This is the latest stop in the series 101 Things To Do. Each week through December 2020, we will select one place or activity around the region to highlight.
There is a new and improved version of Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park awaiting visitors this year.
Updates throughout the park should make a visit more enjoyable, starting with the new entrance from Keats Ave. South near the Innovation Road exit from Highway 10 .
“The entrance used to be off Frontage Road,” said Robin Nelson, senior office staff member for the Washington County Parks Division. “This makes easier access for people who want to use the park.”
At the entrance, a new pay station allows visitors to use a credit card to buy a daily or annual pass. Beyond the entrance, the main park road and the parking lots have new pavement and the parking space has been expanded.
Near the parking lot, a new playground was added with a variety of activities for kids of several ages. A nearby picnic shelter is available on a first-come basis.
“We have a master plan for more improvements,” Nelson said. “There are continuing upgrades throughout the park.”
To accommodate the renovations, the park was closed for the 2017 season and reopened to the public in June 2018. Part of the improvements included removing several acres of buckthorn, honeysuckle, and other invasive species of plants that had been causing problems for the park. Plans include more removal of invasive species to help restore the oak woodlands to a more natural state.
The 515-acre park contains many trails for biking, hiking, and cross country skiing. Those wishing to cross-country ski will need a Minnesota Ski Pass which costs $6 daily or $20 annually.
“The DNR stocks the lake, and fishing has become very popular,” Nelson said. A fishing pier near the parking lot provides easy access to the Ravine Lake.
The DNR website describes Ravine Lake as “a hidden gem of a fishing lake that has nice walleye and largemouth bass. Tucked away in a valley, this is also a great lake/park to go birdwatching at. Herons, egrets, hawks, and eagles can all be seen in and around the lake. It is also a popular ice fishing lake.”
“There is a good variety of activities,” Nelson said. “There is something for everyone to do.”
If you go...
Name: Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park
Address: 9653 Keats Ave. South, Cottage Grove, Minn.
Hours: 6 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Admission: Daily permit is $7; Annual permit is $30