Fort Snelling State Park (Minnesota) 03-May-2022

We’re stuck in temporary quarters until the current occupants of our new home move and we finish some paperwork. All this moving has really cut into our hiking time. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ So we’re going to take advantage of our “on hold” status to do as many hikes as possible between now and when we finally get settled here. The weather is helping with this goal, as it has now turned warmer, sunnier, and drier (at least for a few days).

So today we went out to do our first Hiking Club hike. Yes, aiming to hike all the 68 state parks that have hikes is a nerdy thing to do. OK, that’s us. But we’ve found lists (if not taken too seriously) as useful tools to impel us to explore places – like all the corners of our new state. ๐Ÿ˜ Many of the Hiking Club hikes are short, so we plan to extend them a bit when possible.

Fort Snelling is the state park closest to us at the moment, so we headed there to hike a loop around Snelling Lake and then another around Pike Island. This is Hike #14 in the 60 Hikes guide (Pike Island is the Hiking Club part). We started out around Snelling Lake under partially overcast skies which steadily improved toward blue skies decorated with puffy, artistic clouds.

The brave hiker smile(?) reaches the Midwest
On the Snelling Lake trail
A tree laden with Turkey Tail fungus
Blue sky!
Minnesota River
Between the river and Snelling Lake

On our turn around the lake we spotted a field of Marsh marigolds, a Bald eagle, a pair of eagles we couldn’t identify (juvenile balds?), Cardinals, swooping flocks of Swallows, a Turkey buzzard, a Red-bellied woodpecker, and lots of Yellow-rumped warblers. The earthly remains of long expired Bigmouth Buffalo fish languished in the lake’s shallows. We passed several deer that were simply unimpressed by us.

Snelling Lake
End of the trail for the Bigmouth Buffalo
Yeah, so…
Clouds over a channel between the rivers
Passing under the Mendota Bridge
Approaching the bridge to Pike Island

We followed the main trail clockwise around Pike Island, walking along the Mississippi out to the point where it’s joined by the Minnesota River. There are apparently times of the year when there is a sharp color distinction between the muddier waters of the Minnesota and the clearer waters of the Mississippi. Today we could make out only a slight difference in color. We did, however, readily find the Hiking Club password at the point – way easier than looking for a geocache!

Mississippi River
On the Pike Island Trail toward the confluence
At the confluence
Heading back along the Pike Island Trail
Water and reflections downstream of the Mendota Bridge
Leaving Pike Island

Both loops came to a total of 6.5 miles (10.4 km) with a negligible change in elevation. An excellent hike on a day that became progressively better in terms of sunlight and warmth! ๐Ÿ˜Ž Has “real” Spring finally arrived? Well, at least for a while. ๐Ÿ™„

Our two loops at Fort Snelling State Park

4 thoughts on “Fort Snelling State Park (Minnesota) 03-May-2022

  1. That’s good because Spring here has been late this year – unseasonable rain and cold – and the locals are getting anxious to shed parkas for shorts. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  2. If you’re seeing marsh marigolds, then yes, it’s spring. We used to ride the rail trails in Wisconsin and loved seeing those every spring.


  3. Ooo how exciting that you guys have ended up in Minnesota, I look forward to seeing more of the state through your posts. My partner has family that lives there!


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