Open 1/2 hour before sunrise until 1/2 hour after sunset
The Newport Bailey Park serves as a unique function for the City of Newport. It is both a City park where residents can enjoy a relaxing hike on well maintained trails, as well as an officially designated school forest that serves as an environmental learning park for the students in the South Washington County School District.
Environmental education continues to be an important component of the education curriculum. As such, the school forest provides a unique "wall-less" classroom where kids have hands-on opportunities to interact with nature. In 13 years, more than 30,000 South Washington County students have visited and participated in activities in the school forest.
The Newport Bailey School Forest continues to see improvements for the park. The City of Newport has provided a parking area for visitors, paved hiking trails in the open area to provide handicapped access for students and residents, and access control to restrict ATV and OHV activity.
Need to Know
The trailhead starts at the main Bailey School Forest Park parking lot. There are typically trashcans and a portable restroom available. The first part of the hike is on paved trails. This goes by the main pavilion. The trail breaks away from the paved path to the left into the woods on a mown trail.
If you'd like you can extend your route by following the paved trail up to the water tower. From there, hike south under the electrical towers to rejoin the main loop. The trail transitions down the singletrack near this location. From here you have a hilly 1/2 mile though the woods and ferns with occasional trailer markers to follow and informational signs to read.
You'll end this section at the south side of the park and take a left onto the mown trail. Follow this rolling section east until you reach the parking lot/ trailhead.
History & Background
The 80 acre parkland was orgininally donated to Newport by Gordon Bailey Sr. to be used as a passive-use park for the residents of Newport. The park was approved and designated as a school forest by the City of Newport and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in 1998. The area of the School Forest originally served in part as an out-planting area for Bailey Nurseries. It is mainly forest (e.g. aspen, oak, cherry, basswood) with a smaller, but significant remnant of oak savanna where species of cedar, juniper, spruce, fir, and ash were planted or seeded into the area.
Shared By: Sam Roeh