Afton State Park: Prairie Restoration with Beautiful Views of the St. Croix River Valley
Summer is in full swing and you know why? Because Movie-in-the-Park is back and there are 122 outdoor movies to go to! THRILLIST compiled a convenient list of all the showings; here’s the link. There is also Music-in-the-park happening all over the city and it feels like its happening everyday. Just two days ago, I was bicycling with my roommate and we found a concert near the Stone Arch Bridge. From past experiences, I have learned that sitting in warm grass and listening to free tunes is always a great way to spend an evening. So, we sat down, ate our post bicycle snacks, and stayed till the music stopped. Also, this last weekend, I went kayaking down the St. Croix river with a friend. I didn’t take any pictures, but maybe I’ll still write a post about it in the near future.
A couple weeks ago, i went hiking at Afton State Park with my friend, Daniel. He had done some research and heard it had good trails and lucky for us, it was only 40 minutes away from Minneapolis. That morning, we entered the park, paid the $5 fee, and parked in a lot that was near the Visitor Center. We quickly found a trail and followed it until we reached a bluff bordering the St. Croix. It was the first (of many) beautiful vistas of the St. Croix River Valley that we’d see that day.
After enjoying the view, we continued on another trail that ran parallel to the St. Croix River. It was a nice-and-easy walk that had pretty views of the river. At about a mile, the trail dead-ends, so you have to take a left onto a Prairie Restoration Trail. Almost right away, there are short, but steep hills shrouded in forest that you have to climb to reach the prairie. Daniel and I were a little out of breath near the end of our climb, but the view of the Saint Croix River Valley from the top was well worth it.
After lunch, Daniel and I walked through more restored prairies. I even introduced Daniel to the amazing world of birding. We used my Peterson Bird App and through deductive reasoning, we identified several song sparrows and one meadowlark. I was impressed by the size of their prairie land because it seemed to go on into the far distance. We followed the prairie trail until we found ourselves hiking down into a woody area known as Trout Brook Loop. I noticed while walking along the trail that there was an old creek bed and many wildflowers littered around the trail. I think Trout Brook Loop was my favorite part because it was so peaceful and full of lush plant-life.
It was mid-late afternoon by the time Daniel and I made it back to the car and, man, were we beat. I know Minnesota is pretty flat, compared to other places, but hills ares still hills and they can tire you out! Overall, I’m very happy to have finally hiked Afton State Park and would recommend it to any hiker, camper, or backpacker.
Well, friends, you won’t hear from me for a while. I’ll be out of town in Oregon for 2.5 weeks visiting friends and working at a camp called Camp Millennium. I’ll tell you guys/gals all about it when I get back.
Playing Mario Kart N64 at a buddies house