Sunday, October 17, 2010

Log Creek Arches

This morning I headed down highway 23 through some sleepy Minnesota towns like Duquette, Kerrick, and Bruno. I was on a mission to find a group of natural arches described in the Banning State Park map and brochure. By around 11 am I found myself in Askov, Minnesota and I drove to where I thought the trail would be based on what I found labeled on my Banning State Park map. Unfortunately, it looked like the trail-head was located on private property and so I moved on to the park office to talk to one of the park employees about the trail's location.

This employee gave me some vague information and drew a few lines on my map that followed the park boundary for a bit. She also put a mark on the map that to me suggested the location of the arches. So with my newly gained information I set out to find the fabled Log Creek Arches. I crossed the Kettle River, made a left on Banning Boundary Road and set out on foot on some recently mowed snowmobile trails.

I followed the grassy trails to near the point marked on my map but found nothing resembling an arch or even an outcropping of sandstone. I followed the park boundary back to the car and drove back to the information center. Luckily, there was another employee there when I returned and he gave much better directions.

I returned to Banning Boundary Road and followed my new directions to a sandstone gorge unlike anything I've seen before in the state of Minnesota. In fact, the gorge here looked like something someone unearthed out of the Red River Gorge in Kentucky and transported to Minnesota on a large flatbed truck. There were sheer sandstone walls, rockshelters, and yes, some arches.
Log Creek Arch

When I had heard about the arches I had no idea what to expect. I couldn't even find any photos or information about them on the internet. I figured they would be some really small potholes that had eroded through a layer of sandstone to form a small arch. I was pleasantly surprised then the arches I found were quite significant; larger than some of the ones I had hiked to in the Red River Gorge.

I spent quite a bit of time walking along the sandstone walls and on some ledges searching for arches, inspecting the rock shelters, and inspecting the few inscriptions I found in the soft sandstone seeing if they could be petroglyphs.


Christopher Griffith said...

Hi, I was just on Banning St Parks page and came across the names of this place. I grew up only a couple miles away from the park and spent a lot of time traipsing through the undergrowth and deer trails finding little gems and such but until today I had never heard of this place or laid eyes on it. I am curious if you would be willing to give me some details as to how I would be able to get to this place. Thanks!

Eric and Noelle Grunwald said...

Christopher, it's been a long time since my visit to the Log Creek Arches. I do not remember how I got there. My advice would be to ask at the visitor center. Sorry.

Christopher Griffith said...

Okay, thank you for getting back at me!