At a Glance
Tucked between Interstate 35E and St. Paul’s North End neighborhood, Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary offers a quick dose of nature to the Mini Adventurer. The site’s main natural features are a beautifully restored tallgrass prairie and a bubbling brook. The trails are a mix of asphalt and gravel, and it’s common to see dog walkers and bicyclists enjoying the site. A beautiful mural greets you as you enter from the north. There’s always something new to see at Trout Brook!
- Portable toilet (2020)
- Mix of asphalt and gravel trails
- Picnic Tables
- Water Fountain (off in 2020)
- Bathroom with running water (closed during 2020)
- Bonus: train tracks run adjacent to the site, so train sightings are common- always a plus (despite the noise!)
- Asphalt-only “out and back” = 1.6 miles. If you want to stick to asphalt trails, you can do an “out and back” walk on the main trail through the sanctuary.
- Small loop, mix of asphalt and gravel = 0.75 miles. This loop starts with a left turn after leaving the mural underpass. Turn right up the hill before crossing the rusty red bridge to connect to the asphalt trail. Stay right at the asphalt trail intersection and head back to the parking lot.
- Big loop, mix of asphalt and gravel, with a variable and tricky* creek crossing = 1.3 miles. Turn left after leaving the underpass mural, and stay left and cross the rusty red bridge. On the south end of the sanctuary, and after re-crossing the creek, turn right at the asphalt intersection to head back toward the parking lot.
*The creek crossing is not accessible to everyone, and often requires hopping across stones or balancing on a poorly-anchored wooden plank.
Ideas for your Mini Adventure
- Play “I Spy” in the Maryland Avenue underpass mural as you pass through.
- Encourage independence in your adventurers by suggesting they take a “solo hike” on one of the short creek viewing spur trails that split off from the main gravel trail.
- Wander close to the creek on a spur trail and sit quietly to listen to and watch the water flow slowly by on its way to the Mississippi River.
- Keep an eye on the skies for hawks, eagles, and songbirds.
- During the growing season (April-Oct), look for a blooming flower and use an online guide to identify it (We like www.minnesotawildflowers.info).
- Try your hand at catching grasshoppers (July-August).
- Keep a look-out for Wooly Bear caterpillars on the move (Oct).