Walking in the woods is a calming experience. The Japanese even have a word for it, Shinrin-yoku, which means “forest bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere.”
I find that I am often magnetized to forest paths. Especially in the spring and fall, without mosquitos and in these transitional times there is so much to see and feel. And it’s good for kids, too. My kids seem to slough off some of the city anxieties when their fit hit the soft leafy paths. Their curiosity seems to fall into rhythm with the speed of the forest.
We are lucky to have some great places to forest bath, here are some that me and my family love:
Big Woods State Park (Nerstrand) – Amazing in the spring and fall. One of the few remnants of how the Big Woods maple-basswood forest felt. In the spring you can experience huge swaths of woodland ephemerals. Has a great waterfall too.
Banning State Park (Sandstone) – My favorite park. The rocky narrow Kettle River is a favorite of sport kayakers and everything feels like you are in Colorado or Montana. The old quarry on-site and just to the south in Sandstone adds to the intrigue.
Wild River State Park (on the St. Croix) – Another great woodsy park. Always amazed at the Pennsylvania sedge and interrupted fern under the trees.
Fort Snelling State Park
Coon Rapids Dam Park
Lebanon Hills Park