State Park Chronicles: Interstate State Park

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Well, well, well… Looks like my last state park post was a lie. I had at least one more hike in me. Maybe more, depending on the weather and how much work/school gets to me before it snows. And surprise, surprise, it’s snowing….

Anyways, I tried to go to my library a few weeks back and upon turning into the entrance road I realized that it was Big Truck Day (firetrucks and dump trucks and all that jazz all parked in the parking lot for kids to go check out, very very very popular). I had a panic attack and had to get out of the zoo that was the parking lot as quickly as I could and then I ended up just going home and changing and heading off to Interstate State Park instead. The drive was absolutely gorgeous, the weather was perfect and I’m so glad I ended up spending my whole day outside instead of at the library (though that definitely wouldn’t have been a horrible way to spend the day either).

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Interstate was originally named “The State Park of the Dalles of the St. Croix” and was a joint venture between Minnesota and Wisconsin. It was created in 1895 and then Wisconsin purchased land for their portion in 1900. I thought this was really cool! This is one of Minnesota’s most popular state parks and averages about 300,000 visitors each year.

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If you’re looking for the Hikers Club trail, it’s the River Trail which is about 1.5 miles long. It’s definitely not a bad hike, it’s got amazing views! But make sure you’ve got good shoes and watch where you walk. It’s a very rocky trail and I definitely made a few missteps that had me shaky and almost twisting my ankles. I would rate it more of an intermediate hike, definitely not crazy difficult seeing as it’s relatively short, but with the terrain it could get dicey.

And speaking of views, here are some of my many river pictures:

 

It was super busy when I went out seeing as it was a Saturday and one of the last really good weather Saturdays at that. So I definitely hiked this a lot faster than I was expecting to. Worked up a sweat from going so fast but it was great overall.

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I did find this really nice sort of “hidden” rock overlook that I sat down at to do a little journaling and eat some snacks. There were a number of these along the trail and I tried to stop at any of the ones that didn’t already have people at them!

Nature is 100% my happy place and I could’ve spent all day here if I let myself.

 

After getting to the Glacial Potholes I explored a bit (again, very busy and I always get a little anxious being around people when I’m hiking, which also I feel like I should write an entire post about being a female solo hiker because people always ask me how/why I do that?) If you’re into rock climbing this is the park for you! I didn’t take any pictures of the climbers because I didn’t want to be creepy but you can get a permit and go climbing here. If I wasn’t terrified to try climbing on natural rock I would have loved to give it a go! Maybe someday!

Instead of pictures of the rock climbers, here’s a pic of some candy I ate:

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The glacial potholes area was super cool and if I wasn’t sweaty and tired and wanting to hike back to my car I would have explored this area a bit more. I do have to go back to get a stamp for my state park passport though so I think I’ll explore this area more then! It was really interesting and I wish I would have taken more pictures. Next time!

I snagged this geologic information from the Minnesota DNR website:

About 1.1 billion years ago, earthquakes erupted from Taylors Falls to Lake Superior and caused at least 10 different lava flows. The hardened basalt rock from these lava flows partly formed the Dalles of the St. Croix and the bottom of the river. From 530 million years ago up until 70 million years ago, the state was washed by advancing and retreating seas. Evidence of these ancient seas is revealed in the sedimentary rocks and formations found in the park. These rocks contain fossil remains of ancient animals, evidence of various creatures, and ripple marks left in stone by the now vanished seas.

There have been many different St. Croix Valleys through the ages. The first formed about 70 million years ago and current valley formed about 10,000 years ago. A glacier formed both Glacial Lake Duluth, now Lake Superior, and Glacial Lake Grantsburg, now extinct. Glacial Lake Duluth was much larger than modern day Lake Superior. As this giant body of ice thawed, its meltwaters roared south to carve out the broad valley of the St. Croix. Only very resistant basalts were able to partially withstand the torrent, resulted in the dalles, potholes, and cliffs we see today.

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