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.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hiking the Lake Alvin Recreation Area

A hiking trail has been developed that follows the western shoreline of Lake Alvin, beginning in the recreation area boat launch parking lot and circling in a loop through a lower and upper portion of the park.  

The trail is clearly marked as it leads west from the parking lot.  It moves through willow brush and low trees and climbs to a junction, one way leading down along the shoreline and the other up into the hills overlooking the lake.

I took the lower pathway of the loop and moved through continuous tree cover that provides glimpses of the lake through the foliage. 

A bench is situated about halfway through this first loop in a location providing a nice view over the lake. 

As the loop continues, it moves up into the hills with a steadily increasing vista of a wide portion of the lake, offering both a north and a south elevated view. 

This part of the trail passes by a wire fence that separates the park property from homes built over this commanding view.

The trail then descends down the slope to the junction of the loop and ends at the parking lot. 

This is a fairly easy trail for most people; without stopping for photos, I would imagine that it would take about 20 minutes to complete the loop.  The trail adds another element to visiting the Lake Alvin Recreation Area; the recreation area is a fee site requiring either a park sticker or a daily admission.