One does not simply live in Mankato and not visit Seven Mile Creek Park. At least, that is my new mantra for life here in southern Minnesota. This park is 628 acres, includes eight miles of multi-use trails, and it is simply too good to miss out on. I’ve been wanting to visit it for some time now, but the park has been closed due to the construction on Highway 169.
I finally got the chance over the weekend. On the way to St. Peter, Seven Mile Creek Park is a left turn across 169, into an area that looks kind of small and dumpy from the road. However, once inside, I was shocked at how expansive the park is. It has a beautiful lawn area for games of Frisbee and other sports, as well as volleyball courts and campfire rings. I saw two separate playgrounds and three shelters. The park is open from sunrise to sunset and can host groups of 45 or more participants.
Don’t be surprised if you see hoofprints on the trails or even run into a couple people on horseback, as Seven Mile Creek is a popular place for trail riding. The trails also accommodate hikers and bikers. I would like to take my cross-country skis there this winter, but so far I am unsure if there are ski trails available. There are nine numbered trails on the map near the park shelter, each one spanning anywhere from 0.1 to 2.3 miles in length. There are a variety of distances for a variety of people, and those looking for a much longer hike could do multiple trails in one day.
Seven Mile Creek itself flows throughout the park and it is a designated trout stream, which the Department of Natural Resources stocks every spring.
I had a very relaxing experience at Seven Mile Creek. I walked the first trail, and marveled at the beautiful moss-covered gradients of rock creating a wall along one side of the path. Even though multiple people came by with their dogs or bikes, I was still able to enjoy my solitude in the woods. I had brought along a thermos of hot water, so I made a ramen bowl at one of the many picnic tables along the trail. When you visit, please do your part to keep the park clean and leave no trace of your presence. I disposed of my litter at one of the bright blue barrels designated for garbage along the trail.
This park is a must for college students looking for an escape into the outdoors. It is a very peaceful location, and the forested areas conceal the fact that it is so close to the highway on one end. It is a great location for children, group sports, and photo opportunities. If you’re looking for some time in a green, fresh space, Seven Mile Creek is definitely worth a special trip up the highway.