Beaver Creek Valley State Park (Minnesota) 23-Aug-2022

Day two of our park quest in far southeast Minnesota found us heading to Beaver Creek Valley State Park. Once again we drove through the charming hill and valley terrain that was untouched by the leveling action of glacial advances (it’s part of the “driftless area“). And, once again, the weather was bluebird perfect for hiking. 😎

The original 3.5 mile (5.6 km) Hiking Club route here is an out-and-back north along Beaver Creek from the parking lot. This route has now been expanded to include a 2.7 mile (4.3 km) loop through the uplands to the south. This addition takes you past Big Spring, the primal source of Beaver Creek. The password is only on one of these loops, so we did both, starting with the southern loop.

Southern Loop

This loop took us up and down on the Hole-in-the-Rock Trail, then did the same during our return on the West Rim Trail. The West Rim Trail ended at Big Spring. Although no holey rocks were sighted, these proved to be among the narrowest singletrack trails we’ve been on thus far in a state park. From Big Spring we returned to the parking lot on the Big Spring Trail.

Starting up the Hole-in-the-Rock Trail
End of the season color
Crossing one of the several bridges along this trail
Flower with fly
Through the green tunnel
Beaver Creek at Big Spring, Beaver Creek Valley State Park, Minnesota
Beaver Creek at Big Spring
Big Spring, Beaver Creek Valley State Park, Minnesota
Big Spring
Leaves on the waters
The squirrels are getting dangerously clever… 🤔

Northern Loops

As soon as we got back to the parking lot, we headed north on the Beaver Creek Valley Trail. This one has a loop in its middle, one around a prairie meadow at its end, and was the original Hiking Club Trail. It’s essentially a level walk on a double-track that crosses Beaver Creek several times on small, bouncy wooden bridges. We passed several people on this trail, including a half dozen or so anglers trying their skill at catching trout.

At the trailhead
On the trail
One of the most unique fungi we’ve seen
Continuing along the trail
Maze Bracket Fungus
Maze Bracket (?) fungus
Beaver Creek, Beaver Creek Valley State Park, Minnesota
Beaver Creek
Flowers on the water
The meadow near the end of the trail
Circling the meadow
Beaver Creek, Beaver Creek Valley State Park, Minnesota
Beaver Creek where the trail turns back
Beaver Creek, Beaver Creek Valley State Park, Minnesota
Beaver Creek
Still enthralled by the forest canopy
Reflections on Beaver Creek
There was a hint of Fall in the air as we headed back

Doing both loops let us hike through most of the park, both along its namesake creek and around the surrounding uplands. The creek was a delight and it continues to amaze us that it is entirely spring-fed. Wildflowers were dominated by Goldenrod, Black-eyed Susan, and various thistles. We would learn later that Goldenrod is a harbinger of Fall here in Minnesota – a golden way to end summer. And, of course, there were some unusual fungi too. 😉

It took us most of the morning to do both loops so it was good that our next park for today – Great River Bluffs – wasn’t too far away and the Hiking Club route there not too long. 😁

Our two loops at Beaver Creek

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