mn state parks – whitewater and carley

mn state parks – whitewater and carley

one thing i really miss about living in st. charles (besides ichi tokyo) is whitewater state park a mere 10-minute drive from where i used to live. i really like whitewater state park, and i might use one of my free camping certificates to spend a couple nights at whitewater.

whitewater state park

st. charles is 20 minutes east of rochester and 20 minutes west of winona. and 10 miles north of st. charles lies whitewater state park nestled in bluffs that have been carved out by the whitewater river, which also happens to be a wonderful trout fishing river.

i’ve hiked to the top of a bluff with charlie, laughed at the size of the “lake,” spent time in a hammock in the expansive picnic area on the southern part of the park, taken a run along the mile trail along the river, and i still haven’t seen 1/4 of the park. when i stopped at whitewater this time, i parked in the south part of the park and took a hike along the trail i’ve hiked a few times. a lot of people were out, taking in the warm-ish weather, and i ran into more than one fisherman trying his luck at bagging a trout.

spring is at least a week ahead down in southeastern minnesota. the trees have budded out a bit more and there is no sign of leftover snow in shaded areas. the lakes have no ice on them. and the beavers are out! you can see in the photo above the bud pic there is a giant beaver dam across the river. along the path, there was a notice about how the trail is in bad shape thanks to mr. and mrs. beaver. no lie. they apparently took down two footbridges in the making of their dam. i had to go all oregon trail and ford two streams.

a closer look at the dam. it was pretty giant. i crossed a bridge that the beavers managed to not take down, and an area that used to be a nice, wide expanse of grass with the trail running through it is now marshland. i turned around and headed back, fording the two streams again.

on the way back, i noticed a bunch of hepatica and had a mini spring happy moment.

even though i knew i’d probably be back to whitewater, i spent more time there than i planned. i would recommend that park to anyone.

carley state park

i am not huge fan of carley state park. i’d been there once before to check it out and hike around, and i wasn’t a fan of it then. it’s near plainview, and it was founded in the mid 1900s through a donation from a senator who wanted the white pines in the area preserved. i’m not sure what about it rubs me the wrong way; maybe i need to spend more time in the park.

unfortunately i didn’t spend a lot of time in carley state park, but i did take a short walk out on the trail before getting back on the road.

up next

next weekend i’m heading down to la crosse to do a half marathon relay with liz. on my way back, i’ll try to hit up a bunch of the parks that are along the mississippi river road: great river bluffs, john latcsh, frontenac, afton, maybe william o brien, interstate, and wild river.

that’s an ambitious list, especially after what happened on friday when i couldn’t even get to three. this may take longer than i think it will 🙂

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