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Trip Hints

Favorites for spring

Searching for morels
When days get warmer, fungus hunters get ready to root out the much-sought treat.
Wallowing in wildflowers
In 12 tried-and-true spots, you'll find a profusion of blooms.
Living in a lighthouse
Around the Great Lakes, volunteers keep the light on for tourists.
Minnesota's Boundary Waters
For canoeists, this vast wilderness is the promised land.
Spring bird festivals
After a long winter, birders welcome the return of feathered friends.
Planning a Circle Tour of Lake Michigan
For a great summer road trip, follow the shores of this Midwestern Riviera.
Planning a Circle Tour of Lake Superior
For a great vacation, follow the shores of the world's largest freshwater lake.
Twin Cities history ride
On a scenic loop from Minnehaha Park to downtown St. Paul, bicyclists see how it all started.

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FastPlans/Looking for wildflowers

Marsh marigolds at Split Rock.

If we ever needed to see the bright faces of the first spring wildflowers, this is the year. The first wave of ephemerals is blooming now, and the second wave will continue into early June.

Where to look: You'll see some in almost every park. To get a little more space for yourself, visit one of the many Minnesota scientific and natural areas (SNAs) and Wisconsin state natural areas, many of which protect rare and endangered flowers.

Nature Conservancy preserves host many interesting plants. Wildlife refuges, nature preserves and environmental learning centers also are good places to look.

Details and identification: For more, see Where to find spring wildflowers and our Facebook album of 50 spring wildflowers.

Past fast plans: Spotting eagles, Piles of snow in the Porkies, Madison for kids, Skiing Minnesota's North Shore, Fun around Ely

Best of spring

When warm weather arrives, it's time to tiptoe through the tulips.

Wildflowers in Trempealeau.

This year, winter stuck around for so long that it seemed as if spring never would come. Now, the challenge is to get out there and enjoy spring in the short window before summer gets here. 

What to do? Go on a spring drive, see fiddlehead ferns unfurl and surround yourself with that delicate shade of chartreuse that seems to tint the air green.

Kayak on cattail-lined creeks, stalk morel mushrooms and watch Dutch dancers clogging on the street.

Here are our picks for the best things to do in spring.

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15 great trails to ride in spring

On a bike, get out to see what's new in the countryside or city.

Spring bicycling on the Root River State Trail.

In spring, everything moves so fast you need wheels to see it all.

Two wheels are perfect, because bicycle trails are little nature corridors in spring. Warblers zoom back and forth, nabbing twigs for nests, and wildflowers bloom on sunny edges.

You'll also want to check out new trails and see what's new along favorite trails.

Here are some of the best to ride in spring.

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20 great spring hikes

The scenery along these lovely trails will put a spring in your step.

Bluebells in Kaskaskia Canyon.

What's so great about hiking in spring? That's easy – there's so much to see.

Move your feet in any direction and you'll run across wildflowers, waterfalls and, best of all, sweeping views that last only until the trees leaf out.

Head out before summer makes its brash appearance, with walls of greenery and fleets of bugs.

Here are 20 great places to go hiking in spring. 

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At SNAs, step off the beaten path

To get a piece of quiet, visit one of many state natural areas.

Dwarf lake iris grow in Door County

One spring, I hit the nature-lover's jackpot, almost without trying.

Exploring a septet of Minnesota's scientific and natural areas, or SNAs, I found more pasque flowers in bloom than I'd ever expected to see in a lifetime.

I saw a panorama of the Mississippi as the Dakota would have seen it 200 years ago. I walked under the budding canopies of old-growth forests and listened to choruses of courting frogs.

Wow! An SNA, it turns out, is a fantastic place to see spring at full throttle.

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Wildlife reality show

Web cams open a window into the lives of bald eagles and other wild things.

Starr, Valor I and Valor II on the nest.

In the northeast Iowa town of Decorah, two pairs of nesting bald eagles have become an international phenomenon.

Not only do they have a constant stream of live video, but avid watchers are snatching the best episodes — capturing the many dramas that go on in and around the nest — and posting them on Youtube for everyone to enjoy.

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