Tag Archives: river

Banning State Park, Sandstone, MN

Banning State Park, Sandstone, MN

On our way back to the cities from the Soudan Mine we decided to stop at Banning State Park and it was not a disappointment.  This park used to be a quarry along the Kettle River.

The high path is the nature path

There is a high trail and a lower trail.  The lower one is where all of the action is along the river.  If you don’t think you will walk all the way to the waterfall than take the lower path.  If you want to see as much of the park and as many of the paths as possible, take the higher path.  We of course, to the higher path down to the waterfall and the lower path on the way back.

Waterfall at the end of the path

This waterfall is interesting as it isn’t very tall.  The water behind it is very shallow.  When we arrived there was a family playing in the stream that leads to the fall.

Kettle River

It took me a while to figure this out, but this river runs brown, and reminds me of root beer.  The reason for this is the iron that is coloring the water.

I didn’t capture the cutting in the rock walls that surround the lake, but if you go you can see where they placed the explosives.  The quarry sliced away at the rock and left it scared, but beautiful at the same time.

Take the journey along the river and read the historical information along the way.  I liked this park with its waterfall and the nice stroll along the river.  The high path is a take it or leave it path.

Temperance River State Park, Schroeder, MN

Temperance River State Park, 7620 West Highway 61, Schroeder, MN 55613

Along the north shore in Minnesota there is a little town called Schroeder, and just north of this town is the Temperance River State Park.  The park entrance is on the east side of the road, but the trails we took were on the west side of the road.

We parked along 61 and took the superior hiking trail along the northern part of the river all the way up to Carlton Peak.  It is a beautiful journey.

The trail starts near hidden falls, which, if this is all the further you get you still have a lot to see.  It isn’t far the to first looking point.  You get a glimpse of the falls hiding behind some rocks.

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A better view is just a little ways further, but you will need to walk up some rock stairs.  They did a great job making the path look almost natural at times, like the stairs where crafted by the Earth and not placed by man.

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The river is this beautiful, powerful, twisting, turning thing at this point in the river.  It carves its way through the rocks and creates whirlpools along the way which is way there is so much foam in the river.

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About a mile or so in you will come across a sign stating Carlton Peak 2 miles and Britton Peak 3.6 miles.  Take the journey up to Carlton Peak if you have the time.  There is quite a bit of walking up hill, but the view is amazing.

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A view from the bottom looking up at Carlton Peak will make you take a pause, but it really is worth it.  I believe there are shorter journeys up to the top from another trail head if you only want to see the peak.

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There is a place where you can write in a journal about who you are and why you are there.  We were going to attempt to go up from there, but if you walk a little further an easier path will present itself.  Luckily someone saw us and pointed this path out to us.

The view of Lake Superior from here reminds you just how big that lake really is because you can’t see all of it.  It almost looks like it isn’t a lake, but instead the sky shining blue and touching the trees.

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The view away from the lake is just this ocean of trees.  It seems to extend forever.

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On our trip back to our car a squirrel posed for a picture.  I swear he chased us down and waited for me to get this pic.

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Camping near the Temperance River in the State Park by the Lake looked like it might be pretty amazing.  You are pretty close to your neighbors, but the view is great and the trails down to the Lake and beach area are pretty sweet.

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We walked along the beach just as the sun was setting and the moon was rising.  We knew we needed to get back to the car, but it was hard to walk away from these fantastic views.

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If you get a chance to see Hidden Falls, Carlton Peak, or any of Temperance State Park take the opportunity to see it all.  It is part of the Superior Hiking Trails and a piece of the trail that you will  not want to skip.

High Falls, Tettegouche State Park, MN

High Falls, 5702 MN-61, Silver Bay, MN 55614

Along 61 in Silver Bay, MN there is this gigantic rest stop that doubles as an information center the Tettegouche State Park.  There are tons of trails in this area.  The woman at the center directed us to High Falls.

We drove down the road just a little bit to the parking area for the trail.  You will need a state park pass to park here, or you can keep your car at the rest stop and walk a little further.  The trail to High Falls is 1.5 miles.

The trail starts out by going under 61 and has a decent view of the river.  I think it use to go over 61, but the underpass is a lot safer.

June 2016 306 Tettegouche State Park High Falls

There are a couple of places that you can walk down to the river along this trail, but the best one is near the falls itself so just keep walking.  It had just rained when we went so the trail was muddy.  Some parts of the trail have wooden boards to walk on which was nice.  Some parts of the trail where just wooden stairs.  Other parts of the trail were just mud so wear appropriate shoes.

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The water fall itself is amazing.  You can feel the mist from the falls from about the distance that we took most of our pictures.  The sound of the falls is what got me.  The rushing water sounded so powerful.

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If you continue on the trail you can see the falls from the top and you can even cross over the suspension bridge and see it from the other side.

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June 2016 bridge Tettegouche State Park High Falls

There is even a campsite on the other side.  We didn’t walk to it, but it was pretty close, less than a mile.

The overall hike isn’t bad as long as you do not slip in the mud.  The water fall is completely worth seeing.  Even going over the suspension bridge was okay once I got the courage.

If you have a chance you should definitely take this little journey to high falls.

Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway, WY

Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway, Shoshoni, WY to Thermopolis, WY

This is truly a beautiful drive that takes maybe an hour and a half round trip.  What out for falling rocks, no joke, sometimes it is actually falling boulders.

The strangest part about this trip is that the river looks like it is travelling the wrong direction.  I do not know how it is possible, but that river seems very wrong.

You travel on one side of the river and there are train tracks on the other side of the river.  Talking about falling boulders, the one of the right in this picture actually fell onto the track and they had to push it into the river.

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While we were driving this they were working on taking out another boulder on the vehicle side of the river that was enormous and there were rocks that had recently fallen onto the road at the start of our trip.

That being said, if you have a sunroof and can look out the top of your car do it as you pass through here.  Not if you are driving of course.

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When you get to the Thermopolis part of the trip there is a dam called the Boysen Dam.  It is an amazing sight and there is a place to pull off and view the dam.

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Below is a picture above the dam.

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Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway is a very pretty drive.  If you have a moment I suggest taking it in, just be careful and pay attention.

Wild River State Park, Center City, MN

Wild River State Park, 39797 Park Trail, Center City, MN 55012

We decided to go camping, spur of the moment, and this is the park that had an opening.  It was the 3rd of July, the day was clear, and we were off on an adventure.

We packed our camping gear and headed northeast.  The park is right along the St. Croix River.  Do not use the GSP system to find the entrance.  It will lead you astray.

As we checked in we were told that there had been black bears seen in the park and that we would need to hang our food from a tree.  They gave us a safety sheet and sold us a rope.  Now if you are out camping and they tell you there are bears, black bears are the ones you want.  They generally avoid people, they scare easily, and they are not going to hunt you.  They will steal your food if they can.  We were armed with our information, our rope, and a can of bear spray.

We were told that we could pick up dead wood and us it for our camp fire.  We had a hand saw with us to cut up the wood which was super convenient.  I was glad that there was plenty of dead wood in the area because we had the last campsite on the trail.  This was a hiking campsite which all of the ones along the military trail were.

We parked as close as we could.  The road leads right up to the river with a perfect place to launch a boat into the St. Croix.  The trail was an old military road so it is nice and wide.  We marched our two full backpacks and the tent all the way to the end of the trail.  The trail itself seemed perfect for horses.  In fact everything about this park seemed ideal for horses.

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There are stables right next to the entrance of the park for the avid rider who wants their horse close to a great riding trail.  There are horse camp sites.  Most have electricity.  Overall this place has a ton of campsites and most of them you can drive to and car camp.  There are even six cabins.  Some have electricity and some do not.

Even with all of the stuff that we brought the hike down to our campsite wasn’t terrible.  There was a picnic table at the perfect spot so that we could rest a moment before finishing the hike.  I didn’t get a lot of pictures along the way, but the campsite was amazing.

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We were right on the St. Croix River.  You could watch boats travelling up and down the river.  The boaters were so joyous with the 4th being the next day.  There was a little tree that provided us some welcome shade.

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The campsite had a fire pit with a grate for cooking.  There was a picnic table and a couple of spots to choose from for the tent.  We picked the spot under the tree.  The tent went up and then we were off to find firewood.

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There were dead trees all over so picking out a few to drag back to the campsite was easy.  I cut up the firewood with my handsaw.  Some of the wood burned extremely fast.

The bathroom, the vault toilet, was just a little further down the path and had a privacy wall.  Don’t forget the bear spray and toilet paper because you might need them.

We made mac chili in a bag which was pretty good.  We brought snacks, but we only ate the cashew nuts for fear of drawing in the bears with our jerky.  All of the trash went into a plastic bag and that went into my sleeping bag carrying pouch along with the other food we brought so that we could hang it all from a tree.

We setup some music and enjoyed the view of the river and the fire and as it got dark the stars.  You never get to see the stars in the city.  We could hear fireworks going off all around us, but none of them were visible to us.  Instead we were treated to a show from the fireflies in the area.

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As we finally settled in for the night all we could think about were the bears.  This was my second camping trip as an adult and lets just say I have yet to have a great night in a tent, ever.  Every rustle outside sounded like it could be the bear coming to get us.  Something kept eating grass really close to our tent and it was so loud.  All of the noises were probably squirrels, rabbits, or something else completely harmless, but we didn’t sleep and couldn’t just pack up and go home.

We got up the next day, completely fine.  Our food bag was still in the tree where we left it.  Nothing came into our tent and ate us.  I still have no idea what was eating grass near us.  We packed everything up and hiked back to our car so that we could go home and sleep.

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If we could have slept instead of being paranoid and feeding off of each others paranoia I think the whole trip would have been great.  I loved the campsite.  The trail would have been better suited for a horse.  I have no idea how the rest of the trails are, but from what I saw I would only want to enjoy this one on horseback.

I wouldn’t necessary be opposed to camping here again, but then again I do not like worrying about bears.  I loved that the site was far from the next campsite.  We couldn’t even hear them.  I assume the bears have been seen near the other sites where more people would be cooking and possibly dropping food.  If I could have slept the camping experience would have been great.

If you do not fear black bears I highly recommend camping here.  If you have a horse I highly recommend riding through this park.  If you are looking for a good hike, go somewhere else.

Whitewater State Park, Altura, MN

Whitewater State Park, 19041 MN-74, Altura, MN 55910

Did someone say stairs?  Whitewater State Park has stairs and great views from high places.  It has a river with a swimming area and plenty of places to fish.  The trail goes through some amazing wooded areas, possibly the most beautiful wooded areas I have ever seen.

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There are easy trails and even easier ways to walk some of the more difficult trails depending on where you start.  We started near the camping area and looked at the nature center with the stuffed animals.  The area has timber rattle snakes, but it isn’t much of a concern.  Outside on the opposite side of the parking lot from the ranger station is a place to get drinking water.  No need to get water directly from the well just outside.

Next we drove over to the picnic area.  If you wonder into that area there are plenty of tables and a swimming hole.

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There is a trail called Chimney Rock Trail which we didn’t get to, but we could see from the trail we took.  It is mostly uphill, but if our view was any indication of their view, it looked amazing.

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We took the Dakota Trail which starts with stairs, lots of stairs.  You climb up and up and up.  We say some hawks flying around when we got to the top.

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What you step as you walk along the edge of the cliff.  The path is plenty wide and a tree would probably stop you decent, but you do need to pay attention.  What an amazing view at the top and all along this part of the path.

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The path splits, but we stayed on the Dakota Trail down to the river.  The flowers along the way were very pretty and I just loved walking through those trees.

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Walking through these trees was so peaceful.  They were spread out just enough that they didn’t feel imposing.  Other than the views it was my favorite part of the trail.

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At the river you got to cross over a floating bridge.  It isn’t nearly as scary as it looks.  The water isn’t deep so if you do fall off you can just walk out.

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Overall it is a pretty calm river.  Even at its wider points it isn’t too deep.  At least not from what I could see.  Looks like a great place to caught trout possibly.

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I had a good time.  Even with the stairs the trail wasn’t bad.  We saw some other people pretty far on the trail.  The views are worth the climb.  The larger birds were pretty neat.  The views on the trail varied a lot which was nice.  I would like to return and see the views from Chimney Rock.

If you live near this park go and check it out.  Take a picnic.  Swim if you like.  Walk the trails.  There was an area near the picnic tables perfect for a game of kickball or Frisbee or football.  Overall this is a pretty great place.

The camping areas seemed a bit close together as we drove through that part of the park.  There really isn’t a reason for anyone to be driving around there except that the roads are a little confusing through the park, at least the first time that you are there.

Overall I would recommend visiting this park and snapping some of your own pics.

Shoshone River

Shoshone River – Cody, WY

Along Cody the is a river called the Shoshone River.  There is a walking path along this river.  Take bear spray!

It is kind of pretty.  More of an interesting walk than a scenic one.  We went on a day after it had rained.  Do not step in the odd looking mud.  It is actually volcano ash and sticks to your shoes like you wouldn’t believe.  My feet suddenly weighed about four times what they normally do.

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You can see different birds along the river.  They sit out there and fish or just relax.

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There is a spot where the river parts and merges again.  It is interesting how one part is really dirty water and the other is really clean.

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You can take river rafting rides down the Shoshone River.  We went on one done by River Runners.

You start in Cody and they give you a life jacket.  Make sure it fits and is tight.  Then they bus you up the river.  You can go on the short or the long trip.  The length of time actually depends on how high and fast the river is flowing.

You pick a spot on the boat you are assigned to.  I picked a middle spot.  I did not paddle or let go of the boat at all.  Water scares me.

The guide takes you down the river and tells you how to navigate the rapids.  The family trip is pretty simple, but very interesting.

Big Horn Mountains

Big Horn Mountains – Wyoming via highway 14 or highway 16.

The route through 16 is the easiest one to pass.  Only a small portion of it is twisty and winding.  That portion is pretty neat and not too scary.  We usually take this route as we pass through.

Bighorn Mountain sky

The route through 14 is more scenic and I believe there are hiking trails on one of the offshoots.  Honestly there are a million trails in this area, but we found an easy one along the river on one of our trips through here.

Big Horns River along trail

I have seen bikers (cycling) traveling through the Big Horns.  I cannot imagine taking a bike up or down this mountain.

The views are amazing.  Stop as often as you can to take in those big skies and beautiful canyons.

Big Horn scenic view

Enjoy your trip through the Big Horns.  There are some neat little towns along the way.  You can make a trip out of traveling through the Big Horns, but more than likely you will be on your way to Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons, Devil’s Tower, or Harney Peak in the Black Hills.  Happy travels.