The gem of the Carleton campus is the Cowling Arboretum, 880 acres of natural beauty originally dubbed “Cowling’s Folly” by those who disagreed with then-President Donald Fowling’s investment. But, like so many so-called “follies” in history, the Arb, as it is known, has been vindicated and is now central to campus life.
The Upper Arb, the area closest to the main campus, includes playing fields and is crisscrossed by paved and unpaved paths for running and biking. The much larger portion, the Lower Arb, is less developed and a lovely place for more solitary hiking and running (but no biking is allowed).
The easiest place to access the Lower Arb is behind the West Gymnasium (321 Division St. N.). Cross Division Street and walk north a few hundred yards to access the Upper Arb. (Note that the Lower Arb, so named because it lies low in the Cannon River valley, actually lies to the north of the Upper Arb.)
If you’d rather paddle down the Cannon, a state-designated Wild and Scenic River, it’s 11 easy miles through a mix of forest and farm to Lake Byllesby Regional Park, just before the city of Cannon Falls. The river’s best scenery lies along the final 25 miles between Cannon Falls and the Mississippi River.
© Tim Bewer from Moon Minnesota, 3rd Edition