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LENGTH 17 miles of trails, we did 11.5
DIFFICULTY Easy, flat, sandy soil
DATE July 7, 2018
MAIN FEATURES Horse trails, sunny prairies, forest, lake and river views. I’m experimenting with posting from my phone (via backyard hammock) for the first time so we’ll see how this goes. Today’s hike started early at Crow Hassan Regional Park in Rogers, MN with the Women Who Hike Minnesota group. I needed a long hike today so I set up a choose your own adventure event with a 6 am crew and a 7:30 AM crew or an option to do both. We ended up doing a total of 11 1/2 miles!
The 6am crew started a little late because of my gps. Note: If you are trying to navigate to this park with your phone use Google map instead of the Maps option. The maps option kept taking me to the middle of the town of Hanover. We met at the parking lot and headed straight down the dirt road towards what we thought was the 5 mile loop.I remember getting turned around a lot at this park when I came here with the scouts two years ago for our 10 mile hiking merit badge hike. We ended up taking a different loop that was a little over 4 miles long to get back to meet the second crew by 7:30.
Crew 2 was ready to go at 7:30, but we took a detour from the loop because it was completely overgrown. Crow Hassan regional park is one of the wildest of the Three Rivers Park system. There are no paved trails most of it is deep sand and often the grass is overgrown. It’s a great hike with very few people. But I often hear people say that they got turned around on the trail here. It’s like the Bermuda triangle!
We found some mud. And we found ALL OF THE BUGS. THEY ARE ALL RIGHT HERE AT THIS PARK. YES! THEY ARE! ALL. HERE. The bugs were really after us at this park. I got a chance to try out my new Sea to Summit bug jacket that I picked up two years ago at an REI garage sale. I had first seen one on Isle Royale. But I had never used it until today. It was a little scratchy on bare skin but it worked great and kept the bugs off of me. It will definite Come in handy if the bugs are going to be as bad as they are this year. I have read that it softens with use, but right now it’s pretty scratchy.
We encountered horse campers on our hike! I was curious about this on my Lake Louise State Park hike and was glad to see horse campers in action. I was sure to put my silver hiking umbrella away when we came near the horses and one of the owners told me to keep it away because it would scare them. So, FYI keep your umbrellas away from horses…they don’t like umbrellas.
After the Horse camp we came to the shore of the crow river through another sunny Prairie and had views of another lake.
The majority of the trail is deep sand, which must be good for the horses. Although it was uneven, it was really soft on the feet!The trailhead parking lot that was empty when we got there was now completely full of horse trailers and trucks. This is a very popular park with horse owners and I was glad to see them using it. They also have a designated spot at the trailhead to clean your shoes with a ground brush as well as a handheld brush to make sure that you are removing invasive species from your shoes (or hooves!) both entering and leaving the park. This is a really good leave no trace practice to get into at any hiking spot.
We ended our hike where we started and laughed at the difference in what we had planned on hiking versus what we actually hiked. All in all I’m glad we saw more of the park instead of doing two identical 5 mile loops. We only missed 6 miles of trail that the park offers so that’ll leave something for us to check out next time.Patch toting Women Who Hike!Not too shabby for my 37th hike of the year! Have you been to Crow Hassan regional Park? Have you ever horse camped? I would love to hear your experience. Happy trails! ~WP