Crystal Spring SNA

               
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Area and County

Washington County

 

 

 


Size

38 acres

Printable map
 
Maps

Detail map (MN DNR)

Printable Map with GPS coordinates

 
Parking

Park on the east road shoulder only
N45 15.792, W92 46.095

 
Hiking Trails

No maintained trails (see Comments below)

 
Hunting

No hunting


Ecological Classification

Province

Eastern Broadleaf Forest Province

Ecological Classification

Section

Minnesota & NE Iowa Morainal

Subsection(s)

St. Paul-Baldwin Plains

Land Type Association(s)

Maplewood Moraine

Stillwater Alluvial Plain

 
Native Plant Communities1

Not mapped or map not published (5/29/2017)

Preliminary listing:

Black Ash - (Red Maple) Seepage Swamp

Red Oak - Basswood Forest (Noncalcareous Till)

Red Oak - White Oak - (Sugar Maple) Forest

Wet Sandstone Cliff (Southern)

 
Natural Features

Exposures of Jordan Sandstone and Saint Lawrence Shale.


Ownership Minnesota DNR logo        
 
Links

Minnesota DNR


Comments

Hiking Trails
A hiking corridor leads from the parking area to the SNA. An old forest road leads from the SNA sign to a clearing in the forest. From there, a hiking trail leads past a hidden cove to the south boundary of the SNA. Visitors are asked to stay back from the cliffs and off the steep slopes.

Hidden Cove
The hiking trail eventually passes a set of winding steps that leads down a bluff and out of sight. The steps end at a sandstone cliff about 25 feet above a stream. A narrow trail at the base of the cliff but only halfway down the steep bluff leads to a hidden cove. The north wall of the cove is dry cliff exposing two bedrock layers, Jordan Sandstone and Saint Lawrence Shale. A spring at end of the cove bubbles into a “crystal” clear pool which overflows down the cliff to Zavoral’s Creek below.

Zavoral’s Creek
Zavoral’s Creek is a short (0.58 mile), high quality (water quality rating “A”), perennial stream that passes through Crystal Spring SNA. It contains several waterfalls and supports a healthy population of brook trout.

History
This site was designated Crystal Spring Scientific and Natural Area on January 19, 2016. It was not published on the Minnesota DNR Website until May 2017.

Overview
On rare occasions we come across a wild space so fragile or beautiful that we hesitate to publish it. We want to keep it to ourselves, to protect it and prevent it from being spoiled. The hidden cove at Crystal Spring Scientific and Natural Area, Minnesota’s newest SNA, is that kind of place. Crystal Spring SNA is near Taylor’s Falls in northern Washington County. Its 38 woodland acres are mostly red oak forest with small areas of black ash swamp.

A forest road and then a well-worn hiking trail lead from the northwest corner to the southeast corner of the SNA. The hiking trail eventually passes a set of winding steps that leads down a bluff and out of sight. The steps end at a sandstone cliff about 25 feet above a stream. A narrow trail at the base of the cliff but only halfway down the steep bluff leads to a hidden cove. The north wall of the cove is dry cliff exposing two bedrock layers, Jordan Sandstone and Saint Lawrence Shale. A spring at end of the cove bubbles into a “crystal” clear pool which overflows down the cliff to Zavoral’s Creek below. The steep walls of the gorge, the waterfall, and the lush vegetation join to create an alluring natural attraction.

Four species with conservation status in Minnesota have been seen here: butternut, an endangered species; and American ginseng, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Red-shouldered Hawk, all special concern species.


Visits

6/1/2017

   

 

 

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Where to Park

  Crystal Spring SNA   Crystal Spring SNA
       

Where not to park

  Crystal Spring SNA    
       

Hiking Corridor

  Crystal Spring SNA   Crystal Spring SNA
       
  Crystal Spring SNA   Crystal Spring SNA
       

Wood Routed Sign

  Crystal Spring SNA   Crystal Spring SNA
       

Red Oak - Basswood Forest (Noncalcareous Till)

  Crystal Spring SNA    
       

Winding Stairs to Hidden Cove

  Crystal Spring SNA    
       

Narrow Trail Along the Base of the Cliff

  Crystal Spring SNA   Crystal Spring SNA
       
  Crystal Spring SNA    
       

Exposed Bedrock

  Crystal Spring SNA   Crystal Spring SNA
       
  Crystal Spring SNA   Crystal Spring SNA
       

Wet Cliff

  Crystal Spring SNA   Crystal Spring SNA
       

“Crystal” Spring

  Crystal Spring SNA   Crystal Spring SNA
       

Zavoral’s Creek

  Crystal Spring SNA    
       
       
       

 

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MinnesotaSeasons.com Observations

   

Amphibians

American toad (Anaxyrus americanus)

American toad


Birds

Two bird species with conservation status in Minnesota have been seen here:

 

Special concern

Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla)

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)

 
 

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)

Blue Grosbeak (Passerina caerulea)

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)

Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)

Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)

Eastern Wood-peewee (Contopus virens)

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)

Veery (Catharus fuscescens)

Black-capped Chickadee

Blue Jay

Mourning Dove

Red-winged Blackbird


Fungi and Lichens

Artist’s Conk (Ganoderma applanatum)

Black Knot (Apiosporina morbosa)

Dryad’s Saddle (Polyporus squamosus)

False Turkey Tail (Stereum ostrea)

Smooth Patch (Aleurodiscus oaksii)

Dryad’s Saddle


Insects and Arachnids

chokecherry finger gall mite (Eriophyes emarginatae)

linden leaf gall mite (Eriophyes tiliae)

white-striped black (Trichodezia albovittata)

chokecherry finger gall mite


Mammals

American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)

whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

American red squirrel


Plants

An American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was found here on 6/1/2017. It has no conservation status in Minnesota because it is not known to occur naturally in the state. The tree on this site was most likely planted.

 
 

Two plant species with conservation status in Minnesota are found here:

 

Endangered

butternut (Juglans cinerea)

 

Special concern

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

 
 

Plants frequently found in:

Black Ash - (Red Maple) Seepage Swamp WFn57a

Red Oak - Basswood Forest (Noncalcareous Till) MHc36a

Red Oak - White Oak - (Sugar Maple) Forest MHs37b

Wet Sandstone Cliff (Southern) CTs53a

 
 

 

absinth wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)

Allegheny blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis)

American basswood (Tilia americana var. americana)

American chestnut (Castanea dentata)

American hog peanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata)

American starflower (Lysimachia borealis)

annual fleabane (Erigeron annuus)

bigleaf aster (Eurybia macrophylla)

bigtooth aspen (Populus grandidentata)

bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis)

black ash (Fraxinus nigra)

black cherry (Prunus serotina var. serotina)

black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis)

black walnut (Juglans nigra)

black-seeded plantain (Plantago rugelii var. rugelii)

bland sweet cicely (Osmorhiza claytonii)

bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

boxelder (Acer negundo var. negundo)

bristly greenbrier (Smilax tamnoides)

bulblet fern (Cystopteris bulbifera)

bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa var. macrocarpa)

Canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadense)

Canada moonseed (Menispermum canadense)

Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense)

chokecherry (Prunus virginiana var. virginiana)

cleavers (Galium aparine)

common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)

common burdock (Arctium minus)

common cinquefoil (Potentilla simplex)

common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale ssp. officinale)

common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis)

common false Solomon’s seal (Maianthemum racemosum var. racemosum)

common lilac (Syringa vulgaris)

common mullein (Verbascum thapsus ssp. thapsus)

common polypody (Polypodium virginianum)

curly dock (Rumex crispus)

drooping trillium (Trillium flexipes)

early meadow rue (Thalictrum dioicum)

eastern false rue anemone (Enemion biternatum)

eastern poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans ssp. negundo)

eastern prickly gooseberry (Ribes cynosbati)

eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana)

eastern white pine (Pinus strobus)

fragile fern (Cystopteris fragilis)

giant chickweed (Myosoton aquaticum)

giant goldenrod (Solidago gigantea)

graceful sedge (Carex gracillima)

gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa)

hairy-stem gooseberry (Ribes hirtellum)

interrupted fern (Osmunda claytoniana)

ironwood (Ostrya virginiana var. virginiana)

Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)

Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)

kidney-leaved buttercup (Ranunculus abortivus)

large-flowered bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora)

late goldenrod (Solidago altissima)

limber honeysuckle (Lonicera dioica)

lyre-leaved rock cress (Arabidopsis lyrata ssp. lyrata)

meadow horsetail (Equisetum pratense)

Morrow’s honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii)

nodding trillium (Trillium cernuum)

northern bedstraw (Galium boreale)

northern lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina ssp. angustum)

northern maidenhair (Adiantum pedatum)

northern pin oak (Quercus ellipsoidalis)

northern prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum)

northern red oak (Quercus rubra)

ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris var. pensylvanica)

pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

paper birch (Betula papyrifera var. papyrifera)

Pennsylvania buttercup (Ranunculus pensylvanicus)

Philadelphia fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus var. philadelphicus)

pointed-leaved tick-trefoil (Desmodium glutinosum)

red clover (Trifolium pratense)

red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa var. racemosa)

red maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum)

red pine (Pinus resinosa)

reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea)

rose twisted-stalk (Streptopus lanceolatus var. longipipes)

rosy sedge (Carex rosea)

rough bedstraw (Galium asprellum)

round-leaved dogwood (Cornus rugosa)

rue anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides)

Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris)

scouring rush horsetail (Equisetum hyemale var. affine)

sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis)

shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)

skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)

smooth brome (Bromus inermis)

smooth rose (Rosa blanda var. blanda)

smooth Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum var. commutatum)

stinging nettle (Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis)

sugar maple (Acer saccharum ssp. saccharum)

touch-me-not (Impatiens sp.)

upright carrionflower (Smilax ecirrhata)

veiny pea (Lathyrus venosus)

Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

Virginia stickseed (Hackelia virginiana)

white avens (Geum canadense)

white baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)

white campion (Silene latifolia ssp. alba)

white clover (Trifolium repens)

white oak (Quercus alba)

white rattlesnake root (Nabalus albus)

white spruce (Picea glauca)

white-flowered leaf-cup (Polymnia canadensis)

wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

wild geranium (Geranium maculatum)

wild ginger (Asarum canadense)

wild grape (Vitis riparia)

wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis)

wild yam (Dioscorea villosa)

winter cress (Barbarea vulgaris)

woodbine (Parthenocissus vitacea)

woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca ssp. americana)

yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis var. alleghaniensis)

yellow wood sorrel (Oxalis stricta)

zigzag goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis)

 

Acer negundo var. negundo (boxelder)

Acer rubrum var. rubrum (red maple)

Acer saccharum ssp. saccharum (sugar maple)

Actaea pachypoda (white baneberry)

Adiantum pedatum (northern maidenhair)

Amphicarpaea bracteata (American hog peanut)

Aquilegia canadensis (wild columbine)

Arabidopsis lyrata ssp. lyrata (lyre-leaved rock cress)

Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)

Arctium minus (common burdock)

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-in-the-pulpit)

Artemisia absinthium (absinth wormwood)

Asarum canadense (wild ginger)

Athyrium filix-femina ssp. angustum (northern lady fern)

Barbarea vulgaris (winter cress)

Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)

Betula alleghaniensis var. alleghaniensis (yellow birch)

Betula papyrifera var. papyrifera (paper birch)

Bromus inermis (smooth brome)

Capsella bursa-pastoris (shepherd’s purse)

Carex gracillima (graceful sedge)

Carex rosea (rosy sedge)

Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)

Castanea dentata (American chestnut)

Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle)

Cornus alternifolia (pagoda dogwood)

Cornus racemosa (gray dogwood)

Cornus rugosa (round-leaved dogwood)

Cystopteris bulbifera (bulblet fern)

Cystopteris fragilis (fragile fern)

Desmodium glutinosum (pointed-leaved tick-trefoil)

Dioscorea villosa (wild yam)

Enemion biternatum (eastern false rue anemone)

Equisetum hyemale var. affine (scouring rush horsetail)

Equisetum pratense (meadow horsetail)

Erigeron annuus (annual fleabane)

Erigeron philadelphicus var. philadelphicus (Philadelphia fleabane)

Eurybia macrophylla (bigleaf aster)

Fragaria vesca ssp. americana (woodland strawberry)

Fraxinus nigra (black ash)

Galium aparine (cleavers)

Galium asprellum (rough bedstraw)

Galium boreale (northern bedstraw)

Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)

Geum canadense (white avens)

Hackelia virginiana (Virginia stickseed)

Impatiens sp. (touch-me-not)

Juglans nigra (black walnut)

Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana (eastern redcedar)

Lathyrus venosus (veiny pea)

Lonicera dioica (limber honeysuckle)

Lonicera morrowii (Morrow’s honeysuckle)

Lysimachia borealis (American starflower)

Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)

Maianthemum racemosum var. racemosum (common false Solomon’s seal)

Matteuccia struthiopteris var. pensylvanica (ostrich fern)

Menispermum canadense (Canada moonseed)

Myosoton aquaticum (giant chickweed)

Nabalus albus (white rattlesnake root)

Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)

Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)

Osmorhiza claytonii (bland sweet cicely)

Osmunda claytoniana (interrupted fern)

Ostrya virginiana var. virginiana (ironwood)

Oxalis stricta (yellow wood sorrel)

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)

Parthenocissus vitacea (woodbine)

Phalaris arundinacea (reed canary grass)

Picea glauca (white spruce)

Pinus resinosa (red pine)

Pinus strobus (eastern white pine)

Pinus sylvestris (Scotch pine)

Plantago rugelii var. rugelii (black-seeded plantain)

Polygonatum biflorum var. commutatum (smooth Solomon’s seal)

Polymnia canadensis (white-flowered leaf-cup)

Polypodium virginianum (common polypody)

Populus grandidentata (bigtooth aspen)

Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)

Prunus serotina var. serotina (black cherry)

Prunus virginiana var. virginiana (chokecherry)

Quercus alba (white oak)

Quercus ellipsoidalis (northern pin oak)

Quercus macrocarpa var. macrocarpa (bur oak)

Quercus rubra (northern red oak)

Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved buttercup)

Ranunculus pensylvanicus (Pennsylvania buttercup)

Rhamnus cathartica (common buckthorn)

Ribes cynosbati (eastern prickly gooseberry)

Ribes hirtellum (hairy-stem gooseberry)

Rosa blanda var. blanda (smooth rose)

Rubus allegheniensis (Allegheny blackberry)

Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)

Rumex crispus (curly dock)

Sambucus racemosa var. racemosa (red elderberry)

Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot)

Silene latifolia ssp. alba (white campion)

Smilax ecirrhata (upright carrionflower)

Smilax tamnoides (bristly greenbrier)

Solidago altissima (late goldenrod)

Solidago flexicaulis (zigzag goldenrod)

Solidago gigantea (giant goldenrod)

Streptopus lanceolatus var. longipipes (rose twisted-stalk)

Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)

Syringa vulgaris (common lilac)

Taraxacum officinale ssp. officinale (common dandelion)

Thalictrum dioicum (early meadow rue)

Thalictrum thalictroides (rue anemone)

Tilia americana var. americana (American basswood)

Toxicodendron radicans ssp. negundo (eastern poison ivy)

Trifolium pratense (red clover)

Trifolium repens (white clover)

Trillium cernuum (nodding trillium)

Trillium flexipes (drooping trillium)

Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis (stinging nettle)

Uvularia grandiflora (large-flowered bellwort)

Verbascum thapsus ssp. thapsus (common mullein)

Vitis riparia (wild grape)

Zanthoxylum americanum (northern prickly ash)

absinth wormwood

Allegheny blackberry

American starflower

black cherry

black raspberry

bloodroot

Canada mayflower

chokecherry

common evening primrose

common mullein

early meadow rue

eastern false rue anemone

eastern prickly gooseberry

eastern redcedar

large-flowered beardtongue

Morrow’s honeysuckle

northern bedstraw

northern pin oak

northern prickly ash

Philadelphia fleabane

red clover

red elderberry

smooth rose

Virginia creeper

white baneberry

white campion

wild columbine

wild geranium

woodland strawberry

yellow wood sorrel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

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