Parks with Paige

by Paige O’Farrell

Hiking is one of my favorite outdoor activities to do throughout the year. While I’ve always enjoyed hiking, I never really knew about the amazing hiking available in the Sioux Falls area. I thought all of the good hiking trails had to be in the mountains. However, over the past couple of years, I discovered that some of the best hiking trails are right around Sioux Falls!

Good Earth at Blood Run

Good Earth is by far my favorite place to explore around the Sioux Falls area. The park is located on the east side of Sioux Falls. The park offers a wide variety of trails that wind through forests, prairies, and riverbanks. Not only does the park draw people in for its hiking trails, but the area is filled with rich Native American history and culture. Blood Run is one of the oldest sites of human activity in the United States.

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Gitchie Manitou

Gitchie Manitou is almost directly across the Big Sioux River from Good Earth. This Iowa state preserve shares much of the same Native American history as Good Earth. The preserve is the perfect place for a short walk outside. The trail is not very long, but offers gorgeous views. The shaded trail winds along the Big Sioux River and small rose quartz outcroppings. Some highlights of the preserve include an old rose quartz building and a large pond.

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Blue Mounds

Blue Mounds is located in Luverne, Minnesota. The park is popular for campers, climbers, and hikers. The park is made up of a variety of different landscapes. On one hike, you can hike high above the surrounding area through the prairie, down along the edge of 100-foot quartzite cliffs, and along the Mound Creek. You’ll never run out of new sights to look at!

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Newton Hills

Newton Hills is located in Canton, South Dakota. The park offers a wide range of activities such as: camping, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and swimming. The miles of trails take you up and down the wooded hills in the park. The overlook tower is one of the highlights of the trails. The tower allows you to see down into the valley, above the tree tops.

Arrowhead Park

Arrowhead Park is on the east-side of Sioux Falls. This park is extremely popular for families. A vast majority of the trails are paved and easy to walk. The trails leads you around various quartzite ponds and through the prairie. This park is also popular with dozens of geese and ducks. Many people visit the park to feed or watch the birds.

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These are just a few of the many parks around the Sioux Falls area available for people to explore. I highly recommend that everyone visit these parks. Not only do they offer amazing hiking trails, but they can also give you insight into the rich history of the area. Hopefully, this inspires you to get outside and find your park!

Paige is a naturalist intern at The Outdoor Campus. She is studying Sports, Recreation, and Park Management at South Dakota State University.

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