Reservoir Woods Park, St. Paul, Minnesota

Even if you live in a city, you can probably find a trail to reconnect with nature. This trail is very close to St. Paul, Minnesota’s capitol city. Larpenteur Avenue is the border between St. Paul and Roseville. The city seems far away once you are just a few steps in from the parking lot. If you have dogs, let them run free in one of the two off leash areas. Both are right next to the parking lot on Larpenteur Avenue.

This park is wonderful in any season. In September of 2019 I met a family of deer.

I thought that if I stood there long enough, the deer would move and I would have exciting wildlife footage. They outlasted me. On the way back I saw the same deer family again. This time they did cross my path, but they were further away.

paved trail and orange diamond shaped sign that says, "0.8"
I like these signs. There is one almost every tenth of a mile. Some are missing.
platform in the woods
This beautiful spot is just past the 0.8 mile marker.
Woods. orange diamond shaped sign "1.4". and brown rectangular sign that says it is the end of the trail.
End of the paved trail, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your hike. Go north a short distance up Victoria Street and then re-enter the park using the dirt trail.
large tree
Back in April of 2019 I was walking on a dirt trail in the northern part of the park when this tree impressed me. Looks like many individual trees grown together. Reservoir Woods is home to Minnesota’s largest Butternut tree, and I believe this is it. If I am wrong, please comment!

The main trail of 1.4 miles is paved. There are many dirt trails that crisscross the rest of the park. There is a pedestrian tunnel under Dale Street, so there is no need to deal with traffic. In the winter, I prefer the secondary trails because ice is less of an issue.

I walked this park on January 15, 2023 which was a warm day after a heavy snowfall. The branches still had a lot of snow on them but not for long. A big lump of snow landed on the trail right in front of me. Shortly after that another one landed right behind me. I figured it was just a matter of time until one landed on my head, but I kept going. I was hoping to film this phenomenon but the snow did not cooperate. While I was trying to do this, some people I know came along the trail and it occurred to me that I may have looked silly. No matter. At the same time, a friend I had not seen in a very long time happened to be on the trail. We might not have recognized each other if the first group of people had not greeted me by name. We had a long conversation that I enjoyed very much. Such a good day.

Being aware of how I spend my time is always important to me. Choosing to be outside is almost never the wrong choice. I’ve been working with that last photo in my artmaking. It’s a work in progress, as is life.

painting of trees

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