Miesville Ravine Park Reserve (Dakota County, MN) 01-Sep-2022

The little town of Miesville, Minnesota (population 125) straddles Highway 61 about 10 miles (16 km) due west of the Mississippi River. If you go straight south from the middle of town, you’ll soon reach the drainage that feeds Trout Brook.

Over the ages, this brook has carved a distinctive dent – a ravine if you will – in the landscape as it flows south to its confluence with the Cannon River. A good portion of this dent is now within Dakota County’s Miesville Ravine Park Reserve.

Two days ago, on a day with near perfect weather for hiking, the Miesville Ravine lost out to a longer hike at Whitetail Woods. But, after spending yesterday at the Minnesota State Fair 😁, we felt Miesville deserved to be hiked today. Out of fairness, sure, but mainly because we needed to start working off some, but probably not all πŸ˜”, of the amazingly tasty food we “sampled” at the fair. Best soft real ice cream we’ve ever eaten 🍦🍦 – ever! πŸ˜‹

Miesville Ravine (Hike #38 in 60 Hikes) features a shorter set of hikes than those at Whitetail Woods, which is good because today the weather was less hiker friendly – much hotter and much more humid. We started with an out-and-back along Trout Brook, through the heart of the ravine – a level, mostly forested route with just a few views of the brook.

Starting out on the trail along Trout Brook
Trout Brook at Miesville Ravine Park Reserve, Minnesota
Trout Brook
A log in the brook
Humid
Bur oak acorns
Bur Oak acorns
Fallen leaf
A fern in sepia
Back to the parking lot

We returned to the parking lot, then continued on, over a stout bridge, to the trail along the Cannon River. The guidebook indicated that this is a popular take-out for folks floating down from Cannon Falls but today we were there alone.

A steel bridge over Trout Brook near the Cannon River, Minnesota
Crossing Trout Brook in style
Seeing the trout (arrow) in Trout Brook
The Cannon River from the edge of the picnic area
view of the Cannon River, Minnesota
Looking upstream on the Cannon River
Sunlight on the river’s waters
Another giant – and amazingly straight – cottonwood

We eventually came to where the river trail makes a sharp turn and starts back to the picnic area. Both 60 Hikes and AllTrails (of which I am not a fan) showed a trail heading north from this turn to 280th Street. What we saw was a thick wall of late summer veg with nary an evident use trail through it. Although we’ve done plenty of cross-country in our time, plowing through veg while already hot and sticky from the rising heat and humidity didn’t appeal. Not at all. So we went back on the mowed trail.

The great wall of veg
Back to the trailhead on the mowed trail
A tattered butterfly collects the last nectar of the season

Covering these two trails came to just 3.1 miles (4.9 km). But this was more than enough get us hot and plenty sweaty. So it was the right hike for the day, in a place we hadn’t visited before, with views of a brook, the Cannon River, and trout. 🐟 We were also unfamiliar with those frilly Bur Oak acorns – so we got a botany lesson too.

On the way back, we stopped in charming little Cannon Falls for lunch. Our first choice – Nick’s Downtown Diner – was packed with bikers (the pedaling kind). Considering we were all sweaty, it would have been a perfect fit – except there were no tables available. πŸ˜₯

So we shuffled over to the Mill Street Tavern where we found a table, A/C, and an excellent meal πŸ˜‹ – the consumption of which only added to our excesses at the state fair! So now it’ll be rice cakes and distilled water for a few days, but we regret nothing! Not even one bite! 😁

Map of trails at Miesville Ravine
Our route (blue line) at Miesville Ravine (the black dotted line is the old, overgrown road)

Postscript

When we got home, we pulled up a USGS topo map (from 1974) that showed an old road going from the turn in the mowed trail up to 280th Street. It also showed a building and two collapsed buildings at this turn. It might would be worth returning in late Fall or during winter – after the veg has died back – to explore these seasonally elusive features.

Redline was our route today, blue dots are the old road buried in veg at this time of year
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2 thoughts on “Miesville Ravine Park Reserve (Dakota County, MN) 01-Sep-2022

  1. Burgers? Bakery? Sounds great but we’ll have to wait until we recover from our State Fair food experience! πŸ˜‰ Miesville was in the 60 Hikes guide we bought – otherwise it would have been pretty hard to find. But the Dakota County Parks website is a good resource too.

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  2. I was unaware of this Miesville area park, so thank you for introducing me. Also, I’d recommend a burger at King’s Place in Miesville, well-known for its wide selection of delicious burgers. But it sounds like you found some good eats in Cannon Falls, a community I love. Check out the bakery next time you’re there.

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