Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Hike to waterfall, historic site near Stillwater

Sandstone formations along St. Croix Boom Site Trail.
Though known for its boutiques and restaurants, Stillwater, Minn., also offers a few good trails for day hikers to explore.

Among them are:
Brown’s Creek Nature Preserve Ski Trail – The Brown’s Creek Park and Nature Preserve Ski Trail offers among the best day hiking option in the Stillwater area. It gives you a good sense of what a blufftop woodlands area is like. A parking lot is off of County Road 64/McKusick Road North past Maryland Avenue North. The Browns Creek State Trail, of which the ski trail is a segment of, also can be picked up on the north side of downtown next to the former depot.
Fairy Falls Trail – A little-known four-story waterfall is located north of town. For years, the short quarter-mile round trip was located on private land but is now operated by National Park Service as part of a 55-acre addition to the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The Fairy Falls Day Use Area is open 8 a.m.–8 p.m. daily with the trailhead at the intersection of Fairy Falls Road North and Orwell Avenue.
Gateway State Trail – The eastern terminus of the trail begins at Pine Point Regional Park north of Stillwater. A good segment to take is the 4.2 miles from the park to just north of Duluth Junction. Along the way, the trail crosses a creek and boasts two picnic areas. Much of this segment passes farm fields. A fee is charged to enter the park.
St. Croix Boom Site Trail – Families can day hike a historical remnant from the St. Croix River’s lumber baron days north of town at a wayside off of Minn. Hwy. 95. The trail runs a mere 0.4-miles round trip but makes for a scenic diversion. A century-and-a-half-ago ago, the site was a bustling center of activity a where men pulled logs from the St. Croix River and sent them on their way to sawmills.

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