Scenic overlook trail
I visited Camden State Park twice, both on Saturdays after work. The first visit I went to the scenic overlook and Dakota Valley Trail in late Sept. I started for the overlook trail, but got sidetracked right away by the little pond and swimming beach. A small creek had been dammed to create the pond, which was green and didn't look very appealing for swimming. The creek flows down into the Redwood River and I watched a high school student get her senior pictures taken there. I was tempted to play on the playground, but instead took off for the scenic overlook. The trail was nice - it wound down through the woods following that little creek before turning and heading up hill. The view from the overlook was not very scenic.
little falls along the trail
All I could see were the tops of the trees, which hadn't really started changing color yet. No views of water or rocks or anything else. It might be nice in a couple of weeks when the leaves change more.
I kept following a trail that somehow became the Dakota Valley Trail which is the Hiking Club Trail. Minnesota State Parks have this cool Hiking Club where you go to each park and hike the one hiking club trail. Halfway through the hike is a blue sign with a hiking club password that you enter into your little book. The book states how many miles each trail is and you log your miles in your book. After so many miles you get little awards or patches or something. I'm not a member of the club, but I photograph the signs just in case I want to join the club later.
They also have a program where you collect "passport" stamps into a little State Park Passport and collect patches for so many parks visited (I collect patches, so this sounds fun!). I just found out about this program and of course I have been to many parks that I don't have stamps for. I haven't decided if I'll join either program but I might just for the patches ;)
The Dakota Valley trail is up on the top of some hills and skirts the edge of the forest and the beginning of the prairie. The rolling hills are from a glacial moraine. I lived and worked on the prairie for a few years, and I'm really not a fan of it. I prefer trees. I also came to see fall colors, but there weren't many trees to look at up on the prairie.
view from the overlook
The one interesting part was where the trail goes down into a steep ravine and there are caution signs along the trail. I think the signs may be for the bikers and horseback riders. Daylight was getting low by the time I found my way to the end of the trail. I decided to walk a little longer along the river. The water was really low and you can see all the rocks sticking up. The water was flowing pretty slow so you could get some really nice reflection shots of the fall colors. On the way out of the park I stopped at the railroad overpass but no trains were going by.
My next visit was a couple of weeks later and the leaves had been changing more. I wanted to check out the river trail but as soon as I pulled in it started raining.
word of caution to the hikers
So I waited it out and then took off down the wet trail. It was gorgeous with all the orange leaves on the ground and yellow leaves on the trees. The trail was a nice windy trail with a little bit of up and down. The trees along the river were also pretty. I planned on following the entire river trail and linking up with another trail across the river, but there was no bridge over the water and I didn't feel like wading since it was a little deep (and cold and wet). I sat on a little bench at the end of the loop and enjoyed the view and the sound of little water droplets. What? Is it raining? Sure enough, it just started raining and I was at the farthest point from my car. I decided to do a walk/jog back, especially when I thought I heard it thunder. I wanted to make it back to the railroad underpass, thinking I might get a little shelter from it, but the bridge was too high above my head to provide much shelter. I slipped on the boardwalk and was momentarily afraid that I would fall into the river, but I didn't. I hustled back to my car, sad that my hike was cut short and I was cold and wet.