Quarry Park and Nature Preserve

Mel and I woke up hankering for a new adventure, so after doing a little bit of internet sleuthing, we decided that we should check out one of the Stearns County Parks called Quarry Park and Nature Preserve. It was totally badass. As the name suggests, it’s an old rock quarry that’s been converted into a park. There are giant piles of rectangular chunks of granite hanging out all over the park – sometimes neatly stacked in rows, but usually just thrown into giant heaps. The best attraction is that all the old quarry pits are now filled with water.

Quarry Park 1
See all the rock piles and stuff?

Mel and I were mostly interested in what the web page referred to as “Scientific and Natural Areas.” Here’s a photo tour of what we found:

Quarry Park 2
Some of the "Trails" are more like roads.
Quarry Park 3
It's a peaceful pond. Deal with it.
Quarry Park 4
Peeps are rock climbing.
Quarry Park 5
Peeps were scuba diving in this one because I guess it's hella deep.


Quarry Park 7
KP and I are just kickin' it.
Quarry Park 8
Cool reflection, huh?
Quarry Park 9
At the scenic overlook.
Quarry Park 10
Scientific Area! We didn't check it out because it was also a Mosquito Pit.
Quarry Park 11
And here's the swimming hole.
Quarry Park 12
Lots of People, but I'm sure it gets way crowded on days with nicer weather.
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Cliff Jumping!
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I'm about 80% sure that's me sticking half out of the water.
Quarry Park 15
KP takes a dip at the Quarry!

The Quarry was awesome. I definitely recommend you check it out. @garciasn had warned that it can turn into a drunken-college-kid-fest at times, but it was totally family friendly while we were there on a Saturday mid-afternoon that was a little overcast. But I can see how on a super-hot day the place would be swarming with college kids and the park rangers would be unable to enforce the “no alcohol” rule. I would definitely be there more often if it was closer to home.

After we left the park, @emoeby┬árecommended we stop at lunch in St. Cloud at Val’s Hamburgers, and it was definitely an experience. The whole restaurant could fit on my front porch, and it’s take-out only. Mel and I both agreed that the burgers and fries looked and tasted exactly like McDonald’s (I’ll let you decide if that’s good or bad).

Vals Hamburgers
Val's Hamburgers = Looks and Tastes Just like McDonald's

We didn’t stick around to see any more of St. Cloud, since it looked like what was once a cool little town had been sufficiently ravaged by “progress”, although we did stop at Eastman Park long enough to eat our burgers and found it to be quite pleasant.

3 thoughts on “Quarry Park and Nature Preserve”

  1. Wow, that looks awesome. Might have to make a trip up there on our way to the cabin sometime.

    Sorry about Val’s. I assume looking and tasting just like McDonalds wasn’t a good thing. My parents love the place, and I think it’s been there forever, but I’ve never even been ­čÖé

  2. @Moe – the hiking is very easy going. Most of the trails are wide enough to drive a car down,and they’re all totally flat. Make sure to bring bug spray. The park is big enough and interesting enough that it kept our attention pretty easily for several hours, and that was without going into the Science Area, which is bigger than the park itself. And, of course, you can kill as much time as you want at the swimming hole. I could spend all day there.

    I didn’t dislike Val’s. If I was a local, I’m sure I’d eat there a lot – but I have a reputation for liking some pretty terrible food…

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