April is the best month for those who are hoping that the snow flurries the cease in Minnesota. Well, this thing is just the beginning for the local people to start their activities from indoors to outdoors and explore the parks and trails. With the snowmelt and flowing waterfalls at the higher rate compared to other seasons, it is wonderful to explore and photograph the falls for 1 hour of driving or less from Minneapolis. In addition, there are some state parks near the area that provide the hiking trails with various environments to explore such as prairies, forests, wetlands, and rivers. The proximity of the parks to Minneapolis is quite close so why don’t you get out after work or enjoy the weekend adventure?
Here are the best five places to hike in spring for your weekend plan, especially if you are near Minneapolis.
1. Trip To Minnehaha Falls
It only takes a few minutes from the downtown area to reach the falls. The falls are a quick and easy place to visit especially if you just after work and plan to head to the Minnehaha Falls. Checking the waterfall is great especially if you don’t mind to head down to explore the cave located behind the falls. If you want to do more activities, the place is not only great for hiking, but also for snowshoeing and running.
For all snowshoers and hikers, it is good to take to the stairs down and it will lead you to the base of the falls. There, you can find a trail that will make you go to the Minnehaha Creek down that it has a connection with the Mississippi River. The trail is clear with the white sandstone cliffs, small waves, and shallow lower creek. Besides, the trail is great for families with kids to swim and explore the creeks with many tiny channels and islands.
If you have more interest in cycling, the park above the falls offers the bike rentals. The trail from Minnehaha is connected to the Minneapolis Grand Rounds with a 50-mile system that connects many cities’ parks. The trail is great for beginner to visit in any season.
Hiking shoes, seasonal clothes, camera, picnic or snacks, water
2. Hiking In The Wild River State Park
The loop trail through prairies, forests, and the St. Croix River are the highlights of your hiking experience in this area. The starting point is the parking lot close to the McElroy Visitor Center. Pick up the Mitigwaki Loop Trail right you have left the parking lot. Take a short wall and follow the signs east toward the loop of Amik’s Pond.
Light daypack, water, trail map, sturdy shoes, sunblock, camera, and cash for a permit.
Camping, chilling, backpacking, hiking, and photography are the best things to do here. Beginners even can hike to this area in spring, summer, or autumn.
3. Hiking The Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park
The Hidden Falls and the spring wildflowers on the five-mile loop through the park are waiting for you. Enjoy the beautiful trail since you are starting the hike here.
The first highlight is great that you must take the easy loop trail to hike at 5 miles and you will see some best features of the park such as the Hidden Falls with the rare glimpse of the Platteville Limestone that becomes the foundation to form the park.
The second highlight is to reach the Fawn Trail with the loops through 1.5 miles of the Big Woods. There are more than 50 varieties of wildflowers in the spring such as the Dwarf Trout lily, the endangered plant only in this park you can find.
The third highlight is heading on the Beaver Trail for 1 mile so you can reach the Oak Bridge that will bring you to the two campgrounds with four beautiful sites, 2 convenient pit toilets, and 3 spacious group sites.
If you want to complete the route, it takes 2 hours. The more often you stop to admire the scenery, the more time you will need to complete the route.
Daypack with water or light snack, credit card and cash for a permit, comfortable footwears like adventure sandals, sneakers, and hiking shoes, camera
So, the total distance is at 11 miles with an out-and-back trail for beginner to visit in any season. Do many things you want like photography, running, camping, and hiking in this place.
4. Exploring The Interstate State Park
The St. Croix River Gorge is worth to explore for its scenic view, the 3-mile trail and the rock climbing adventure makes this place is so awesome. You can see the St. Croix River Gorge, climb the St. Croix River bluffs and even kayak at the Taylor’s Falls.
The starting point of hiking this trail is from the main park entrance. The trail is fairly easy with the scenic views of the pine forest and the rocky terrain. Besides, there is the highway section to offer the views of the river along with the bluffs on Wisconsin. Hiking in the spring means you should deal with the spring ephemera, the fiddleheads and the wildflowers that make the forest floor looks beautiful.
Hiking boots, camera, rock climbing gear, climbing permit, kayak or canoe (rent first at the park), binoculars
3 miles of distance is great for kayaking, hiking rock climbing, and photography. A beginner can enjoy the out-and-back trail in any season, as well.
5. Hiking The Afton State Park Trail
Skiing in the winter is the popular activity to do in this trail. Besides, it offers another hike to enjoy along the St. Croix River. The area is also great for biking. The 3.5 miles of trail with 740 feet in elevation is great for hiking. Even the area is great for beginners to enjoy the out-and-back trail in any season.
Daypack, hiking boots, water, snacks, camping gear, and gear for other activities
So, make sure that your weekend plan is ready to give you a new unforgettable experience to enjoy the nature in Minneapolis during spring.