July 12th Hike Canceled But 2 New Hikes Added!

Oops, we did it again. Our July 12th Hidden Falls Hike is the victim of a couple flooded spots so it’s Canceled. Just call us optimists and water lovers, I guess. But, we have 2 more new hikes later in July to make it up to you: Boom Island in Minneapolis and Dodge Nature Center in West St. Paul. Read on for the particulars.

July 19, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Boom Island Hike (Minneapolis) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson

Let’s take an urban walk on the wild side around the environs of Minneapolis’ Boom Island Park.
park in spring

Boom Island was the center of commercial activity in the “Upper Town” portion of St. Anthony. In 1849, Franklin Steele completed the original plat of St. Anthony, which eventually merged into Minneapolis. 

The hike route includes Nicollet Island and the James J. Hill bridge over the falls of St. Anthony. It also passes by the outlet of Bassett Creek, Minneapolis’ best known subterranean stream.

Directions: From downtown Minneapolis, take Washington Avenue north & turn right onto Plymouth Avenue. Go across the river on the Plymouth Avenue Bridge to Boom Island Park. Park in the Boom Island Park parking lot (a Minneapolis Park Board pay parking lot) or park without charge on the streets by the park such as Sibley Street NE or Ramsey Street NE. Meet in the Boom Island Parking lot.


July 26, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Dodge Nature Center Hike (West St. Paul) – Hike Leader: Linda Quammen

Dodge Natr Ctr BarnCome explore the Nature Center’s trails through woodlands, wetlands and prairies with us. In addition, there’s a farm with animals, garden fields, apiary, orchard and even raptors used in educational programs.

Founded in 1967 by Olivia Irvine Dodge, Dodge Nature Center emphasizes environmental education for people of all ages, offering a great variety of nature-themed programs.

Directions: From Hwy. 110 in Mendota Heights continue east & turn left (north) onto Delaware Ave. Turn right (east) onto Marie Ave., past an entrance sign for Dodge Nature Center, to Charlton St. Turn left (north) onto Charlton, past Dodge Preschool on the left, & turn into the next driveway entrance on the left: Dodge Nature Center Farm (1701 Charlton St.). Turn in and park in the lot, where we will meet.

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Yankee Doodle Dandy Hikes for July

Two dandy hikes are on tap to start out July. The first is a great way to walk off all that 4th of July food you consumed. The second, well, it’s just a great hike, and it’ll help you walk off the food you consumed on July 11th!

July 2018 Hikes

July 5, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Swede Hollow Hike (St. Paul) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson

Come along with us through historic “Swede Hollow” in St. Paul along the southern portion of the Bruce Vento Regional Trail and into the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary.

Swede Hollow is the ravine in St. Paul that once carried Phalen Creek to the Mississippi River. (Phalen Creek was diverted into the Belt Line Tunnel in the 1920s.)

Early Swedish immigrant settlers named the valley “Svenska Dalen” or “Swede Hollow.” Swede Hollow Directional SignsSubsequent Polish, Italian, and Hispanic immigrants moved into the squatter homes built along the sides of the ravine. In 1956, St. Paul Health Department officials “discovered” that Swede Hollow had no sewer or city water service. They declared it a health hazard, ordered the last 14 families to move out then destroyed the homes.

Directions: From the West, go east on I-94 to downtown St. Paul’s East 7th Street Exit. After exiting, follow Wall Street a couple of blocks to East Seventh Street & go east (left.) Continue on East Seventh Street about nine blocks, past the Highway 52 bridge turnoff, to the trailhead, just past the intersection with Payne Avenue.

From the East, take I-94 to the Mounds Boulevard exit. Continue on Mounds Boulevard to East Seventh Street & turn west (left.) Continue down the hill along East Seventh Street, a long city block to the trailhead. A small parking lot & the trailhead are on the south side of the street.

Meet in the trailhead parking lot. Additional parking is available on the street on Payne Avenue.


CANCELED Due To HIGH WATER  July 12, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Hidden Falls Hike (St. Paul) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson

Join the group for a hike south along the Mississippi River from Hidden Falls in the Highland Park section of St. Paul. A secluded area of the park features a small spring-fed waterfall over a rock ledge.

butterflyweed in bloomDirections: From I-94, on the western edge of St. Paul, take the Cretin/Vandalia exit. Go south about 1.5 miles on Cretin Ave. to Randolph Ave. & turn west (right). Proceed on Randolph a few blocks to Mississippi River Boulevard. Go south (left) on Mississippi River Boulevard, just past the Ford plant, to the park entrance, Hidden Falls Drive, just north of where Magoffin Avenue connects with the parkway. This is the north gate to the park. Take Hidden Falls Drive down the hill to the parking lot and meet by the picnic shelter, near the northeast corner of the parking lot.

New Central Park Hike in Roseville

Wondering what to do next week to enjoy the outdoors? We’ve added a hike just for you, so join us!

June 21, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Central Park Hike (Roseville) – Hike Leader: Tom Ellerbe

Come hike with us in Roseville’s largest park, beautiful Central Park.

Roseville was settled by farmers in the 1840s. Roseville, Falcon Heights, Lauderdale, and part of St. Paul originally were part of Rose Township. How did it come to be called Rose Township? trail in lush green woodsThe township was named after Isaac Rose, who led the land survey the federal government ordered in 1850.

Directions: From Highway 36  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.

June Is Busting Out All Over

June is a wonderful month for hiking. To entice you into flexing those leg muscles this month we have hikes in scenic city, state and regional parks. And the scenery includes a lot of water–a “river runs through it” or around it or falls down it on these trails. Join us and (figuratively, please) drink it all in!

June 2018 Hikes

June 7, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Rice Creek Regional Park Hike (Fridley) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson

Let’s hike along Rice Creek in Fridley.

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.

Rapids on CreekDirections: From I-694, take University Avenue exit and proceed north on University Avenue approximately 1.75 miles. Turn east on 69th Avenue exit but instead of taking a second right to 69th Avenue, continue straight on University Service Road. From University Service Road turn right (east) onto 71st Avenue. Follow 71st Avenue to end: a parking lot for Locke Park (840 71st Ave NE, Fridley MN). Meet in parking lot.


June 14, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Minnehaha Park Hike (Minneapolis) – Hike Leader: Linda Quammen

Our hike through Minnehaha Park will begin on the scenic upper trail to pass the Longfellow House, Minnehaha Depot, historic John Stevens house and Minnehaha statue, then descend the trail to view the famous falls at several levels. Minnehaha Falls 2nd BridgeWe continue along both sides of Minnehaha Creek, crossing bridges several times while we travel down to the Mississippi River and back.

Minnehaha Park’s 193 acres of natural bounty includes 53-foot Minnehaha Falls, limestone bluffs with creek and river overlooks, beautiful spring wildflowers and a variety of floodplain and upland deciduous trees such as oak, elm, silver maple, basswood, hackberry and cottonwood.

Directions:  From Hiawatha Avenue/MN Highway 55, south of downtown Minneapolis, proceed to 46th Street, turn east & just 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 & park near Pet Supplies Plus. From there the group will hike a block south to the park.


June 28, 2018: 7-8:30 pm: Pike Island Hike (Minneapolis) – Hike Leader: Chris Olson

Join us 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. There in 1805, he made a treaty with the Dakota to purchase the land on which Fort St. Anthony, later named Fort Snelling, was built in the years 1820-24. The 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.”

Forest trailDirections: From the West: Take Hwy 62/Crosstown Highway east to Highway 55, go south on Hwy 55 towards Mendota Bridge. Take “Fort Snelling Historic Sites” exit (between VA hospital & Mendota bridge). Follow signs to Fort Snelling Historic Sites & park in Fort Snelling Interpretive Center parking lot. Meet by river overlook near interpretive center.  From the East: Head west across Fort Road/West Seventh Street/Highway 5 bridge from St. Paul’s Highland Park area & take Highway 55 exit north. Take “Fort Snelling Historic Sites” exit. Follow signs to Fort Snelling Historic Sites & park in Fort Snelling Interpretive Center parking lot. Meet by river overlook near interpretive center.

Note: Fort Snelling Historic Site’s entrance is different from Fort Snelling State Park’s entrance off the Post Road exit from Highway 5, just west of the main terminal exit to the airport.

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May 13 Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden Hike UPDATE

The snow is gone so it must be road construction season!

I’ve learned that Hwy. I-394 will be closed from downtown Minneapolis to Hwy. 100 this weekend. So, if you’re coming to the hike on Sunday don’t try to use 1-94 to westbound I-394. road construction with worker

Revised Directions: Hwy 100 north or south to Glenwood Ave. Continue on Glenwood Ave. past Theodore Wirth Parkway then turn left into the Wirth Beach parking lot. We will meet at the Wirth Beach House and walk the path to the wildflower garden’s back gate. GPS: 44.979334, -93.323147

Sunday, May 13th, Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden Hike

Calling mothers and all others–join us for a floriferous Mothers Day hike Sunday afternoon. Yes, Sunday, not Thursday, because why not? And because it’s not nice to miss Nature putting on its annual spring show, is it?

May 13, 2018: SUNDAY, 3-5 pm: Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden Hike (Minneapolis) – Hike Leader: Linda Quammen 

Spring ephemeral wildflowers are blooming now–trilliums, trout lilies, Virginia bluebells and much more. Let’s explore the oldest public wildflower garden in America this Sunday and enjoy them before they’re gone. (Note: We will stop numerous times on this hike to see/smell the flowers. So, definitely more smiles than miles.) Nodding trillium

Directions: NOTE: Westbound I-394 from downtown Minneapolis to Hwy 100 WILL BE CLOSED Fri.-Sun., May 11-13 so use ALTERNATE ROUTES, such as Hwy 100 north or south to Glenwood Ave. Continue on Glenwood Ave. past Theodore Wirth Parkway then turn left into the Wirth Beach parking lot. We will meet at the Wirth Beach House and walk the path to the wildflower garden’s back gate.