A 0.66-mile trail loops through a city-owned woods adjoining William O’Brien State Park. The trailhead runs north from Old Guslander Trail North just west of the Broadway Street junction west of town; park off the road at the trailhead.
Square Lake Park beachwalk – A beach stretches just under 0.25 miles along the eastern shores of a pretty lake at Square Lake Park south of town. Leave your vehicle in the Washington County park’s lot just off of County Road 7 south of the County Road 59 junction.
Riverside TrailHikers can learn about the power of floods on the St. Croix River via this trail at William O’Brien State Park north of town. The 1.5-mile trail loops through a floodplain and typically is open during summer and autumn when water levels have gone down. Park in the lot alongside Lake Alice. Many other trails, including those through a restored prairie, can be found at the state park.

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