Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Day Hikes: Eagle Bluff Nature Center

This weekend, after one and half weeks of rain, the sun decided to come out and play! And it was the perfect fall day to go for a day hike. For a while now I have been wanting to go to one of our most popular hiking areas, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center in Lanesboro, MN. Founded in 1978, Eagle Bluff is a private, non-profit residential environmental learning center providing accredited environmental education programs & outdoor adventures in the scenic bluff country.

This wonderful center started as a place where kids could come to be closer to nature, and it has grown into a year-around residence where kids can come to learn about nature and leadership. The facilities are amazing—from dormitories to obstacle courses like high ropes—they have everything they need to learn but also have fun while doing it.

So, with much anticipation, I headed to pay this center a visit. First, I have to say that while I love the trails, the center is not user friendly. Some of buildings that should’ve been opened, like the Discovery Center or the Visitor Center, were indeed open but no staff was on site. I spent the first 45 minutes looking around, going in and out of desolate buildings, and finally I found a map. Unless you have a map, the trails (especially the trails heads) are poorly marked and they were hard to find. There was another couple that arrived at the same time, so we split looking for signs of life. Finally we all decided to just stay go hiking separately on the trails we did find after 45 minutes.

But after all of this… it was worth it. The autumn colors were beautiful, the air was crisp and the sun was shining enough to break a sweat. The highlighted trails on the map below, shows the ones I walked. To be honest, it was more wandering from trail to trail-- again, they were so confusing at first.
Thankfully, the frustration of this trails layout quickly subsided as I found myself surrounded by the beautiful fall foliage. Really, my photos do not do it justice. I was able to find the overlook offering beautiful vistas of the Root River, and then hiked down to the River Monitoring station by the river's shore. Along the way, I passed one of the rope courses, the staff residential cabin which is like #cabingoals.

Then, I tuned back and went via the southern highlighted trail on the map which was very steep and had my calves on fire.  As I approached the end of the trail, imagine my surprise when I found a trailhead sign.  For the record, this trail sign is not easily visible from where the actual trail starts-- it is about 300 feet and behind a building.  Annoying much? But in all, not a bad hike.  Not sure I will be back though.  But who knows? Anybody else feels disappointed when disappointed by a trail system?


  1. Gorgeous Autumn colors. We don't have much color going on now in Southern New Jersey, but there is still time to hope. It's gotten cold so I expect next week will bring a colorful change in the landscape.

    1. And enjoy it once it arrives because it goes by fast!

  2. Wow, these photos are beautiful! Seeing it in person must have been breathtaking. The fall colors are gorgeous!!

  3. Your photos are really stunning! Especially I love the banner with those golden larches ❤︎

  4. Great photographs. You persevered in spite of your initial frustration. I love your Fall colors.