One of the things I always say I’m going to do every year is to see more stuff around home when we visit. I’m usually really bad about this, like this year I’ve seen nothing. But last fall I went to Interstate State Park and Franconia Sculpture Park with my parents one day!
This state park is on the Wisconsin/Minnesota border by the town of Taylors Falls, along the Ice Age Trail and the St. Croix River, and covers over 1,400 acres protecting unique glacial features and plant communities.
This is a great park to visit from the Twin Cities area or Eau Claire. It’s close enough to easily visit as a day trip from either but not crazy busy. There is also plenty to do to keep you busy for a whole day.
While you’re there do some hiking, boating, kayaking, fishing, rock climbing, or swimming, though you can’t bike in the park. Visiting in the winter? Don’t worry! There are 12.5 miles of trails for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
I’ve been debating what to do with this post since we went there last October (yes, a whole year of deciding what to write about it) and I finally settled on just sharing some pictures because I want to share them.
We set off in the morning and went to the state park first. It was perfect fall weather, if a little on the chilly side, but nice and sunny. We stopped at the visitor center first before hitting the trail.
I can’t remember the name of the trail we did, but it was the one to the right of the visitor center parking lot (if you’re looking at the VC.) The whole thing is through the woods but offers views along the way.
This trail takes you to a road and you can either turn back or cross and keep going to see glacial potholes so we kept going. This part of the trail takes you to wonderful views of the St. Croix River and part of Taylors Falls.
Then you head back into the woods to see the potholes, sometimes known as kettles. These are holes in the rock of various sizes usually formed by ice melting off glaciers and forming into streams. Then they pick up small rocks and other debris, that get carried over the surface of the rock, swirling water wearing the rock down into potholes over time.
After the potholes we headed back the way we came towards the visitor center before going over to Franconia for a couple of hours in the afternoon.
While our time in the park was brief, I really enjoyed it and would love to go back and see more of it, especially in the summer when its all green. I did love getting to enjoy the fall colors though since I don’t usually get to see them.
Have you been to Interstate State Park? What did you think of it? What is your favorite Wisconsin/Minnesota state park?