Mental Health Day at Interstate State Park

Yes. State twice. It’s fun to say.

While we were planning on heading to the North Shore for a stay at Tettegouche State Park, we opted to hang around Minneapolis. Monday was to be included in the North Shore trip as well. Audra had the day off and I spent a day of PTO. This meant we had Monday to ourselves. How did we spend it? In the woods, of course.

Interstate State Park is situated on the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin. We stuck to the Minnesota side. The area around the park on the St. Croix River is known for its bluffs frequented by climbers and cliff jumpers alike. A quick hike in the north side of the park will show you why.

We spent an hour or so hiking on the top of the bluffs, hopping from boulder to boulder and looking down on the relaxing current of the St. Croix. I’m known to say every day is a perfect day for a hike, but the Monday spent in Interstate really was. High temperatures hovering around 70F, a gently breeze and not a cloud in the sky. The St. Croix valley is known for its brilliant fall colors and this day showed us a preview to the season.

The plan for the trip was to find a couple trees atop a bluff, set up a hammock and read a book/nap for a couple hours. My ENO hammock is always in my day pack when I hike. It can be set up in less than five minutes and fits in the smallest of day packs.

We hung the hammock and relaxed for a couple hours. The spot we chose was atop a 100′ bluff overlooking the river. A group of climbers were working on a crack in a similar bluff on the opposite bank. Audra and I both opened our books. She was finishing up “Divergent” by Veronica Roth while I was just beginning “The Wave” by Susan Casey. We spent two hours napping and reading in the shade while the gentle breeze rocked the hammock side to side. That was about as close to being hypnotized as I’ve ever been.

Map compliments of http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/maps/state_parks/spk00178.pdf

If you’d like to spend some time at Interstate, park in the upper lot close to downtown Taylors Falls. Driving north on Highway 8, you’ll see a visitors center and parking lot just before crossing the bridge into Wisconsin. Park at the end of that lot and you’re 50′ from the bluffs that line the St. Croix. It’s a quick, rocky hike to the river. Along the way, you’ll see potholes carved after the last ice age and educational plaques telling you all about the fascinating processes that shaped the landscape. Spring, summer and fall weekends are quite busy, so try to make a trip during the week and you’ll enjoy it much more.

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