Skip navigation

Red Cedar State Trail

In the last few days I’ve had a chance to hike the trail from Menomonie to Downsville. On Saturday it was a beautiful morning so my wife and I decided to take a walk on the Red Cedar Trail. Normally this time of year it is a ski only trail but with the lack of snow and warm weather it has remained open for hiking.

Shadows On Sandstone

We drove down to Irvington and then hiked to Downsville. We hadn’t really planned on hiking that far but it was a beautiful day and by the time we reached the six mile marker we realized it wasn’t that far to Downsville. The fact that we like to stop at the Downsville Coffee House for lunch helped us decide to keep going.


The trail was mainly snow and ice covered the entire way. There is a good base on the trail if we would ever get more snow. A few skate skiers had been skiing the trail but there were no tracks for classic skiing. There are an increasing number of bare spots on the trail and with the warm weather today they were muddy.

Afternoon Reflections

We saw quite a few birds along the trail. Several flocks of Cedar Waxwings that seemed to be feeding on bugs. There were quite a few bugs that looked like mosquitoes but I expect (hope) they were something else. We saw a number of ducks and geese along the river. As we neared Downsville there were a large number of Bald Eagles circulating above the river. At one point we counted 15 mature and immature eagles. Several of them were involved in courtship flight. Unfortunately they were a little far to get a good shot. In all we saw over 20 Bald Eagles on the hike.

Edge Ice

There wasn’t a lot to photograph. The main subject was leaves that were slowly melting into the snow. This is usually a subject for mid to late March. Later in the afternoon there are some good shots of reflections in the river to be had.

Ice Wall

This afternoon I hiked the stretch from Menomonie to Irvington. Today there were more patches of gravel (Mud) on the trail than there was on Saturday. Not a lot to see. The Bald Eagle was on the nest in the large pine tree across from the ice wall at the 1.5 mile mark. I watched it for a while then turned around to take some photos of the ice wall. When I looked back there was a eagle flying across the river heading right for me. In a maneuver only I could make I quickly tried to focus on the eagle and change the aperture setting at the same time. Unfortunately just as the eagle came into a clear view I managed to turn the camera off rather than change the aperture.


It’s unfortunate that the weather hasn’t been colder. With the lack of snow the Red Cedar Trail has been open to hiking so more folks could have walked down to the ice wall. Even with the warm weather there was some nice ice on the wall.

Update; With the recent snow the trail has been closed to hiking once again. I think the DNR is a little overly optimistic about the potential for skiing but it’s not my call.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: