The great entrance sign showing the history of the park as you enter.
I eventually found the parking area near the historic fort site and monument. This high bluff type area certainly provides a strategic position at the top of a few valleys. I quickly spotted several Bald Eagle moving on the wind currents and both a light and dark morph Rough-legged Hawks moving back north.
After reading some signage and taking a number of historic site pictures I found the hiking club trail nearby.
One section of many building foundations that are all that remain on this location. The mixed in signage paints a good picture of the history.
Any time the sun is right with an obelisk type setup I get one of these blocked illumination pictures for some reason. This monument was erected to commemorate the site and likely provide some much needed eye appeal to what is otherwise a pretty flat historical location.
Deeper into my hike this view shows the museum building and the monument near the old fort foundations.
Much of it appeared to be in the upper prairie and Oak Savannah so I figured it would be a nice hike with limited ice and snow cover.
That was true with a few slope runs that were a bit treacherous as I had to navigate melt water runs as only a few winter hold overs were heard moving about like Dark-Eyed Junco and American Tree Sparrow.
American Tree Sparrow giving me the eye while hiking the trails.
I completed the near 3 mile loop and never saw the Hiking Club password sign so I'm not sure if I just straight missed it or if the sign was not present. I caught all the directional signs, but never saw a password sign so I'll have to see what I can do about that in the event I decide to buy the hiking club trail packet.
My list of birds was thin, but I had a great hike and noted some good prairie, lowland river/stream, and Oak Savannah habitat in the relatively small park. I would like to come back to this location with the wife for the historical value when the museum is open to enjoy the full experience of the state history on display.
The Great: Good trails, nice diversity of habitat though limited for waterfowl along with a great historic element that helps add extra value to a park. I can see coming back at some point when the wife is interested in seeing the fort grounds and museum, though it may not be during this years effort unless I make an attempt to find Red-headed Woodpecker or something on the spring/fall migration.
The Meh: Not finding a password sign sucked and I noted a couple times where the hiking club trail was actually just paved road taking you right down the heart of the campground section so I could see this trail being very people heavy during the warm months. It was still very nice and worth the effort.
The Verdict: I'll come back and enjoyed the relative solitude the location offered while I hiked. I just don't see a ton of bird value during most time frames that would force me to return for some kind of specialty, but we'll see.