Interested hikers and walkers are invited to join the Walk on the Wild Side Thursday Night hikers, an aggregation of hiking enthusiasts from the Minnesota Rovers, the North Star Ski Touring Club, the Sierra Club, and others, for an evening of hiking, conversation, and conviviality.
The group schedules hikes Thursday nights March through December, rain or shine/hot or cold. The hikes are open to any interested hiker or walker. Hikes begin at 7:00 PM and conclude at approximately 8:30 PM. There is no cost to participate. Hikes are moderately paced and typically cover about four miles. If you have questions, email Chris Olson .
Articles mentioning the group that may be of interest can be found at The Line and Star Tribune.
May 2013 Hikes
May 2, 2013: Minnehaha Creek West Hike (Minneapolis)Hike Leader: Tom Ellerbe
Join the hiking group for a hike up along the scenic western portion of Minnehaha Creek from Lynnhurst Park in south Minneapolis. Minnehaha Creek is the only outlet of Lake Minnetonka. The creek winds 22 miles from Gray's Bay on the eastern edge of Lake Minnetonka to the Minnehaha Falls and the Mississippi River. The Dakota name for Minnehaha Creek was "Wakpa Cistinna", meaning "little river." The watershed for the creek covers 181 square miles. Lake Minnetonka was not discovered until in the year 1822 a young drummer boy from Fort Snelling, Joseph Brown, and his young friend, John Snelling, son of the commander, went into the Indian Country down Minnehaha Creek in their canoe. The creek became known as "Brown's Creek" and later the creek was renamed "Minnehaha Creek." Thirty years later, a period of rapid settlement began, and crude boats went up the creek to Lake Minnetonka. Initially, Lynnhurst Park was mostly marsh, and, in the 1880s, formed the northwesterly end of a millpond created by the Richfield Mills dam on Minnehaha Creek at Lyndale Avenue. The millpond was drained before the turn of the century and only a narrow tributary of the creek now runs out of Lake Harriet. Lynnhurst Park was the finishing touch to the Burroughs School neighborhood in the 1920's.
Directions: Take I-35W South out of downtown Minneapolis to the West 46th Street exit. Proceed west (right) on West 46th Street ten blocks to Lyndale Avenue and turn south (leftt) and go four blocks to West 50th Street. Proceed west eight blocks on West 50th Street to the Lynnhurst Park parking lot, just north of the Lynhurst Community Center, and just west of where Minnehaha Parkway, Humboldt Avenue South and West 50th Street come together.
May 9, 2013: Gateway Trail Hike (North St. Paul/Oakdale)Hike Leader: Chris Olson
Join the group for a hike along the northeastern portion of the Gateway Trail, a State developed "rails to trails" trail, in North St. Paul and Oakdale. The Gateway Trail is the Metro area portion of the Munger Trail. The trail was originally a Soo Line RailRoad rail line. The rail line was abandoned over 20 years ago and, after much controversey and some lawsuits, was converted into a biking/hiking/horse-riding trail by the State Department of Natural Resources. Willard Munger (1911-1999) was a long time State legislator from Duluth, the last Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party member elected to a State office, and an ardent environmentalist. His political accomplishment include a authoring a ban on the pesticide DDT in Minnesota before a national ban was enacted, creating sewage sanitary districts, rivers and wildland protection, recreational trails, and authoring legislation that created the state's Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund. The Soo Line RailRoad was initially established to provide Midwest grain farmers with an alternative rail transportation route. Because the east terminus of the line was Sault Ste. Marie, the railroad took the "Soo" name. The Soo Line incorporated the Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic RailRoad early in the 20th Century, assumed much of the former Milwaukee Road trackage and rolling stock in 1985, and suffered the subsequent spin off of the core of the original railroad to Wisconsin Central Ltd. The Soo Line was owned by the Canadian Pacific RailRoad and the Soo Line rolling stock is being redesignated and repainted as CP equipment.
Directions: Take Hwy. 36 to Hadley Avenue in Oakdale. Turn south and go 1/4 block to 55th Street North. Turn east (left), and go ˝ mile to the parking lot on the south (right) near the I-694 overpass. The parking lot for the trail is located near the intersection of Hwy. 36 and I-694.
May 16, 2013 : Big Rivers Trail Hike (Northern Dakota County)Hike Leader: Barb Clarke
Join the hiking group for a hike on Dakota County's "Big Rivers Trail" along the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, on a late 1800's rail bed converted to a hiking/biking/roller blading trail. The trail is built on the rail bed of the Minnesota Central RailRoad, one of Minnesota's oldest railroads. In 1857, the Minnesota Central RailRoad was incorporated by a special act of the Minnesota Territorial Legislature and was an early predecessor of the Milwaukee Road. The Minnesota Central RailRoad was built by Selah Chamberlain (1812-1886), who also was its president, and who also built the Rutland & Burlington RailRoad in Vermont, built parts of the Lake Champlain RailRoad, and engaged in the construction of the Cleveland & Pittsburg RailRoad. In 1865, the Minnesota Central RailRoad became the first railroad to serve the Minneapolis West Side Mill District along the Mississippi River. In 1867, the Milwaukee & St. Paul RailRoad bought the Minnesota Central RailRoad, changed the name of the merged railroad to the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul RailRoad in 1874, and later shortened the name of the railroad to the Milwaukee Road.
Directions: Take I-35E from St. Paul across the Mississippi River and exit at Highway 13 (Sibley Memorial Highway). Take Highway 13 east (turn left) about 1/4 mile to the intersection with Lilydale Road and turn south (right) on Lilydale Road. Lilydale Road winds down a steep hill to the St. Paul Yacht Club. Park in the trail parking lot, located off of Lilydale Road, just south of the railroad underpass, before reaching the Yacht Club.
May 23, 2013 : Trout Brook Hike (St. Paul)Hike Leader: Chris Olson
Join the hiking group for a hike along the Trout Brook hiking/biking trail in St. Paul, another "rails to trails" trail development. Trout Brook flows through St. Paul, was a tributary to Phalen Creek, and is the outlet of McCarron Lake in the former Rose Township. John E. McCarron, a farmer who lived beside the lake, was born in 1839, came to Minnesota in 1849, served in the Fourth Minnesota Regiment in the Civil War, and died in St. Paul, in 1897. Trout Brook was named after Edmund Rice's Trout Brook Estate, which was sold to the Northern Pacific in 1883. Edmund Rice (1819-1889) was born at Waitsfield, Vermont, came to Minnesota in 1849, was a lawyer with the firm of Rice, Hollinshead & Becker from 1849 to 1855, was president of the Minnesota & Pacific RailRoad and of the St. Paul & Pacific RailRoad from 1857 to 1872, and died at White Bear Lake. Trout Brook and Phalen Creek, which drains Lake Phalen, joined together, and once formed a wetland at the Mississippi River. The bridging of this wetland was a costly headache for the City of St. Paul in the mid and later Nineteenth Century. Baptist Hill, an unwanted mound of glacial drift 50 feet high, in what is now Mears Park, was carted away to fill this wetland. In 1893, city engineer George Wilson undertook the task of burying the lower reaches of these streams, even though some other segments had been roofed over before this. Wilson's handiwork still exists, distinguished by its Platteville Limestone rubble masonry walls and steel beam ceiling.
Directions:  Take I-35E north out of downtown St. Paul to the Maryland Avenue exit. Go west (left) on Maryland about 1/2 mile to Jackson Street and turn north (right) on Jackson Street. Proceed on Jackson Street approximately 1/2 mile to Arlington Avenue. Turn west (left) on Arlington and go about 1/8th mile and park at the U. S. Post Office Rice Street Station, 40 Arlington Avenue East, parking lot, on the south side of the street.
May 30, 2013 : Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden (Minneapolis)Hike Leader: Linda Quammen
Join the group for a hike among the butterflies and wildflowers of the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden in Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis. Theodore Wirth championed an expanded park system during his tenure as Superintendent of Minneapolis Parks from 1906 to 1935. He had a reputation of being a dynamic, progressive, energetic leader who loved flowers, but frequently clashed with Eloise Butler. Wirth Park includes the "Eloise Butler Wild Flower Garden," developed by the school teacher and amateur botanist in 1907, after the Park Board initially turned down her request and she successfully led a citizens’ campaign for the preservation of wild flower areas. After the garden outgrew its original three acre fenced site, and plants were vandalized or stolen, Butler begged for fencing, but Theodore Wirth was busy developing golf links, ski facilities, and a bathhouse in the Park and he brushed her pleas aside. Finally, in 1923, Butler became so determined not to see her life's work so badly treated, she spent $700 dollars of her own money to have the fence constructed. Butler was dumbfounded when Wirth offered to reimburse her for the cost of the fence.
Directions:  Take I-394 West and exit at Penn Avenue, then go south to the Frontage Road. Proceed west and turn north (right) on Theodore Wirth Parkway. Proceed north, following the signs, to the Garden, which will be on the right hand side of the road. There are two parking lots for the garden, one on the bottom of the hill and one on top of the hill by the entrance gate. There is a $1 Minneapolis Park Board parking fee at either lot.
June 2013 Hikes
June 6, 2013: TBD
June13, 2013: TBD
June 20, 2013: TBD
June 27, 2013: TBD
Listing of Hikes
Thursday Night Hikes hike directory (alphabetic)
Thursday Night Hikes hike directory (geographical)
Thursday Night Hikes hike directory (seasonal)
Local Weather and Related Information
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Links to Other Outdoor Activities
St. Paul Hiking Club
Superior Hiking Trail Association
Twin City mountain bike trails
North Country Trail Organization
Kekekabic Trail Organization
Collection of Twin City Architecture and Walking Tour Sites
Anoka County Regional Parks
Carver County Parks
Dakota County Parks
Suburban Hennepin County (Three Rivers Park District) Parks
Ramsey County Parks
Scott County (Three Rivers Park District) Parks
Washington County Parks
Last Updated: May 1, 2013.