Turtle River State Park – Idyllic Natural Beauty

turtleriver-20Arvilla, North Dakota.

About 20 miles east of Grand Forks, North Dakota on Highway 2, a pleasant side trip will find you at North Dakota’s Turtle River State Park. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s, the park attracts visitors all the year around. The river is stocked with trout and anyone of the child persuasion can even borrow fishing gear from the park office to try their hand at catching a rainbow, no license required.

turtleriver-6Lynn and I visited the park during mid-September. The weather was quite comfortable, and since it was early fall, there was only a hint of the fall colors to come in the next few weeks.  During our stay, we hiked several trails. The park is more popular in the summer, and even in the winter when there are over seven miles of groomed trails for cross country skiing and snowshoe enthusiasts. On this day, however, we only met a few hikers along the trails we hiked.

turtleriver-5As we walked from the parking lot and into one of the more forested trails, we quickly learned that the mosquitos can be voracious. They swarmed around and landed on us mercilessly. But we came prepared. Scampering back to the car, I found our can of Deep Woods Off! We soaked our pants and hoodies and our exposed flesh.

I must say I’m a big fan of Deet, the active ingredient of this repellent. It was fascinating to watch the little buggers swarm around us like the mud and dust that swirls around Charles Schultz’s character, Pig Pen. They followed us like a cloud, but it was like the repellent was an invisible shield. We never saw one penetrate the “force field.”

I have no relationship with Off! or any of the company’s other products. I just know that with West Nile and other nasty mosquito borne illnesses, I won’t venture out without it. There may be other repellents that work as well, but it ain’t broke, so I ain’t fixin’ it. We got back to the hotel in Grand Forks that night with zero mosquito bites.

turtleriver-22The New Deal, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s economic answer to the Great Depression created the CCC. The Corps put  many of the nation’s unemployed to work on construction projects. Many such projects were underway in North Dakota. At Larimore, ND, a contingent of 185 young men started construction on the park in 1935. By the time they were done in the early 1940s, the Woodland Lodge was the park’s featured building.

turtleriver-17Our hikes that day included trips along several trails that provided several views of the river. We planned to take some sunset photos, but by later in the day, an overcast came in, essentially shutting off any chance of gathering any decent sunset photos. No matter, our plan was to head back to the park the next morning to capture a sunrise in the park. Those images will be featured in an upcoming post. In the meantime, please review the gallery of images below. Click on an image to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery.

John Steiner


  1. ND mosquitoes don’t miss those at all. It’s amazing how back in the day w/ fewer regulations park and road projects went swimmingly even with the gov’t at the helm.

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