One of the most attractive scenic features to be found in the vicinity of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is the steep, narrow gorge of Apple River. This gorge or "canyon" extends for a mile in an almost exact east-west direction and is located about one mile east of the junction of Apple River with the St. Croix River. The two rivers join about eight miles north of Stillwater, Minnesota, in St. Croix Co., Wisconsin. Apple River, though at present a small shallow stream, must have been much larger in the past, for it occupies, in its lower reaches, a canyon perhaps two hundred yards wide and about 200 feet deep, with high cliffs on either side. Figure 1 is a rough sketch of the canyon in cross-section. The upper cliffs are not always as vertical as indicated in the drawing, being occasionally interrupted by smaller erosion gullies, talus slides, and small ledges. The vegetation here is of paramount interest due to its diversity. Its zonation may be briefly sketched as follows. On the upland to the north stands an oak forest (Figure 2); on the south-facing bevel a strip of prairie grasses, these sometimes extending down the cliffs on upper talus slopes (Figures 3 and 6); on the south facing cliffs (Figure 5) there are only a few mosses, lichens, liverworts, and rock ferns; on the lowest talus and floodplain are young floodplain forest; on the talus slopes on the north-facing side a mesic forest is found, composed of an admixture of northern evergreens and deciduous trees (Figure 4); on the north-facing cliffs mostly cryptogams; on the north-facing bevel a very narrow, interrupted strip of prairie; and on the upland to the south, cultivated fields.
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science
©1953 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.
Russell, Norman H.
"Plant Communities of the Apple River Canyon, Wisconsin,"
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science, 60(1), 228-242.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/pias/vol60/iss1/29