Go green Hike! Bluffs to Bottomlands to Downtown St. Paul

What We Did

highres_435033439Saturday, March 7, a group of about 20 hikers gathered at our historic St. Paul Union Depot for a Sierra Club urban parks hike. Though entirely on paved trail, the route is about 6 miles long and so is not easily doable as a round trip by average hikers. The solution was to take the #63 bus, a short block away from the Depot at Mears Park on 5th street. A 20 minute ride later we were dropped at the head of Battle Creek ravine on Mcknight Road (McKnight and Larry Ho Dr., an official bus stop – couldn’t be more convenient). As you can see from the pictures, we more or less filled the bus – great for Metrotransit! Our driver, Charlie, was very positive and informed us he had just returned from hiking in Costa Rica where he had used Sierra Club information to help him plan his hike.

The route highlights our area’s most iconic natural feature: the Mississippi River, with many wonderful views along the way. After exiting the bus, we made our way essentially down the bluff to the river through the Battle Creek ravine. We then followed the curve of the Mississippi in in the floodplain bottom lands near Pigs Eye Lake, and next made our way up to another bluff, this time at Mounds Park. There we followed the top of the bluff line until our final descent into downtown. Our end point was the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, where many of us stopped for lunch.

How To Plan This Hike

IMG_0487Go online (or phone) to Metrotransit.org or to google transit to get the schedule for the #63 bus and for current fares. Paper schedules are also available; be sure they are up to date.

The #63 bus can be accessed from any point along its route; in downtown it runs east on 5th street. The stop where we boarded on Mears Park is stop #11840, the 5th st. & Sibley/Wacouta stop, one block from the end of the light rail Green Line at the Depot. There are also many transfer possibilities from other lines in downtown St. Paul.

Take the bus for about 20 minutes and descend at the stop at McKnight Rd. and Larry Ho Drive (stop #3187). The trail along Battle Creek is immediately to your right (west) as you face in the direction of the bus.

Use Minnehaha Media’s St. Paul Trails Map or Google maps for way finding and mileages.

The end of the route can be a bit tricky to due construction of the Saints ball park; our group went around the chain link fence at the Metrotransit LRT facility, then  proceeded the block or so along Prince Street to the Black Dog at the Corner of Broadway.

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