Rice Lake State Park is located in southern Minnesota, just a short jaunt off of I-35. This is a convenient location for us because this is the route we travel frequently to visit my family that lives north of Minneapolis/St. Paul. It is a relatively small state park. Our stop here was mainly to complete the 2.4 mile hiking club trail.
When we arrived we stopped at the Park Office and I chatted with the park ranger for a while. She was very friendly and very informative. This time of year, I imagine there aren’t too many people coming through the doors so the ranger enjoyed the conversation.
After getting some tips for the trail, we headed to the parking area and set out on the hike. Although the hiking club trail starts near the picnic area, the road is closed during the winter so we had to park near the boat ramp. The girls were super excited because there was snow here-our first snowy hike. It was hard to keep the girls up on their feet instead of rolling around in the snow and eating the snow.
The trail starts off by following Rice Lake. It is an easy, flat hike but has beautiful lake views. It passes by the cart-in sites and then winds around through the picnic area with a playground and then eventually you come up on the drive-in campground.
Once the trail veers away from the lake, it makes its way through a beautiful prairie. I am not sure what it was but this was my favorite section of the trail. You come out of the woods to the wide open, native prairie.
Eventually the trail loops back around past the park office and meets back up with the parking area. Like I mentioned, it was an easy hike but the girls throughly enjoyed it. I think the snow was the highlight though!
After completing this hike, we reached our first milestone of the hiking club. We finally reached the 25 mile mark. Every 25 miles you earn a patch and a sticker to put into your hiking club journal. Elsie was very proud of the new patch she earned.
A few notes about the park: It is located close to Owatonna, MN about 11 miles from I-35 in southern Minnesota. There is a campground in the park that has 40 sites, 18 with electricity and all are available for reservations. The lake is the highlight of this park.
- Date of Travel: Saturday, December 16th, 2017
- Total Miles Hiked: 3 miles (2.4 hiking club miles)
- Total Hiking Club Miles Completed: 27 miles