Happy 2018!

Well, hurrah but burrrr. The new year has started on a very cold note around here & elsewhere.snow lake

But, as others have said, “There is no bad weather, just bad clothing.” So, if you’re sitting inside waiting out the frigid temps consider springing for a super-warm new hat, boots or mitts. (Always keep the extremities warm!) Then, put a smile on your face & head out into our wonderland of white–especially on those crystal blue, sun-shiny days & silent moon & snow lit nights.

Keep Safe!
Keep Warm!
Keep Hiking!


October 2017 Hikes

October 5, 2017: 
Battle Creek Regional Park Hike (St. Paul) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson

Join us for a hike among the Sandstone cliffs and steep slopes of St. Paul’s jewel, Battle Creek Park.

BattleCreekbridgeBattle Creek was named for the battle of Kaposia in 1842, between the Ojibwe and Dakota. It flows into Pig’s Eye Lake from the high land east of the river valley. Another great ravine there, having numerous tall white pines, is named Pine Cooley, from the French word “coule,” meaning “a ravine or run.” The approach of the Ojibwe for the attack and their retreat was by way of the ravines of Battle Creek and Pine Cooley.

Directions: Take I-94 to the east of St. Paul, and take the McKnight exit south to North Park Drive. Turn west (right) on North Park Drive and park on the street. The group will meet near the intersection of McKnight and North Park Drive.

October 12, 2017: Centennial Lakes Park Hike (Edina) – Hike Leader: Linda Quammen  

Join the group for a hike at Edina’s Centennial Lakes Park.

Centennial Lake has 10-acres of crappies, sunnies, bullhead and northern pike ready for fisherfolk to catch. Centennial LakeThe 24-acre park’s paved trails outline the lake, passing by a variety of delightful spaces. There is a park pavilion, an amphitheater, boating concession, maze, putting green, swings and many other types of seating throughout the different sunny or shady areas. Myriad shops and restaurants are just a few steps away from the paths, as well.

Directions: From Interstate 494 in Bloomington, exit onto France Ave. Go north on France Ave. and turn right onto Parklawn Ave. Take the first left into the parking lot. You will see “West Elm” on the building at the north end of the lot. Park near that end (but don’t park against that wall as it is restricted) and we’ll walk down into the park together.

October 19, 2017: Cedar Lake Hike (Minneapolis) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson      

Join the group for an urban hike from Bryn Mawr Park under Highway 394 and along the trails of lovely Cedar Lake. The lake, about 170 acres and over 50 feet deep, is wrapped in greenery and offers iconic views of downtown. Cedar Lake

Directions: Take I-394 to the Penn Avenue exit and go north on Penn Avenue about 100 feet to immediate first right turn, 8th Avenue SE. Turn right and park on the street as soon as you can see Bryn Mawr Park. (If you miss the first turn, the second right turn, on Mount View Avenue, also works, with a right turn on Oliver Avenue South to come back to the park.) Meet by the first ball field in Bryn Mawr Park.

October 26, 2017:  Crosby Lake Regional Park Hike(St. Paul) – Hike Leader: Tom Ellerbe

Join us for a hike through the extensive prairie habitat and floodplain forest of the Crosby Lake Regional Park.

Crosby Farm Regional Park, at 736 acres, preserves a natural floodplain area of the Mississippi River and steep slopes of oak forest. During seasonal floods of the river, fish and other aquatic animals gain access to Upper Crosby Lake, Lower Crosby Lake, and all the ponds scattered throughout. Several regional trails connect to it, including the Big Rivers Regional Trail in Dakota County; the Samuel H. Morgan Trail; and the Mississippi Gorge Trail. forest path in fall

Directions: Crosby Regional Park is just east, across the Mississippi River, from historic Fort Snelling and the Airport. From the Fort Snelling area, go east over the Highway 5/West Seventh St/Fort Road bridge over the Mississippi River. Immediately across the bridge, take the Shepard Road/Edgecumb Road exit. Follow the signs to Shepard Road and at the intersection with Shepard Road, turn east (left).

The entrance to the Crosby Farm Regional Park is a few hundred feet further, on the south (right) side of Shepard Road. Follow the park road east down the bluff, past the Watergate Marina area, to the first parking lot in the park, by the park picnic shelter. If that first parking lot is full, continue 1/8th of a mile east past the picnic shelter to the next parking lot. We will meet in the parking lot by the picnic shelter.

September 2017 Hikes

September 7, 2017: Wood Lake Park Hike (Richfield) – Hike Leader: Tom Ellerbe

Join us for a hike around the varied environs of the Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield.

WoodLakeNatureCenterWood Lake is a lake that has turned into a freshwater marsh over recent decades. The Wood Lake Nature Center is a 150-acre park with walking trails that include a 600-foot long floating boardwalk through the marsh. More than 200 different kinds of birds and 30 different kinds of mammals have been sighted in the park.

Directions: Take County Highway 62, exit on Lyndale Avenue, and go south on Lyndale Avenue to Lake Shore Drive, which is the first left turn after the intersection with West 66th Street. Turn West (left) on Lake Shore Drive and proceed about 400 feet to the Nature Center (at 735 West Lake Shore Drive) on the south side of the road. Meet in the parking lot by the main entrance to the Nature Center.

September 14, 2017: Northern Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary Hike (Maplewood) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson


Join the hiking group for a hike in St. Paul’s Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary. The Nature Sanctuary was opened in 2005 with the help of many stakeholders, including the DNR and National Park Service. Once a barren, ecologically damaged site, ongoing cleanup and restoration are bringing back prairie, oak savanna and floodplain forest ecosystems.

The park’s namesake, Congressman Bruce Vento (1940-2000), was a 12-term Democrat from St. Paul who championed environmental and homeless causes, including efforts to ban oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, preserve tropical rain forests, and make it easier for the Hmong who fought with the U.S. in the Vietnam War to become U.S. citizens.

Directions: Take I-94 to I-35E in downtown St. Paul and proceed north on I-35E to the Larpenteur Avenue/Wheelock Parkway exit. Proceed on the frontage road to Larpenteur Avenue, the second street connected to the exit off ramp, and turn east (right) on Larpenteur Avenue. Continue on Larpenteur Avenue to Parkway Drive (the third stop light after leaving the freeway) and then go northeast (left turn) on Parkway Drive. Parkway Drive becomes Frost Avenue after crossing Arcade Street/Highway 61 in Maplewood.

Park at the Flicek Park parking lot, 1141 Frost Avenue, which is about 7/8ths of a mile from the junction of Highway 61 and Parkway Drive/Frost Avenue. Flicek Park is primarily a set of baseball fields with a parking lot and is located on the north side of Frost Avenue, just across from a pontoon boat sales room and a dog grooming facility.

September 21, 2017: Minnehaha Park Hike  (Minneapolis) – Hike Leader: Linda Quammen 

Join us for a hike through Minnehaha Park, past the famous falls, and on the scenic trails along Minnehaha Creek and above the Mississippi River. Minnehaha Falls 2nd Bridge

Minnehaha Park is 193 acres in area, with a 53-foot waterfall and limestone bluffs with river overlooks. Oak, elm, silver maple, basswood, hackberry and cottonwood trees dot the landscape as well as native shrubs and wildflowers.

Directions: From Hiawatha Avenue/MN Highway 55, south of downtown Minneapolis, proceed to 46th Street and turn east and immediately past the Holiday Gas Station, turn south onto the strip mall access road. Continue along the strip mall access road to the south end of the mall. The group will meet just south of Pet Supplies Plus. The trail to Minnehaha Park is about ½ block south.

September 28, 2017: Rice Marsh Lake Hike (Eden Prairie/Chanhassen) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson

Join the group for a hike along Rice Marsh Lake to Lake Susan, in western Eden Prairie / eastern Chanhassen. Rice Marsh Lake and Lake Susan are shallow lakes, each about 80-90 acres, and part of the Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek Rice Marsh LakeWatershed District.

Directions: Go west on I-494 to Highway 5.  Continue west on Highway 5 to Dell Road, about 8/10ths of a mile west of Eden Prairie Road.  Go south on Dell Road about 6/10ths of a mile to Rice March Lake Park, just south of the intersection with Erin Bay/Cascade Drive.  Meet in the parking lot.

August 2017 Hikes

August 3, 2017: Sibley House Hike (Mendota) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson

Join the group for a hike along the Mississippi River–west from the Henry H. Sibley House Historic Site in historic Mendota, northern Dakota County.

Sibley House in Mendota MNHenry Hastings Sibley (1811-1891) was one of the most prominent names in early Minnesota history. He was a fur merchant at Mendota, the first governor of the State, and one of the original Regents of the University of Minnesota. His house was the office for his fur trading business, while its location, Mendota, was once considered for the capital of the State. After years of neglect, the house was purchased by the Daughters of the American Revolution, restored by them, and operated as a tourist site for almost 50 years. The site is currently managed by the Minnesota Historical Society.

Sibley House historical information

Directions: Meet at the Mendota Trail parking lot ¼ mile west of the Sibley House historic site in Mendota. Go south across the Mendota Bridge, then go east on Highway 110 to the North Highway 13 exit and go north on Highway 13 to Mendota. The bike trail parking lot where we will meet is midway between St. Peter’s Catholic Church (to the west, with a tall steeple on the top of the hill) and the Sibley House historic site (east, towards the bottom of the hill, in the middle of “downtown” Mendota.)

August 10, 2017: Thomas Lake Park Hike (Eagan) – Hike Leader: Linda Quammen

Join the group for a hike around scenic Thomas Lake Park and along the High Line Walking Trail in Eagan.Thomas Lake Park in summer

Thomas Lake Park’s paved trails loop around ponds, prairies, woodlands and Thomas Lake itself. The prairie’s 19 acres contain both native remnant and restored prairie that is actively managed to bring the land back to its original prairie quality. Over 80 species of prairie forbs (wildflowers,) 17 species of prairie grasses, and 12 species of trees can be found in the park.

Directions: Take I-35E south to Pilot Knob Road exit. At Pilot Knob Road turn south (right) then continue just past the intersection with Wilderness Run Road. Thomas Lake Park entrance is on the right side. Meet in the parking lot.

August 17, 2017: Lake Harriet Hike (Minneapolis) – Hike Leader: Tom Ellerbe

Join the group for a hike around scenic Lake Harriet in west Minneapolis.

Lake Harriet Park, MinneapolisLake Harriet was named for the wife of Col. Leavenworth, Harriet Lovejoy Leavenworth, who was married in the winter of 1813-14. Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and a city and county there were named in Col. Leavenworth’s honor.

Directions: Take I-35W South out of downtown Minneapolis to the West 46th Street exit. Proceed west (right) on West 46th Street ten blocks to Lyndale Avenue and turn south (left) and go four blocks to West 50th Street. Proceed west eight blocks on West 50th Street to the Lynnhurst Park parking lot, just north of the Lynnhurst Recreation Center, and just west of where Minnehaha Parkway, Humboldt Avenue South, and West 50th Street come together.

August 24, 2017: South St. Paul Riverfront Hike (South St . Paul) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson

Join the group for a hike on a “rails-to-trails” trail along the Mississippi River in South St. Paul.

South St. Paul was once home to the largest stockyards in the world. Four major brands had meatpacking plants here, including Swift & Company and Armour & Company. World War II brought peak years to the industry when the plants had government contracts to supply military needs. Related imageBy the l970’s, the market had decentralized and the sprawling plants became obsolete. The last to close was Armour in 1979.

Directions: From I-94 towards the east end of downtown St. Paul, take the Highway 52 (old Highway 3) Lafayette Freeway exit south and cross the Mississippi River to the south side of the Mississippi River. Take the Concord Street/Highway 56 exit and proceed south on Concord Street/Highway 56 to the north end of South St. Paul. The trailhead is located about 100 yards south of the intersection with Butler Avenue, on the west side (right) of Concord Street, underneath the pedestrian bridge spanning Concord Avenue and the adjoining rail yard.

August 31, 2017: Luce Line Trail Hike (Plymouth) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson

Join the group for a hike along the Luce Line Trail, a “rails to trails” trail developed and maintained by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, in Plymouth.

Luce Line Trail stretches 63 miles from the western metro suburb of Plymouth to the small town of Cosmos in west-central Minnesota. It was originally built as the Electric Short Line Railway from downtown Minneapolis to west central Minnesota by Colonel William Luce. The original intent of the line was to capture the farm to market traffic Luce Line Trailoriginating in central Minnesota and to provide transportation for people to downtown Minneapolis via electrically propelled trains. Passenger service on the railroad ended in 1947. The track was officially abandoned by the railroad in 1972 and was taken over by the State for a recreational trail in 1976.

Directions: The parking lot for the trail is located in Plymouth, off of 10th Ave. No. and Vicksburg Lane. Take I-494 to the Carlson Pkwy. Exit and go west on Carlson Pkwy. briefly, then turn right on Gleason Lake Rd. Continue on Gleason for a little more than a mile, and turn right on Vicksburg Lane. Continue on Vicksburg about ¾ mile. The entrance to the Luce Line is on the left, at 10th Ave. At the Cimarron Ponds housing development, turn as if to go into the development, then veer to the left to the parking lot.

July 2017 Hikes

July 6, 2017: Pike Island Hike (St . Paul) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson

Join the group for a hike around Pike Island, at the conjunction of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, in historic Fort Snelling State Park. Pike Island is named for Lieutenant (later General) Zebulon M. Pike, who in 1805 made a treaty with the Dakota to purchase the tract on which Fort St. Anthony, later named Fort Snelling, was built in the years 1820-24.

Forest trailThe Dakota word “B’dote” means confluence and is the name for this place. It has the additional meaning as the place of creation or beginning of the Dakota people and for the world and life itself. Transliterated, “B’dote” became the name “Mendota” for the nearby town, the bridge, and the city.


Directions: From the west: Take Hwy 62/Crosstown Highway east to Highway 55, then proceed south on Hwy 55 towards the Mendota Bridge. Take the “Fort Snelling Historic Sites” exit (between the VA hospital and the Mendota bridge). Follow the signs to the Fort Snelling Historic Sites and park in the Fort Snelling Interpretive Center parking lot. Meet near the river overlook near the interpretive center.

From the east: Head west across the Fort Road/West Seventh Street/Highway 5 bridge from St. Paul’s Highland Park area and take the Highway 55 exit north. Take the “Fort Snelling Historic Sites” exit. Follow the signs to the Fort Snelling Historic Sites and park in the Fort Snelling Interpretive Center parking lot. Meet near the river overlook near the interpretive center. Note: The Fort Snelling Historic Site is different from the Fort Snelling State Park entrance which is off the Post Road exit from Highway 5, just west of the main terminal exit to the airport.

July 13, 2017: Central Park Hike (Roseville) – Hike Leader: Tom Ellerbe

Join the group for a hike around the varied lakes, woodlands, and wetlands of Central Park, the largest park in Roseville.

along the trailRoseville, Falcon Heights, Lauderdale, and part of St. Paul originally were Rose Township. Roseville was settled by farmers in the 1840s. The population of the township in 1860 was 499, and by 1880, it had risen to 877. Early immigrants to the area moved from the eastern United States, Germany, Prussia, Ireland, Canada, and Norway.

Directions: From State Highway 36 (which is an east/west highway located due north of the St. Paul Midway district), take Lexington Avenue north approximately 1/4 mile to County Road B2. Turn east (right) on County Road B2 and proceed east ½ mile to Victoria Street. Turn north (left) on Victoria Street and proceed ¼ mile to the park. There will be ball fields to the east (right) and a large parking lot to the west (left). We will meet in the large parking lot to the west.

July 20, 2017: Rice Creek Regional Park Hike (Fridley) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson

Join the hiking group for a hike along Rice Creek in Fridley.

trail bridge

Rice Creek flows through a series of lakes and marshes in southern Anoka and northern Ramsey counties, eventually joining the Mississippi near Fridley. Its drainage basin is in the southern portion of the Anoka Sand Plain, which was formed after the last glacier retreated from the region about 12,000 years ago.

Indians occupied Rice Creek throughout the last 12,000 years, but population increased dramatically during the Middle Woodland period (2,600 to 1,100 years ago). Henry Mower Rice (1816-1894), for whom Rice Creek was named, settled in Manomin, as the area was initially named, in 1849,  In 1851, Abram McCormick Fridley (1817-1888), the person for whom Fridley was eventually named, settled in Manomin.

Directions: The parking lot we have historically used for this hike (Rice Creek Regional Park) is currently all dug up and behind a locked fence. The directions to the new parking lot are as follows:

From I-694, take the University Avenue exit and proceed north on University Avenue approximately 1.75 miles. Turn east on the 69th Avenue exit (but instead of taking a second right to 69th Avenue), continue straight on University Service Road. Take University Service Road to 71st Avenue and take a right (east). Follow 71st Avenue to its end which is a parking lot for Locke Park. We will meet in the parking lot.

July 27, 2017: Lebanon Hills Regional Park Hike (Eagan) – Hike Leader: Linda Quammen

Join us for a hike in Lebanon Hills Regional Park’s glacial moraine landscape containing almost 2,000 acres of woodlands, prairies, lakes, and ponds. We’ll be hiking much of the Voyagers Trail, including the newly completed bridge over Bridge Pond. (R.I.P. Crooked Bridge!) 

Lake JensenThe largest park in Dakota County, Lebanon Hills Regional Park is approximately 40% grassland. The remainder is wetlands and forests dominated by red oak. Flora and fauna are plentiful, including blazing star, pileated woodpeckers, swamp candles and white-tailed deer.

In the 1920’s, during Prohibition, this secluded area was exploited by bootleggers.With the passage of the 1974 Metropolitan Parks Act, the current regional park was formed and 99.5% of the land within the park boundaries was acquired.

Directions: Take I-35E south to the Cliff Road exit and go east on Cliff Road 3.6 miles to the Lebanon Hills Regional Park Visitor Center entrance, which will be on the right. Follow the road to the Visitor Center and meet in the parking lot close to the Visitor Center.

May 2017 Hikes

May 4, 2017: Arden Hills/Twin City Arsenal Hike (St. Paul) – Hike Leader:  Chris Olson

Join the group for a hike in Arden Hills on a portion of the North Rice Creek Trail through a 113-acre portion of the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant/Arsenal area. The Rice Creek North Regional Trail is a pedestrian and bicycle trail running southwesterly along Rice Creek from Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Park Reserve in Anoka County to Long Lake Regional Park in Ramsey County. Continue reading

April 2017 Hikes

April 6, 2017: Summit Avenue East End Hike (St. Paul) – Hike Leader:  Tom Ellerbe

Join the group for a hike along Summit Avenue, one of the best preserved upper-class Victorian promenade boulevards in America.

Summit Avenue is a monumental boulevard of houses, churches, synagogues, and schools that stretches four-and-one-half miles, from the St. Paul Cathedral to the Mississippi River. Once the abode of St. Paul’s rich and famous, in the 1850’s they began ascending Summit Hill and erecting splendid homes as monuments to their success. Of the structures built–an assortment of Queen Ann, Romanesque, Beaux Arts, Georgian Revival, and Italian Villa styles–85 percent remain intact. The architecture of Summit Avenue does not lack critics, however. Frank Lloyd Wright, for instance, assailed it for being “the worst collection of architecture in the world.” Portland Avenue, paralleling Summit Avenue, also reflects upper class and upper middle-class housing built from the 1880’s through World War I. Continue reading