Kandiyohi County

Minnesota state parks in springtime

I’m always on the lookout for wildflowers, so at the first sign of spring, we headed out to four¬†parks to see what we could find.


Wild River

I had a day off in early April and headed an hour north of the Twin Cities to Wild River State Park by myself. It was too early for wildflowers! But there were very clear views of the river and woods since none of the vegetation had grown in yet. It was a great day for a solo walk; I saw only one pair of runners during this 1.5-hour visit.

Paved path

Quiet path through the woods.

Looking across the river

Down by the St. Croix River.

Bright orange mushrooms popping out around brown leaves

These orange mushrooms (I’ve already forgotten their name) were a bright spot of color on the mostly brown ground.

Wild River Canoe Rental building, boarded up

Waiting for warmer weather (and tourists).

Wild River State Park

One hour north of St. Paul
Date visited: April 13, 2015



Maybe it was the dreary weather the day we visited…

Empty bird feeder on the edge of a pond

Lazy, hazy, crazy days of… early spring.

maybe it was the fact that we got lost more than once on the trails (which could use better signs, in my opinion)…

Unmarked paths

Which way does this path go – left, straight, or right?

maybe because it was still too early for wildflowers (not the park’s fault)…

Budding leaves on a bush

The only green the entire trip.

but I quickly decided this wasn’t my favorite state park. Still, there were things to enjoy along the way.

Loon spreading its wings on Lake Andrew

First loon sighting of the season!

Canoe in front of a stone building

Many buildings built by the Veterans Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

Observation tower, viewed from the ground

Lookout at the top of Mount Tom, the tallest spot in the area.

 Sibley State Park

Two hours west of Minneapolis; 20 minutes north of Willmar
Date visited: April 18, 2015



Carley State Park is famous for Virginia bluebells – and in May, there are millions.

Virginia bluebells

The weather was much more pleasant for this wildflower trip. Plus, we actually got to see wildflowers.

Wildflower Trail sign

Yes, I WILL take the wildflower trail.

Bluebell-lined path.

Several false rue anemone along the river

There were at least as many of these white flowers – false rue anemone – as there were bluebells.

Concrete steps with spaces between

Non-accessible walk across the stream.

Wooden stairway

Climb the stairs.

Carley State Park

1.5 hours south of St. Paul
Date visited: May 2, 2015


Nerstrand-Big Woods

As long as we were in the area, we stopped by for a quick visit to try again to find dwarf trout lilies. And we did!

A small white flower among much larger green leaves

Dwarf trout lily is so tiny, it’s easy to miss.

Marsh marigolds on both sides of a small stream

Marsh marigolds, on the other hand, aren’t easily missed.

Hidden Falls waterfall from the bottom

And, of course, Hidden Falls is a must-see attraction.

Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park

1 hour south of St. Paul
Date visited: May 2, 2015

Now, on to summer adventures!

Categories: Chisago County, Kandiyohi County, Rice County, Wabasha County | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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