Wandering Pine is reader-supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!  Learn more.


LENGTH 5.5 miles
DATE  Jan 6, 2018
MAIN FEATURES Flat trail with views of the river and 9 mile creek.

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1976 to provide habitat for a large number of migratory waterfowl, fish, and other wildlife species threatened by commercial and industrial development, and to provide environmental education, wildlife recreational opportunities, and interpretive programming for Twin Cities residents.  More…

The morning started out at -7 degrees without windchill, but was considerably warmer than last week’s New Year’s day hike.   I wore a few less layers and welcomed the sun!   On the top layer I wore: a thin wicking shirt, 2 thin fleece shirts, merino wool jacket and a vest.   Sounds like a lot of layers, but it was great to be warm with lots of thin layers instead a of a big puffy one.   I also tried the neoprene face mask I’ve had laying around for a while.  It worked great, but I am still trying to figure out how to protect my eyes without fogging up.

We are all smiling under those balaclavas.  “Who’s who on hike #2?”

This trail was recommended by a friend (the ninja in the middle) and is popular with trail runners.   We saw a few of them pass us while we were out.   Not even a mile into our hike, we saw a BIG bald eagle, the first one of the year!   A little later we would see a big owl fly by…the rest of the animals at this Wildlife Refuge must have been snuggled up somewhere today.   I am always encouraged by the little chickadees that puff up and sing a bright song even on the coldest of days and the little mouse tracks that dot the trail.

Let it flow, let yourself go Slow and low, that is the tempo…

The valley trail is mostly flat (with a few hills that were closed due to ice) and easily accessible.  The toughest part of the trail for us today was a patch of ice that seemed to be some sort of flow/melt from the hills.

img_7689.jpgWe enjoyed views of Nine Mile Creek, which is popular with mountain bikers and looked in the holes for fish whenever we could.

img_7673.jpgWe hiked around 5.5 miles in the sun.  Even on the coldest days the sun makes such  difference!   The temps were already 10 degrees when we finished our hike!

I’ve been talking a bunch about layering, and staying warm lately…and the importance of getting outside even when its cold.   Got any good tips?   Post em here!


Happy Trails!



Subscribe to our handy newsletter for curated Art and Adventure content, upcoming events and new releases!

Thanks for being here!

privacy policy

Let's Keep in Touch!

Our curated art and adventure content features trip reports, outdoor skills, upcoming classes and shop updates delivered straight to your inbox 1-2 times per month.

We don't spam and you can unsubscribe at anytime.

4 thoughts on “Hiking Minnesota National Wildlife Refuge: Nine Mile Creek

  1. Getting outside when it’s so cold is tough but worth it! Some advice I got last year that was a game changer was to put a hand warmer in my pocket where I keep my phone. It helps keep my phone from freezing!

  2. I think winter hikes are my favorite, I just wish we got more snow in Indiana. If it’s going to be cold, there should be snow. Thank you for the layering and hand warmer tips! My phone froze New Years Day lol

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.