BEST PLACE TO HIKE Minneapolis 2006 - Interstate State Park
Of Minnesota's three major rivers, the St. Croix is by far the loveliest. Its waters run cleaner and clearer than those of the Mississippi or the Minnesota. That's not the main appeal. Plainly put, the St. Croix Valley is home to some of the most stunning scenery in all Minnesota. And nowhere is that scenery more dramatic than at Interstate Park. With its jagged rock cliffs, waterfall, and whitewater rapids, the park is sheer eye candy. The dramatic rock formations—produced by lava flows released when a series of earthquakes rocked the region more than a billion years ago—provide breathtaking vistas from all angles. At just 300 acres, Interstate Park is on the small side. But it contains plenty of diversity in that limited chunk of real estate: flood plains, running water, campsites, and forests of oak, maple, and pine. The hiking trails that crisscross the park range from challenging to easygoing. And if the natural splendor doesn't provide you with enough entertainment, you can hunt for rocks, go fishing, or have a picnic. Best of all: It's an easy day trip from the Twin Cities. In light traffic conditions, you can get there in about 45 minutes.