List of Minnesota state parks: Wikis


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This is a list of Minnesota state parks in the Minnesota state park system. A Minnesota state park is an area of land in the U.S. state of Minnesota preserved by the state for its natural, historic, or other resources. The Minnesota State Park system consists of 66 state parks, six state recreation areas, eight state waysides, nineteen state trails, and 54 state forest campgrounds and day use areas, totaling approximately 267,000 acres (1,052.18 km²).[1][2] Each was created by an act of the Minnesota Legislature and is maintained by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The Minnesota Historical Society operates sites within some of them. The park system began in 1891 with Itasca State Park when a state law was adopted to "maintain intact, forever, a limited quantity of the domain of this a state of nature."[3] Minnesota's state park system is the second oldest in the United States, after New York's.[4]



Minnesota's state parks are spread across the state in such a way that there is a state park within 50 miles (80.5 km) of every Minnesotan.[5] The most recent park created is Big Bog State Recreation Area in 2006.[6] A new park on Lake Vermilion is under consideration as of 2008.[2][7] Currently the Parks range in size from Franz Jevne State Park with 118 acres (0.48 km2) to Saint Croix State Park with 34,037 acres (137.74 km2).

Tettegouche State Park, the High Falls
Blue Mounds State Park, cliffs of Quartzite bedrock


Minnesota's first attempt to create a state park came in 1885, when a 173-acre (0.70 km2) park was authorized to preserve Minnehaha Falls. The effort was delayed by legal appeals from the various landowners of the desired parkland, and by the time those were settled in favor of the state in 1889, Minnesota no longer had the money to purchase the land. Instead the city of Minneapolis fronted the cash. Owned and operated by Minneapolis, Minnehaha State Park was ultimately absorbed as a city park.[4]

Minnesota tried again in 1891, authorizing a state park around Lake Itasca both for its recreational opportunities and to protect the source of the Mississippi River. Interstate Park on the St. Croix River was created in 1895. Other sites were added over the next two decades, but with an inconsistent vision. Modest tracts of scenic land were acquired in Minneopa and Jay Cooke State Parks, but much effort was also expended on creating historical monuments relating to the Dakota War of 1862 and the Great Hinckley Fire. Moreover, most of the sites were being administered by the state auditor, who had many other duties. Itasca State Park, meanwhile, was being administered as a state forest. In 1923, state auditor Ray Chase excoriated this situation, calling for wiser selection of park lands and a dedicated commissioner. Chase's comments had an impact, and two years later the Department of Conservation was created to manage the state's natural resources, including the state parks. Originally part of the forestry division, the state parks received their own division in 1935 to take advantage of federal programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps.[4] In 1971 the department became the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Fort Snelling State Park,
the Round Tower
Charles A. Lindbergh State Park,
Charles Lindbergh House

State parks and recreation areas

Park Name Site County or Counties Area in acres (km²)[8] Date
Body of Water Coordinates Remarks[6]
Afton State Park [1] Washington &0000000000001695.0000001,695 acres (6.86 km²) 1969 St. Croix River 44°51′45″N 92°47′01″W / 44.8624675°N 92.7835367°W / 44.8624675; -92.7835367 (Afton State Park) Park lies on a glacial moraine with deep ravines that drop 300 feet (91.44 m) down to the St. Croix River.
Banning State Park [2] Pine &0000000000006201.0000006,201 acres (25.09 km²) 1963 Kettle River 46°10′15″N 92°50′39″W / 46.1707812°N 92.8440889°W / 46.1707812; -92.8440889 (Banning State Park) Park contains 1.5 miles (2.41 km) of whitewater rapids and an historic quarry.
Bear Head Lake State Park [3] St. Louis &0000000000004523.0000004,523 acres (18.30 km²) 1961 Bear Head Lake 47°47′47″N 92°04′37″W / 47.7963051°N 92.0768231°W / 47.7963051; -92.0768231 (Bear Head Lake State Park) Park is located just south of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Beaver Creek Valley State Park [4] Houston &0000000000001187.0000001,187 acres (4.80 km²) 1937 East Beaver Creek 43°38′34″N 91°34′55″W / 43.6427458°N 91.5818101°W / 43.6427458; -91.5818101 (Beaver Creek Valley State Park) The narrow valley carved by a trout stream showcases the rugged topography of the Driftless Area.
Big Bog State Recreation Area [5] Beltrami &0000000000009459.0000009,459 acres (38.28 km²) 2006 Red Lake 48°10′22″N 94°30′43″W / 48.172761°N 94.512033°W / 48.172761; -94.512033 (Big Bog State Recreation Area) The Big Bog, the largest peatland in the Lower U.S.[6], sits on the southeast side of glacial Lake Agassiz.
Big Stone Lake State Park [7] Big Stone &0000000000000986.000000986 acres (3.99 km²) 1961 Big Stone Lake 45°22′57″N 96°30′47″W / 45.3824644°N 96.5131148°W / 45.3824644; -96.5131148 (Big Stone Lake State Park) The park is located on the former southern outlet of glacial Lake Agassiz.
Blue Mounds State Park [8] Rock &0000000000001826.0000001,826 acres (7.39 km²) 1937 Mound Creek 43°42′25″N 96°11′13″W / 43.7069134°N 96.1869728°W / 43.7069134; -96.1869728 (Blue Mounds State Park) The park is named after a linear escarpment of Precambrian quartzite bedrock.
Buffalo River State Park [9] Clay &0000000000001322.0000001,322 acres (5.35 km²) 1937 Buffalo River 46°51′56″N 96°28′04″W / 46.8655165°N 96.4678474°W / 46.8655165; -96.4678474 (Buffalo River State Park) The prairie within the park is judged to be one of the largest and best of the state's prairie preserves.
Camden State Park [10] Lyon &0000000000002245.0000002,245 acres (9.09 km²) 1935 Redwood River 44°21′45″N 95°55′30″W / 44.362462°N 95.9250247°W / 44.362462; -95.9250247 (Camden State Park) Thirteen buildings and structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Carley State Park [11] Wabasha &0000000000000209.000000209 acres (0.85 km²) 1949 Whitewater River 44°07′00″N 92°10′34″W / 44.1166318°N 92.1760002°W / 44.1166318; -92.1760002 (Carley State Park) Park is named after State Senator James A. Carley, who donated the land.
Cascade River State Park [12] Cook &0000000000005050.0000005,050 acres (20.43 km²) 1957 Lake Superior and Cascade River 47°42′35″N 90°31′20″W / 47.7097222°N 90.5222222°W / 47.7097222; -90.5222222 (Cascade River State Park Recreation Site) Park is connected to the Superior Hiking Trail and North Shore State Trail.
Charles A. Lindbergh State Park [13] Morrison &0000000000000569.000000569 acres (2.3 km²) 1931 Mississippi River 45°57′32″N 94°23′43″W / 45.9588545°N 94.3952813°W / 45.9588545; -94.3952813 (Charles A Lindbergh State Park) Contains the restored home of Charles August Lindbergh, Congressman and the father of the famous aviator, Charles Lindbergh.
Crow Wing State Park [14] Crow Wing, Cass, and Morrison &0000000000003119.0000003,119 acres (12.62 km²) 1959 Mississippi and Crow Wing Rivers 46°16′20″N 94°20′00″W / 46.2722222°N 94.3333333°W / 46.2722222; -94.3333333 (Crow Wing State Park) Interprets the site of Old Crow Wing, an important trading settlement.
Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area [15] Crow Wing &0000000000002773.0000002,773 acres (11.22 km²) 1993 Chain of small lakes and streams, filled pit mines 46°29′22″N 93°58′39″W / 46.489550°N 93.977500°W / 46.489550; -93.977500 (Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area) The Cuyuna Range was the last of Minnesota's three major iron ranges to be discovered and mined.
Father Hennepin State Park [16] Mille Lacs &0000000000000320.000000320 acres (1.29 km²) 1941 Mille Lacs Lake 46°08′41″N 93°29′17″W / 46.1446779°N 93.4880157°W / 46.1446779; -93.4880157 (Father Hennepin State Park) Park is named after Father Louis Hennepin, a priest who visited the area with a French expedition in 1680.
Flandrau State Park [17] Brown &0000000000001006.0000001,006 acres (4.07 km²) 1937 Cottonwood River 44°17′18″N 94°28′25″W / 44.2882956°N 94.4735837°W / 44.2882956; -94.4735837 (Flandrau State Park) Park is named after Charles Eugene Flandrau, an important figure in the Battles of New Ulm during the Dakota War of 1862.
Forestville Mystery Cave State Park [18] Fillmore &0000000000003170.0000003,170 acres (12.83 km²) 1963 South Branch Root River and tributaries 43°37′32″N 92°14′51″W / 43.6255204°N 92.247388°W / 43.6255204; -92.247388 (Forestville Mystery Cave State Park) Park contains Mystery Cave, the longest cave in the state that is open to the public.
Fort Ridgely State Park [19] Nicollet and Renville &0000000000001040.0000001,040 acres (4.21 km²) 1911 Fort Ridgely Creek 44°27′09″N 94°43′51″W / 44.4524621°N 94.7308199°W / 44.4524621; -94.7308199 (Fort Ridgely State Park) Park preserves Fort Ridgely, which is notable for its use during the Dakota War of 1862.
Fort Snelling State Park [20] Ramsey, Hennepin, and Dakota &0000000000002931.0000002,931 acres (11.86 km²) 1961 Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers 44°53′09″N 93°10′41″W / 44.8857988°N 93.1779985°W / 44.8857988; -93.1779985 (Fort Snelling State Park) Park contains historic Fort Snelling, which was built in 1819.
Franz Jevne State Park [21] Koochiching &0000000000000118.000000118 acres (0.48 km²) 1967 Rainy River 48°38′32″N 94°04′49″W / 48.642240°N 94.080410°W / 48.642240; -94.080410 (Franz Jevne State Park) The sons of Franz Jevne, a lawyer, offered to donate land to the state for use as a park on the condition that it be named after their father.
Frontenac State Park [22] Goodhue &0000000000002300.0000002,300 acres (9.3 km²) 1957 Lake Pepin on Mississippi River 44°30′27″N 92°19′35″W / 44.5074677°N 92.3262914°W / 44.5074677; -92.3262914 (Frontenac State Park) Park is home to 260 species of birds for part or all of the year.
Garden Island State Recreation Area [23] Lake of the Woods &0000000000000734.000000734 acres (2.97 km²) 1998[9] Lake of the Woods 49°10′31″N 94°50′05″W / 49.175335°N 94.834671°W / 49.175335; -94.834671 (Garden Island State Recreation Area) Formerly the site of a large garden created by Native Americans taught by La Vérendrye who explored the area.
George H. Crosby Manitou State Park [24] Lake &0000000000006682.0000006,682 acres (27 km2) 1955 Manitou River 47°30′22″N 91°06′33″W / 47.506018°N 91.109045°W / 47.506018; -91.109045 (George H Crosby Manitou State Park) Park contains many undisturbed miles of fir, cedar, spruce, and northern hardwoods. Park is geared towards backpackers.
Glacial Lakes State Park [25] Pope &0000000000002423.0000002,423 acres (9.8 km2) 1963 Several kettle lakes 45°32′15″N 95°31′19″W / 45.537461°N 95.521983°W / 45.537461; -95.521983 (Glacial Lakes State Park) Park contains many glacial landforms, including rolling glacial hills unlike others in the state, created by ice sheets during the Wisconsin Stage.
Glendalough State Park [26] Otter Tail &0000000000001931.0000001,931 acres (7.81 km2) 1992 Six kettle lakes 46°20′00″N 95°40′00″W / 46.3333333°N 95.6666667°W / 46.3333333; -95.6666667 (Glendalough State Park) During the 1950s, when it was a resort, former presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon were guests at Glendalough.
Gooseberry Falls State Park [27] Lake &0000000000001687.0000001,687 acres (6.82 km2) 1937 Lake Superior, Gooseberry River 47°08′49″N 91°27′48″W / 47.1468715°N 91.4632289°W / 47.1468715; -91.4632289 (Gooseberry Falls State Park) The park includes Lake Superior shoreline, five waterfalls, Gooseberry River and gorge, an agate Beach and the Picnic Lava Flow.
Grand Portage State Park [28] Cook &0000000000000278.000000278 acres (1.12 km2) 1989 Pigeon River 48°00′37″N 89°36′43″W / 48.0101633°N 89.6120317°W / 48.0101633; -89.6120317 (Grand Portage State Park) Park contains a 120 foot (37 meter) waterfall, the tallest in the state shared on a border.
Great River Bluffs State Park [29] Winona &0000000000003067.0000003,067 acres (12.4 km2) 1971 Mississippi River 43°56′47″N 91°23′58″W / 43.9463526°N 91.3993094°W / 43.9463526; -91.3993094 (Great River Bluffs State Park) Features 500-foot (150 m) high bluffs and steep "goat prairies" Formerly named O.L. Kipp State Park.
Hayes Lake State Park [30] Roseau &0000000000002958.0000002,958 acres (11.97 km2) 1967 Hayes Lake, North Fork Roseau River 48°37′24″N 95°30′28″W / 48.6233095°N 95.5077539°W / 48.6233095; -95.5077539 (Hayes Lake State Park) Hayes Lake was created for the park by damming the Roseau River. In the Glacial Lake Agassiz lake bed.
Hill-Annex Mine State Park [31] Itasca &0000000000000635.000000635 acres (2.57 km2) 1988 Filled pit mine 47°19′39″N 93°16′39″W / 47.327490°N 93.277520°W / 47.327490; -93.277520 (Hill-Annex Mine State Park) Well preserved historic mine buildings that are on the National Register of Historic Places
Interstate Park [32] Chisago &0000000000000298.000000298 acres (1.2 km2) 1895 St. Croix River 45°23′42″N 92°40′11″W / 45.3949622°N 92.6696521°W / 45.3949622; -92.6696521 (Interstate State Park) This was the first park in the United States to span two states (Minnesota and Wisconsin).
Itasca State Park [33] Hubbard, Clearwater, and Becker &0000000000032690.00000032,690 acres (132.29 km2) 1891 Lake Itasca 47°11′51″N 95°12′07″W / 47.1974579°N 95.2019642°W / 47.1974579; -95.2019642 (Itasca State Park) Minnesota's oldest state park. Lake Itasca is the source of the Mississippi River.
Jay Cooke State Park [34] Carlton &0000000000008781.0000008,781 acres (35.53 km2) 1915 Saint Louis River 46°38′59″N 92°19′51″W / 46.6496646°N 92.330748°W / 46.6496646; -92.330748 (Jay Cooke State Park) Features rustic style historical structures and swinging bridge built by the CCC between 1933 and 1942.
John A. Latsch State Park [35] Winona &0000000000001871.0000001,871 acres (7.57 km2) 1925 Mississippi River 44°09′43″N 91°49′20″W / 44.1619082°N 91.8220997°W / 44.1619082; -91.8220997 (John Latsch State Park) Features three steep river bluffs named Faith, Hope, and Charity.
Judge C. R. Magney State Park [36] Cook &0000000000004643.0000004,643 acres (18.78 km2) 1957 Lake Superior, Brule River 47°51′05″N 90°03′30″W / 47.8512799°N 90.0584299°W / 47.8512799; -90.0584299 (Judge C R Magney State Park) Contains "Devil's Kettle" a large glacial kettle into which half of the Brule River disappears.
Kilen Woods State Park [37] Jackson &0000000000000548.000000548 acres (2.21 km2) 1945 Des Moines River 43°43′36″N 95°03′47″W / 43.7266244°N 95.0630473°W / 43.7266244; -95.0630473 (Killen Woods State Park) Park is on the Coteau des Prairies.
Lac qui Parle State Park [38] Lac qui Parle and Chippewa &0000000000001055.0000001,055 acres (4.26 km2) 1959 Lac qui Parle, Minnesota and Lac qui Parle Rivers 45°01′14″N 95°53′20″W / 45.0205141°N 95.888921°W / 45.0205141; -95.888921 (Lac qui Parle State Park) Lac qui Parle is a widening in the Minnesota River, stopover for thousands of migrating waterfowl. Park contains 3 buildings on the NRHP.
Lake Bemidji State Park [39] Beltrami &0000000000001726.0000001,726 acres (6.98 km2) 1923 Lake Bemidji 47°32′11″N 94°49′22″W / 47.5363413°N 94.8227704°W / 47.5363413; -94.8227704 (Lake Bemidji State Park) In addition to recreational lakeshore, the park features a boardwalk trail out into a spruce-tamarack bog.
Lake Bronson State Park [40] Kittson &0000000000002808.0000002,808 acres (11.36 km2) 1937 Lake Bronson, South Branch Two Rivers 48°43′29″N 96°36′12″W / 48.7247004°N 96.6033741°W / 48.7247004; -96.6033741 (Lake Bronson State Park) Hayes lake was created for the park, by damming the Two Rivers. In the Glacial Lake Agassiz lake bed. Park is on the NRHP.
Lake Carlos State Park [41] Douglas &0000000000001236.0000001,236 acres (5.00 km2) 1937 Lake Carlos 45°59′12″N 95°19′40″W / 45.9866293°N 95.3278143°W / 45.9866293; -95.3278143 (Lake Carlos State Park) Five buildings on the NRHP. In a hardwood transition zone between prairies and coniferous forest.
Lake Louise State Park [42] Mower &0000000000001147.0000001,147 acres (4.64 km2) 1963 Lake Louise, Little Iowa River 43°32′01″N 92°31′32″W / 43.5335762°N 92.5254538°W / 43.5335762; -92.5254538 (Lake Louise State Park) Minnesota's oldest continuous recreation area. Lake Louise was created by damming the Little Iowa River.
Lake Maria State Park [43] Wright &0000000000001614.0000001,614 acres (6.53 km2) 1963 Several kettle lakes 45°18′50″N 93°57′26″W / 45.3138543°N 93.9572003°W / 45.3138543; -93.9572003 (Lake Maria State Park) Lightly developed to provide a wilderness area near Minneapolis-Saint Paul.
Lake Shetek State Park [44] Murray County &0000000000001108.0000001,108 acres (4.48 km2) 1937 Lake Shetek 44°06′08″N 95°41′24″W / 44.1021838°N 95.6900114°W / 44.1021838; -95.6900114 (Lake Shetek State Park) Eight historic resources within the state park are on the NRHP. Located on the Coteau des Prairies, the park was once treeless prairie.
Maplewood State Park [45] Otter Tail &0000000000009264.0000009,264 acres (37.49 km2) 1963 Several kettle lakes 46°32′01″N 95°56′57″W / 46.5335703°N 95.9492193°W / 46.5335703; -95.9492193 (Maplewood State Park) The park preserves a pre-contact habitation site that was occupied in two different periods (650–900 CE and 1450–1650) in a forest/prairie transition zone.
McCarthy Beach State Park [46] St. Louis &0000000000002471.0000002,471 acres (9.99 km2) 1945 Sturgeon and Side Lakes 47°40′22″N 93°01′49″W / 47.6727068°N 93.0301834°W / 47.6727068; -93.0301834 (McCarthy Beach State Park) Highways' Magazine rated the beach on Sturgeon Lake one of the top 17 beaches in North America.
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park [47] Mille Lacs &0000000000010554.00000010,554 acres (42.71 km2) 1957 Mille Lacs Lake, Rum River 46°07′44″N 93°44′26″W / 46.1288485°N 93.7405269°W / 46.1288485; -93.7405269 (Mille Lacs Kathio State Park) Park contains 19 identified archaeological sites. The earliest site shows evidence of copper tool manufacture. The Kathio site is a National Historic Landmark.
Minneopa State Park [48] Blue Earth &0000000000002691.0000002,691 acres (10.89 km2) 1905 Minnesota River, Minneopa Creek 44°09′44″N 94°06′08″W / 44.1621879°N 94.1021803°W / 44.1621879; -94.1021803 (Minneopa State Park) Contains Seppmann windmill which is on the NRHP. Minneopa Creek and its waterfalls are the major features that attract visitors.
Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area [49] Hennepin, Dakota, Scott, Carver, Sibley, and Le Sueur &0000000000005501.0000005,501 acres (22.2 km2) 1969 Minnesota River 44°39′43″N 93°42′12″W / 44.661999°N 93.703337°W / 44.661999; -93.703337 (Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area) The sections of this non-contiguous park are interspersed with units of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in the valley formed by Glacial River Warren.
Monson Lake State Park [50] Swift County &0000000000000187.000000187 acres (0.75 km2) 1937 Monson and West Sunberg Lakes 45°19′14″N 95°16′30″W / 45.3205175°N 95.2750235°W / 45.3205175; -95.2750235 (Monson Lake Memorial State Park) Established as a memorial to settlers who died in the Dakota War of 1862.
Moose Lake State Park [51] Carlton &0000000000001199.0000001,199 acres (4.85 km2) 1971 Moosehead and Echo Lakes 46°26′11″N 92°43′31″W / 46.436319°N 92.72521°W / 46.436319; -92.72521 (Moose Lake State Park) The Moose Lake Agate and Geological Interpretive Center is located in the park. Contains an exhibition of Minnesota's state gemstone, the Lake Superior agate, and contains displays on rocks, minerals and geology of Minnesota.
Myre-Big Island State Park [52] Freeborn &0000000000002028.0000002,028 acres (8.2 km2) 1947 Albert Lea Lake 43°37′26″N 93°17′21″W / 43.6238465°N 93.2890959°W / 43.6238465; -93.2890959 (Myre-Big Island State Park) Two islands protected from prairie fires by the surrounding water bear old growth hardwood forest. Has one of the largest collections of native artifacts in the state and is available for research. Formerly named Helmer Myre State Park.
Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park [53] Rice &0000000000002882.0000002,882 acres (11.6 km2) 1945 Prairie Creek 44°20′43″N 93°06′27″W / 44.3452425°N 93.1074337°W / 44.3452425; -93.1074337 (Nerstrand Big Woods State Park) Preserves a remnant stand of Big Woods.
Old Mill State Park [54] Marshall &0000000000000287.000000287 acres (1.16 km2) 1951 Middle River 48°21′41″N 96°34′13″W / 48.361364°N 96.5703288°W / 48.361364; -96.5703288 (Old Mill State Park) Eight buildings and structures, built by the WPA, are listed on the NRHP. Contains a steam-powered flour mill that is started up to grind flour once a year.
Red River State Recreation Area [55] Polk &0000000000001230.0000001,230 acres (4.97 km2) 1997 Red River of the North and Red Lake River 47°55′58″N 97°02′08″W / 47.9327778°N 97.0355556°W / 47.9327778; -97.0355556 (Red River State Recreation Area) Part of the Greater Grand Forks Greenway. After the 1997 Red River Flood approximately 500 homes and buildings were removed to make way for the greenway. The Greenway serves the dual purpose of holding back river waters during floods and providing recreational opportunities.
Rice Lake State Park [56] Steele and Dodge &0000000000001071.0000001,071 acres (4.3 km2) 1963 Rice Lake 44°05′15″N 93°03′41″W / 44.0874639°N 93.061315°W / 44.0874639; -93.061315 (Rice Lake State Park) Shallow lake is a stopover for migrating waterfowl.
Saint Croix State Park [57] Pine County &0000000000033895.00000033,895 acres (137.16 km2) 1943 St. Croix River 45°58′27″N 92°35′01″W / 45.9741154°N 92.5835304°W / 45.9741154; -92.5835304 (Saint Croix State Park) Originally the St. Croix Recreational Demonstration Area, the park was created from land too poor to farm.[10] It is listed as a National Historic Landmark as the largest and one of the best examples of Recreational Demonstration Area planning during the Depression.[11]
Sakatah Lake State Park [58] Le Sueur and Rice &0000000000000842.000000842 acres (3.4 km2) 1963 Sakatah Lake on the Cannon River 44°13′16″N 93°32′09″W / 44.2210746°N 93.5357792°W / 44.2210746; -93.5357792 (Sakatah State Park) This parcel of hardwoods along the transition zone from forest to oak savanna was never logged.
Savanna Portage State Park [59] Aitkin and St. Louis &0000000000015818.00000015,818 acres (64.01 km2) 1961 East and West Savanna Rivers, numerous kettle lakes 46°50′15″N 93°09′24″W / 46.8374455°N 93.1566054°W / 46.8374455; -93.1566054 (Savanna Portage State Park) Established as a state park in 1961 to preserve the historic Savanna Portage, a difficult six-mile (10 km) trail connecting the West Savanna River and upper Mississippi River with the East Savanna River, St. Louis River, and Lake Superior. A continental divide, visible in the park, separates the West Savanna and East Savanna rivers, which flow in opposite directions.
Scenic State Park [60] Itasca &0000000000003360.0000003,360 acres (13.59 km2) 1921 Sandwick and Coon Lakes 47°42′57″N 93°33′47″W / 47.7157733°N 93.5629701°W / 47.7157733; -93.5629701 (Scenic State Park) First park with a Civilian Conservation Corps camp.[12] Contains 10 CCC buildings.
Schoolcraft State Park [61] Cass and Itasca &0000000000000225.000000225 acres (0.91 km2) 1959 Mississippi River 47°13′30″N 93°48′00″W / 47.2249502°N 93.7999449°W / 47.2249502; -93.7999449 (Schoolcraft State Park) Named after Henry Rowe Schoolcraft who charted the origins of the Mississippi river with an Indian guide, Ozawindib. Contains virgin pine forest with some trees over 300 years old.
Sibley State Park [62] Kandiyohi &0000000000002509.0000002,509 acres (10.15 km2) 1919 Lake Andrew and other kettle lakes 45°19′11″N 95°01′23″W / 45.3196867°N 95.0230696°W / 45.3196867; -95.0230696 (Sibley State Park) Named for Henry Hastings Sibley, the first governor of the state.
Soudan Underground Mine State Park [63] St. Louis &0000000000001250.0000001,250 acres (5.05 km2) 1963 Lake Vermilion 47°49′29″N 92°15′23″W / 47.8246403°N 92.2562691°W / 47.8246403; -92.2562691 (Soudan Underground Mine State Park) Minnesota's oldest, deepest, and richest iron mine. The tour of the mine goes 2,341 feet (714 m) below the Earth's surface. Hosts the Soudan Underground Physics Laboratory High Energy Physics Lab which searches for Dark Matter.
Split Rock Creek State Park [64] Pipestone &0000000000001303.0000001,303 acres (5.27 km2) 1937 Split Rock Lake 43°53′53″N 96°21′51″W / 43.8980264°N 96.3642032°W / 43.8980264; -96.3642032 (Split Rock Creek State Park) Split Rock Lake, a human-made lake, is the largest body of water in Pipestone County. This park is located on the Coteau des Prairies.
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park [65] Lake &0000000000002200.0000002,200 acres (8.9 km2) 1945 Lake Superior 47°11′32″N 91°23′35″W / 47.1921472°N 91.3929484°W / 47.1921472; -91.3929484 (Split Rock Lighthouse State Park) Lighthouse was commissioned in 1910, one of the most photographed lighthouses in the United States. Lighthouse is built on anorthosite, a remnant of ancient lava flows.
Temperance River State Park [66] Cook &0000000000005059.0000005,059 acres (20.47 km2) 1957 Lake Superior and Temperance River 47°33′16″N 90°52′21″W / 47.5543466°N 90.8723722°W / 47.5543466; -90.8723722 (Temperance River State Park) Named the Temperance River because there was no sand "bar" at its mouth.
Tettegouche State Park [67] Lake &0000000000009562.0000009,562 acres (38.69 km2) 1979 Lake Superior and Baptism River 47°21′32″N 91°15′51″W / 47.358806°N 91.2640506°W / 47.358806; -91.2640506 (Tettegouche State Park) Park contains a 60 ft (18 m) tall waterfall, the tallest entirely within the state. Shovel Point and Palisade Head cliffs are popular for rock climbing.
Upper Sioux Agency State Park [68] Yellow Medicine &0000000000001281.0000001,281 acres (5.18 km2) 1963 Minnesota and Yellow Medicine Rivers 44°44′17″N 95°27′14″W / 44.7380132°N 95.4539039°W / 44.7380132; -95.4539039 (Upper Sioux Agency State Park) Preserves the site of the historic Yellow Medicine Agency which was destroyed in the Dakota War of 1862.
Whitewater State Park [69] Winona &0000000000002745.0000002,745 acres (11.1 km2) 1919 Whitewater River 44°03′30″N 92°03′32″W / 44.058297°N 92.0587726°W / 44.058297; -92.0587726 (Whitewater State Park) Bald eagles remain year round. With adjacent Whitewater Wildlife Management Area the park forms a flood buffer. Park is in the Driftless area
Wild River State Park [70] Chisago &0000000000006767.0000006,767 acres (27.38 km2) 1973 St. Croix River 45°34′05″N 92°52′33″W / 45.5680159°N 92.8757696°W / 45.5680159; -92.8757696 (Saint Croix Wild River State Park) Named after the St. Croix's status as a National Wild and Scenic River.
William O'Brien State Park [71] Washington &0000000000001620.0000001,620 acres (6.55 km2) 1947 St. Croix River 45°13′10″N 92°45′58″W / 45.2194109°N 92.7660423°W / 45.2194109; -92.7660423 (William O'Brien State Park) Provides outdoor recreation opportunities near Minneapolis-Saint Paul.
Zippel Bay State Park [72] Lake of the Woods &0000000000002906.0000002,906 acres (11.76 km2) 1959 Lake of the Woods 48°51′50″N 94°51′34″W / 48.8638742°N 94.8593862°W / 48.8638742; -94.8593862 (Zippel Bay State Park) Moose and Timberwolves can be seen at the park, formerly the site of a village.

State waysides

The state park system includes eight waysides, most of them along Minnesota State Highway 61 on the North Shore. These are parcels of land too small to be full-fledged parks, but with natural resources greater than would be overseen by the Minnesota Department of Transportation as highway waysides. Generally development is limited to a parking area, picnic tables, outhouses, and a short trail.[4]

Name County Year
Coordinates Remarks[4][13]
Caribou Falls State Wayside Lake 1947 47°27′52″N 91°01′51″W / 47.46452°N 91.03084°W / 47.46452; -91.03084 (Caribou Falls State Wayside) Includes a waterfall on the Caribou River. Formerly Caribou Falls State Park.
Devils Track Falls State Wayside Cook 1961 47°46′41″N 90°16′58″W / 47.77804°N 90.28273°W / 47.77804; -90.28273 (Devils Track Falls State Wayside) A nearly inaccessible gorge within Superior National Forest. Formerly Devils Track Falls State Park.
Flood Bay State Wayside Lake 1965 47°02′19″N 91°38′33″W / 47.03850°N 91.64254°W / 47.03850; -91.64254 (Flood Bay State Wayside) A rocky Lake Superior beach just outside Two Harbors.
Inspiration Peak State Wayside Otter Tail 1931 46°08′14″N 95°34′41″W / 46.13714°N 95.57809°W / 46.13714; -95.57809 (Inspiration Peak State Wayside) The highest point of the Leaf Hills Moraines.
Joseph R. Brown State Wayside Renville 1937 44°45′01″N 95°19′28″W / 44.750328°N 95.324425°W / 44.750328; -95.324425 (Joseph R. Brown State Wayside) The ruins of Joseph R. Brown's three-story mansion, destroyed during the Dakota War of 1862.
Kodonce River State Wayside Cook 1947 47°47′38″N 90°09′15″W / 47.79393°N 90.15414°W / 47.79393; -90.15414 (Kodonce River State Wayside) Lake Superior shoreline around the mouth of a small river. Also spelled 'Kadunce'. Formerly Kodunce River State Park.
Ray Berglund State Wayside Cook 1951 47°36′32″N 90°46′10″W / 47.60894°N 90.76943°W / 47.60894; -90.76943 (Ray Berglund State Wayside) A memorial at the mouth of the Onion River to a St. Paul businessman and conservationist, on land donated by his friends.
Sam Brown State Wayside Traverse 1929 45°35′46″N 96°50′29″W / 45.59616°N 96.84141°W / 45.59616; -96.84141 (Sam Brown State Wayside) Created to honor Joseph R. Brown's son Samuel J. Brown, "the Paul Revere of the West," who rode 120 miles through a storm on April 19, 1866 to warn of an expected Dakota attack. Formerly Sam Brown State Park.

Former parks

Several units added to the Minnesota state park system over the years have since been redesignated or transferred to other agencies, including the system's very first unit, Camp Release State Memorial Wayside, created in 1889. In most cases these decisions were due to the unit being too small for a state park with little chance of expansion, or largely local use rather than attracting visitors from all over the state and beyond.[4] Some of these units were redesignated as state waysides.[13] 23 state monuments were also part of the state park system at one time or another until legislation in 1975 transferred responsibility for all state monuments to other agencies.[4] The other former units were:

Name Established Redesignated Result[4]
Alexander Ramsey State Park 1911 1957 Transferred to Redwood Falls as a city park.[14]
Birch Cooley Battle Field State Memorial Park 1929 1976 Transferred to Minnesota Historical Society.
Camp Release State Memorial Wayside 1889 1975 Redesignated Camp Release State Monument.
Chippewa Mission State Memorial Wayside 1931 1973 Transferred to Minnesota Historical Society.
Horace Austin State Park 1913 1949 Transferred to Austin as a city park.[15]
Garvin Heights State Park 1922 1961 Transferred to Winona as a city park.
Kaplan Woods State Park 1935 1963 Part demolished to build a highway, remainder transferred to Owatonna as a city park.[16]
Little Elbow Lake State Park 1963 1989 Transferred to White Earth Indian Reservation.
Old Crossing Treaty Historic Wayside 1931 1987 Parts transferred to Red Lake County and University of Minnesota Crookston, remainder added to Huot Wildlife Management Area.
Oronoco Park (later Oronoco State Scenic Reserve) 1937 1965 Transferred to Olmsted County.[17]
Pine Tree State Park 1947 1965 Transferred to Blackduck as a city park.
Pomme de Terre Recreational Reserve 1937 1965 Transferred to Morris as a city park.
Sleepy Eye State Park 1921 1965 Transferred to Sleepy Eye as a city park.
Toqua Lakes State Park 1921 1965 Transferred to Big Stone County as a county park.
Traverse des Sioux State Park 1905 1981 Transferred to Minnesota Historical Society and city of Saint Peter.
Watson State Wayside 1941 1959 Transferred to Watson as a city park.

See also


  1. ^ "Welcome to Minnesota State Parks". Minnesota DNR. 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-22.  
  2. ^ a b "Gov. Pawlenty announces plan to create a new state park on Lake Vermilion". News Releases. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 2007-07-17. Retrieved 2007-09-22.  
  3. ^ "Itasca State Park National Register Listing". Minnesota Historical Society. May 1973; May 1992 update. Retrieved 2007-09-22.  
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Meyer, Roy Willard (1991). Everyone's Country Estate: A History of Minnesota's State Parks. Minnesota Historical Society Press. ISBN 0-87351-266-9.  
  5. ^ "Minnesota Traveler" (PDF). Minnesota State Parks Newsletter. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Summer 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-22.  , p. 16.
  6. ^ a b All data come from respective DNR webpage unless otherwise noted.
  7. ^ "Proposed Lake Vermilion State Park". Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-22.  
  8. ^ "Minnesota State Parks Guide 2007 2008." State of Minnesota, Department of Natural Resources, 2007.
  9. ^ "Garden Island State Recreation Area" (PDF). Maps/ State Parks. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. March 2001. Retrieved 2007-09-22.  
  10. ^ "Chapter 4: Up North: The Development of Recreation in the St. Croix Valley". St. Croix Riverway. Time and the River: A History of the Saint Croix. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. 2002-10-17. Retrieved 2007-09-22.  
  11. ^ "National Historic Landmarks Program: St. Croix Recreational Demonstration Area". National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-10-01.  
  12. ^ "Scenic State Park". Rustic Style Resources in Minnesota State Parks. Minnesota Historical Society. 2001. Retrieved 2007-09-22.  
  13. ^ a b Minnesota Statute § 85.013, Minnesota Revisor of Statutes.
  14. ^ "1957 Minn. Laws ch. 230". 2006 Minnesota Statutes sec. 810. Office of the Revisor of Statutes. Retrieved 2007-09-22.  
  15. ^ "1949 Minn. Laws ch. 425, sec. 1; 1959 Minn. Laws ch. 4, secs. 1,2". 2006 Minnesota Statutes sec. 812. Office of the Revisor of Statutes. Retrieved 2007-09-22.  
  16. ^ "Kaplan Woods Parkway". Parks & Recreation. City of Owatonna. Retrieved 2007-09-22.  
  17. ^ "1965 Minn. Laws ch. 810, sec. 9". 2006 Minnesota Statutes sec. 816. Office of the Revisor of Statutes. Retrieved 2007-09-22.  

Further reading

  • Arthur, Anne. Minnesota's State Parks. Adventure Publications, 1998. ISBN 1-885061-51-X
  • Meyer, Roy Willard. Everyone's Country Estate: A History of Minnesota's State Parks. Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1991. ISBN 0-87351-266-9

External links



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