If the weather forecasts are to be believed, we are about to have some rain 😂 (and then maybe a dash of snow ❄) before sunshine returns and temperatures plummet into the abyss of Winter. So we figured we’d better get in another hike before it gets all Minnesota cold out there. 🥶

Carver Park Reserve is less than a half hour west of us. We had overlooked it to date because the hike for it in our venerable 60 Hikes guide (Hike #21) is only 1.5 miles (2.4 km) on a paved trail. Gotta have some dirt. Then a closer look at the park’s trail map showed many more trails than the one given in the guidebook, including a nice dirt/mowed grass loop past Parley Lake and around Lundsten Lake and Lake 2. So that was our goal for today.

We interpreted today’s forecast as sunny, with clouds coming in later in the afternoon. Ah, no. What we got was early teaser sunshine overcome by clouds before 10.30. 🌥🙄 The air temperature hovered around 35℉ (1.6℃) all day but there was no wind, so, even with the clouds, it was very comfortable weather for a hike.

We started from the parking lot at the Fred F. King Memorial. From there, it was clockwise on hiking and horse trails northward past Lundsten and Parley Lakes, eastward along the county line, and then southward past Lake 2 and the King Overlook back to the trailhead.

Well, it was sunny when we started…
On the trail next to Parley Lake Road
Crossing the divide toward Parley Lake, Carver Park Reserve, Minnesota
Crossing the divide toward Parley Lake
Parley Lake (L) comes into view
Lundtsen Lake, Carver Park Reserve, Minnesota
The clouds began moving in as we passed Lundsten Lake
Clouds reflected on Lundsten Lake
We climb toward Springview Group Camp
Some uniquely purple and shiny old oak leaves
Descending to the shores of Parley Lake
Parley Lake, Carver Park Reserve, Minnesota
Parley Lake
Continuing north past the shore of Parley
The clouds began to thicken
We turn eastward along the Reserve’s northern boundary
Going eastward
Turning south toward Lake 2
In places the horse trail was wide enough for a Ben Hur style chariot race
The clouds settle in over last year’s marsh
The last of the Fall colors
Lake 2 – home to a great many Trumpeter Swans
The view southward from the King Overlook (Lundsten Lake is to the right), Carver Park Reserve, Minnesota
The view southward from the King Overlook; Lundsten Lake is to the right
Back to the trailhead

Our loop came to 7.0 miles (11.2 km), with a cumulative gain of 600 feet (183 m) – all those rolling hills. Except for a few people working on a new mountain bike trail, we only saw one other person on our loop. A little longer stretch of sunshine would have perked the scenery up a bit. Still, thanks to those ancient glaciers, this proved to be a wonderfully varied and rolling countryside through which to walk. 😁

Our loop at Carver Park west of Victoria Drive (K = King Overlook)
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