|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – March 2014
As soon as the ice thaws, take advantage of these season starters.
Medium Loop, Carleton College Cowling Arboretum, MN
See the first signs of spring on this 2.6-mile ski or snowshoe (with options to extend). Set out along Spring Creek, home to mallards and Canada geese. Continue along the partially iced Cannon River (begins melting in March), where bald eagles soar once the trout- and bass-filled water flows. At the fork at mile 1.3, either head back or turn right to add a 1.8-mile spur to a cattail marsh and mature oak-walnut forest. Trip data
Tiemann Shut-Ins Trail, Millstream Gardens CA, MO
St. Charles, MO
Follow the St. Francis River past whitewater on this 6-mile out-and-back. Hike 1 mile through a shortleaf pine forest to see Class IV and V rapids, where car-size granite rocks clog the river. (Time it for the Missouri Whitewater Championships occurring March 15 and 16.) Listen for barred owls hooting (even at midday) and pileated woodpeckers drumming en route to a sandbar picnic spur at mile 2. Turn around at Silver Mines Recreation Area. Trip data