Battle Creek (Ramsey County, Minnesota) 13-Mar-2023

Battle Creek Regional Park had been languishing on our to do list as a potential winter hike (Hike #1 in our 60 Hikes guide). Then a charming post from Neaton Adventures about their recent visit to this park spurred us into action.

While planning our hike we couldn’t reconcile their route with the map we had – until we noticed that our map (from another website) was 10 years out-of-date. πŸ™„ We’re going to blame (wrongly) the time change for that. 🀨

So, after obtaining an up-to-date winter map from Ramsey County, we headed out for the park. We had planned to start our hike from the trailhead at the northwest end of Point Douglas Road, only to discover on arrival that there’s no parking there during the winter season.

We should have known this because there is no “P” symbol at it on the winter map. Summer and winter maps are a new experience for us and we’re still learning some of their nuances. πŸ˜”

Anyway, we unfurled Plan B and parked instead at the community center parking lot off Winthrop Street. Pro tip: The community center has indoor (warm) toilets. 😊

The weather was cool (25℉ / -3.8℃) but clear and sunny 😎 with only an occasional light breeze. The forecast had suggested partly cloudy but what we got, not long into the morning, were a few artistic clouds dotted here and there across a clear, blue sky. Very nice.

We decided to do the street walking part of our loop first and started out south on Winthrop Street. It’s sidewalk was plowed almost all the way to Lower Afton Road.

South along Winthrop Street

There is now a paved pathway parallel to Lower Afton Road that keeps you well away from the road traffic. It was plowed (but with icy patches) all the way down to Point Douglas Road. There’s no separate path beside this road, so we simply walked down it to the start of the trail up Battle Creek (the creek’s name memorializes a tribal battle between the Dakota and Ojibwe in 1842).

Going west on Lower Afton Road
Away from the road and almost to Point Douglas Road
Downtown St. Paul and the state capitol (arrow) from Point Douglas Road
We reach the trailhead where we couldn’t park
Battle Creek has carved a path through the sandstone terrain
Foam and icicles

The foam we saw in the creek has been tested and found to contain small amounts of PFAS (Perfluoroalkyl Substances) – the latest in a host of “forever” chemicals in our environment. πŸ˜’ They’re apparently not present in amounts that pose a risk to human health but they are still there and prolonged contact with the foam is not recommended. Fortunately, the foam didn’t look all that appetizing. 🀒

Icicles in the creek
Ocher-colored sandstone cliffs
Going upstream on the plowed trail (note the snow depth 😲)
Battle Creek at one of the stilling basins
Along the creek
An excellent day for a walk 😍
Passing another stilling basin used to slow high flows and limit erosion
Looking west down the creek from Upper Afton Road
On the path east of Upper Afton Road
Battle Creek
Several bridges took us back and forth across the creek
Battle Creek
Another bridge with the only other person we encountered on the path today
Almost to McKnight Road

We reached McKnight Road, went south on it to Upper Afton Road, and then west on that road back to the community center parking lot. In all, we did 4,2 miles (6.8 km) with 200 feet (60 m) of gain. Walking along the roads wasn’t that interesting, but doing so was worth it to reach the creek – and that was very beautiful! 😁

Comparing what we saw today with summer time photos on the park’s website really brought home to us how much snow is out there. We just reached (officially) the 8th snowiest winter in Twin Cities history – we may make it to 7th snowiest if the storm due in a few days is even mildly ambitious. Snow – the gift that keeps on falling and falling and … β„β„β„πŸ˜•

Our loop around the west side of Battle Creek Regional Park

8 thoughts on “Battle Creek (Ramsey County, Minnesota) 13-Mar-2023

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  1. Thanks! Looks like we’re going to have at least the 7th snowiest winter on record here in the Twin Cities – and may even make the top 5! πŸ™„ While it’s been fun wandering around in the snow, we’re absolutely ready for Spring and a wildflower (or two). 🌼

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  2. Love the snowy scenes from your winter walk. It’s funny because we had a bit of a slow start to winter, but it’s more than making up for it now with all this snow. It may be cold, but at least it’s beautiful. Sounds like you’re making the most of one of your snowiest winters.


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