Exploring the Parks and Nature Areas Around Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls has 76 named parks throughout the city that range from small sites suitable for neighborhood gatherings and playgrounds to large well developed nature centers such as Great Bear Recreational Park, Arrowhead Park, the Wegner Arboretum and East Sioux Falls Historical Site, and the linked park system along the Big Sioux River. The state provides outdoor recreation areas and state parks including the Big Sioux Recreation Area, Beaver Creek Nature Area, Lake Alvin Recreation Area, Newton Hills State Park, and the Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls that is a joint city/state operation.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Big Sioux Recreation Area - Valley of The Giants: First Day of Winter

Dry conditions and warmer than normal temperatures continue to dominate this part of the northern plains, and we have taken walks in nature areas nearly each day. If the temperature is 30 degrees and there is no snow on the ground, hiking seems so much more preferable than going to a gym.
Today we returned to the Big Sioux Recreation Area for a hike along the Valley of the Giants trail. We began at the gazebo and entered the woods along a trail that parallels the Big Sioux River, leading from the heights down to the bottomland along the flood plain. We were surprised to find that there are still some green plants in the depths of the woodland.
Some of the bare trees along the way are quite interesting in silhouette, trees that might well pass unnoticed if leafed out.
There was intermittent sun appearing through the cloud cover that reflected off the river.
This walk allowed an opportunity to stroll along the shoreline on a beach that alternated from dried out mud flats to sandy stretches. Downed tree trunks that might be strainers during times of higher water extended across sections of the river flow.
We had a great time moving along the pathway and along the river bank. Taking these walks on December 21, the first day of winter and the longest day of the year, is a special seasonal gift that appears only rarely in this climate.

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