LENGTH 2 miles
DIFFICULTY Super easy
DATE March 28, 2016
MAIN FEATURES Very accessible trails, shoreline trail, great for young families
Today we were able to hike not one, but TWO Hiking Club Trails in one day. We started at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park, hiked their 3.2 mile Hiking Club trail and climbed the tower. Packed up, lint-rolled off the ticks and drove 20 mi to Father Hennepin State park. The drive took us along the shore of the great Mille Lacs Lake, through Wahkon to Isle, MN. The park entrance is right before town and was easy to miss. We drove right past it the first time.
Father Hennepin felt more like a small town city park than a State Park. We were surprised to see that they have 100 campsites. The only one there to greet us was a large eagle feasting on a fish on the frozen lake as we drove in, the park office was closed and we had the park to ourselves. The park itself was closed to car traffic today, so we parked outside the gate and started our hike there.
This trail is 2 miles long and the first half of the trail follows the Mille Lacs Lake shoreline. It was cool to be able to see the ice start to split, but we were surprised to see that the massive lake was still frozen out as far as the eye could see. The first mile is very easy, paved and accessible to those who may have limited mobility or be pushing a stroller. This would be a fun place for young families or those who are just getting started camping but maybe not so much fun for backpackers or those who are looking for more privacy and wilderness.
The second mile of the trail took us through birch forests, mud puddles, and connects to the Soo Line bike trail. The weather was perfect at 60 degrees and sunny and we kept our eyes peeled for the white albino deer that is a legend in the area. It may have seen us…but we were not lucky enough to see it this time.
It was a rare treat to get in a full day of hiking in two parks, see 11 bald eagles and still get home by dinner! Two more Hiking Club passwords and 6 more miles towards our DNR 125!