We didn’t have a ton of time on today, so we kept it close to home with a trip to Lebanon Hills. If you haven’t made it out there, you are missing out! It is definitely worth the drive to take a nice quiet walk in the woods.
I’ve always enjoyed maps, and one of my favorite aspects of Lebanon Hills is the way things are set up for easy navigation through the myriad of looping trails within the 2,000 acre park. Every intersection has a unique reference number, which allows you to easily locate yourself on the map. Then, just choose where you want to go next! They even have posts with arrows pointing down the trail to other reference numbers, to make sure that you are properly oriented. Fool proof!
This is an absolutely perfect introduction to maps for kids, or for yourself if you rely a little too heavily on that GPS or smartphone. This system also gives you the ability to take a detour if you have a bunch of energy at the end of your planned hike, or cut one short if you just aren’t feeling up to it. I have seen this system at a couple other parks within the last year and certainly hope that it will become more common.
I’ve added a link to the trail map so you can get an idea about what I’m talking about. The main part of the park is on page two of the link.
The visitor center is also worth a visit, especially if you have kids under 5. There is a pretty neat little play area with blocks, books, crayons, and other things to amuse them. They also make an effort to attract a large variety of birds in a feeding area behind the building, which can be viewed from inside.
They also have a sandy beach in the summer, and rent out a variety of boats. They have a network of lake trails and portages within the park. This would be a great way to warm up for the a trip to the Boundary Waters! I will definitely be back to try out the canoes, and will be sure to post after that.
Feel free to leave a comment about Lebanon Hills or your favorite place to find peace and quiet in the Twin Cities; we’d love to hear from you!
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