Minnesota Parks

Date: 12/4/2017 – 12/15/2017
Who: myself
Weather: cold

In December 2017 I was in Minneapolis, Minnesota for two weeks for some technical training. During my free time, I explored the Minneapolis city park system and took a day trip up to the north shore of Lake Superior.

City parks I visited were French Regional Park, Fish Lake Regional Park, and Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park. I was impressed by the regional trail network that links the city parks together. The city even clears snow from their regional trails to keep them accessible during winter.

One thing I noticed during my visit to Minnesota was the shorter day. The sun came up a bit later and went down a bit earlier compared to Colorado. I also noticed so many lakes–it seems like there’s a lake around every corner.

Fish Lake, a suburban lake in Maple Grove (northwest Minneapolis)

Mississippi River in Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park at sunset

Minneapolis hikes followed the BLUE lines:

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Highlights of the day trip to Lake Superior included breakfast at Duluth Grill (recommended!), views driving along the lakeshore, and a hike at Gooseberry Falls State Park. I’d certainly like to come back in the future, to visit Isle Royale National Park and wander the lakes in the vast Superior National Forest along the Canada border.

Freighter on Lake Superior viewed from Silver Creek Cliff

Gooseberry Falls hike followed the BLUE line:

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Mount Evans

Date: 7/30/2016
Who: Chris B. and myself
Length: about 8 miles
Time: 9 1/2 hours
Weather: about 50-60 degrees, sunny

My friend Chris B and I decided to hike up Mt. Evans in July 2016. We drove up to Evergreen the night before, and spent the night at my friend Candy’s house. Candy’s family has a superb panoramic mountain view from their house, with Mt. Evans in the center. It was nice to visit Candy, and we had a shorter drive to the trailhead the next morning. This was my 10th fourteener summit.

Our hike started at Echo Lodge. Chris B had arranged in advance for a friend to pick us up at the summit and drive us back down via Mt. Evans road. The distance, plus 5600 feet of elevation gain, made for a challenging hike. Highlights included good weather, good company, mountain goats near the summit, beautiful mountain lakes, and Alpine Spring Beauty wildflowers. Road access makes Mount Evans a busy, crowded summit for sure. But, it sure was nice to get a ride down!

Chris B landscape photos on Google Drive

Chris and Chris at Summit Lake.

Alpine Spring Beauty – Mt. Evans

This hike followed the BLUE line:

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Seven Falls

Date: 7/22/2016
Who: Jessica, Michelle and myself
Length: 1.6 miles (0.8 mi. in + 0.8 mi. out)
Time: about 2 hours
Weather: 75 degrees

Seven Falls is a tourist attraction on private property, opened in the 1880s, and owned and operated by the Broadmoor Hotel since August 2015. In my opinion, the Broadmoor has done a great job with the property. The new format includes parking at the hotel, a shuttle ride to and from the canyon, and a 0.8-mile hike to the falls. The entrance fee (which includes parking and shuttle) is $14 for adults and $8 for children. Optionally, visitors who cannot walk can pay an extra fee for a tram ride to the falls. I’m not sure, but I think these fees are lower than they were before the Broadmoor purchased the property.

This week, my niece Jessica from Indianapolis was visiting Michelle and me. We really enjoyed our time at Seven Falls. We went in the evening while temperatures were relatively cool. Even though it’s a Broadmoor (5-star hotel) attraction, most visitors including ourselves were dressed quite casual. The walk up the canyon was very pleasant with beautiful scenery and plenty of photo opportunities. Jessica and I climbed up the 200+ stairs to the top of the falls. We also took the mountain-elevator to a lookout point. We did not hike the trails into the woods at the top of the falls, and neither did we visit Restaurant 1858.

Michelle Jessica and Chris at Seven Falls

The Broadmoor also built a zipline course in the Seven Falls canyon. It was fun to watch and hear the occasional zipline rider overhead. The mountain elevator is still there, as well as gift shops. I consider Seven Falls a Disneyworld-like hiking experience. For certain visitors looking for a tame yet beautiful outdoor experience, it is a very good option.

This hike followed the LIGHT BLUE line to Seven Falls and back:

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PS, The long gap between posts was due to a combination of moving to a new house, and technical challenges. Hopefully, hiking posts will be more frequent again.