Crystal Spring SNA

 

 

     
 
About
 
 

Ownership

 
 

Minnesota DNR logo

 
     
 

Links

 
 

Minnesota DNR

 
     
 

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 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.

 
     
 

History

 
 

This site was designated Crystal Spring Scientific and Natural Area on January 19, 2016. It was published on the Minnesota DNR Website in May 2017.

 
     
 

Management

 
 

 

 
     
 

Comments

 
 

 

 
     
 
Location
 
 

Maps

 
 

Detail map (MN DNR)

 
         
 

Printable Map(s) with GPS coordinates

 
  Printable map      
         
 

Size

 
 

38 acres

 
         
 

Parking

 
 

Park on the east road shoulder only

N45 15.792, W92 46.095

 
         
 

Driving Directions

  Area and County  
 

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          Washington County  
          Metro Area  
     
 
Activities
 
 

Hiking Trails

 
 

There are no maintained 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. 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.

 
     
 

Hunting

 
 

No hunting

 
     
 
Ecology
 
 

Ecological Classification

  Ecological Classification  
  Ecological Province    

Eastern Broadleaf Forest Province

   
  Ecological Section    

Minnesota & NE Iowa Morainal

   
  Ecological Subsection    

St. Paul-Baldwin Plains and Moraines

   
  Land Type Association    

Maplewood Moraine

Stillwater Alluvial Plain

   
             
 

Native Plant Communities*

   
 

Not mapped (10/11/2021)

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)

   
  * Source: The Minnesota Biological Survey, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Ecological Resources      
         
 

Natural Features

     
 

Exposures of Jordan Sandstone and Saint Lawrence Shale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

           
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

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      

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
Crystal Spring SNA
minnesota_snas
  Crystal Spring SNA  
 
About

Description: This 36 acre site in Washington County was designated as a SNA in 2016. For brief periods during the year, heavy rain and seasonal snowmelt enter from above, coursing through ravines and dropping over a sandstone ledge into a gorge. But the real action here is less about this occasional fleeting waterfall than about what happens year-round at the foot of the ledge, where a perennial spring seeps from between layers of Jordan sandstone.

www.mndnr.gov/snas/sna02068

 

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

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Other Videos
 
  Crystal Spring Scientific and Natural Area Virtual Hike
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
 
   
 
About

Aug 25, 2020

Crystal Spring SNA is a hidden gem, carved by water. For brief periods, snowmelt and rain create a fleeting waterfall that plunges over a sandstone ledge into the gorge. But the real action here is the perpetual spring that bubbles forth from between the layers of sandstone.

This site is fragile. Please enjoy gently. Even if you never visit this SNA in person, you can rest assured knowing that this piece of Minnesota’s natural heritage it protected in perpetuity.

mndnr.gov/snas/sna02068

 

 

Camcorder

           
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

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MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
 

Visits

6/1/2017                
 
 

Amphibians

 
  American toad (Anaxyrus americanus)   American toad  
 

Bacteria, Viruses, and Other Pathogens

 
         
 

Birds

 
 

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

Special Concern

Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla)

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)

 
 

eBird Field Checklist

 
 

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

 
 

Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Fungi List

 
 

Artist’s Conk (Ganoderma applanatum)

Black Knot (Apiosporina morbosa)

Dryad’s Saddle (Cerioporus squamosus)

False Turkey Tail (Stereum ostrea)

Smooth Patch (Aleurodiscus oakesii)

  Dryad’s Saddle  
 

Insects and Arachnids

 
 

lime nail gall mite (Eriophyes tiliae)

plum finger gall mite (Eriophyes emarginatae)

white-striped black (Trichodezia albovittata)

  plum finger gall mite  
 

Mammals

 
 

American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)

whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

  American red squirrel  
 

Plants

 
 

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

Endangered

butternut (Juglans cinerea)

Special Concern

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

 
 

Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas and Minnesota Biological Survey Vegetation Releves Plant List

 
 

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 hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana var. virginiana)

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)

Canadian wild ginger (Asarum canadense)

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 (Claytosmunda claytoniana)

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 var. 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 baneberry (Actaea rubra ssp. rubra)

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 ssp. 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 var. intonsus)

Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

Virginia stickseed (Hackelia virginiana)

white avens (Geum canadense)

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 leafcup (Polymnia canadensis)

wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

wild geranium (Geranium maculatum)

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)

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 rubra ssp. rubra (red 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 (Canadian wild ginger)

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

Barbarea vulgaris (winter cress)

Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)

Betula 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 ssp. 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 var. intonsus) (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)

Claytosmunda claytoniana (interrupted fern)

Ostrya virginiana var. virginiana (American hophornbeam)

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 leafcup)

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

interrupted fern

large-flowered bellwort

Morrow’s honeysuckle

northern bedstraw

northern pin oak

northern prickly ash

Philadelphia fleabane

red clover

red elderberry

Scotch pine

smooth rose

Virginia creeper

white campion

wild columbine

wild geranium

woodland strawberry

yellow wood sorrel

 

 

 

Binoculars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American chestnut

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.


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