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List of Minnesota state parks facts for kids

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Minnesota Locator Map.PNG
Map of State Parks of Minnesota
Hold cursor over locations to display park name;
click to go to park article.

There are 67 state parks, nine state recreation areas, nine state waysides, and 23 state trails in the Minnesota state park system, totaling approximately 267,000 acres (1,080 km2). 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. 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." Minnesota's state park system is the second oldest in the United States, after New York's.

Minnesota's state parks are spread across the state in such a way that there is a state park within 50 miles (80 km) of every Minnesotan. The most recent park created is Lake Vermilion State Park, created in 2010. The parks range in size from Franz Jevne State Park with 118 acres (48 ha) to Saint Croix State Park with 34,037 acres (13,774 ha). Two parks include resources listed as National Natural Landmarks (Big Bog State Recreation Area and Itasca State Park) and six parks encompass National Historic Landmarks (Charles A. Lindbergh, Fort Snelling, Mille Lacs Kathio, St. Croix, Soudan Underground Mine, and Split Rock Lighthouse State Parks). 52 sites or districts across 34 Minnesota state parks are on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), including 22 parks with developments constructed by New Deal-era job creation programs in the 1930s.


Minnesota's first attempt to create a state park came in 1885, when a 173-acre (70 ha) 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.

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 P. 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 (CCC). In 1971, the department became the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The state parks were closed for almost three weeks in July 2011 due to a shutdown of the state government.

State parks and recreation areas

Park name County or Counties Size Year Established Water Body(s) Coordinates Remarks Image
acres ha
Afton State Park Washington 1,600 650 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) Lies on a glacial moraine with deep ravines that drop 300 feet (91 m) down to the St. Croix River. AftonStateParkStCroixRiver.jpg
Banning State Park Pine 5,597 2,265 1963 Kettle River 46°10′15″N 92°50′39″W / 46.1707812°N 92.8440889°W / 46.1707812; -92.8440889 (Banning State Park) Contains 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of whitewater rapids and the remains of a historic quarry operation. BanningStateParkWolfCreekFalls.jpg
Bear Head Lake State Park St. Louis 3,013 1,219 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) Provides road access and modern camping facilities in an environment similar to the nearby Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Bear Head Lake State Park.JPG
Beaver Creek Valley State Park Houston 715 289 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) Showcases the rugged topography of the Driftless Area in a narrow valley carved by a trout stream. BeaverCreekValleyStatePark1.jpg
Big Bog State Recreation Area Beltrami 9,170 3,710 2000 Red Lake, Tamarac River 48°10′22″N 94°30′43″W / 48.172761°N 94.512033°W / 48.172761; -94.512033 (Big Bog State Recreation Area) Encompasses part of the largest peatland in the Lower 48 states (a National Natural Landmark) and a prime walleye fishery. Big Bog State Recreation Area.jpg
Big Stone Lake State Park Big Stone 980 400 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) Protects two sections of shoreline on Big Stone Lake, the source of the Minnesota River. Big Stone Lake fishing dock.JPG
Blue Mounds State Park Rock 1,567 634 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) Protects an escarpment of Sioux Quartzite and Minnesota's only public bison herd. A district of WPA structures is on the NRHP. BlueMoundsStatePark.jpg
Buffalo River State Park Clay 1,068 432 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) Preserves part of one of the state's largest and best tallgrass prairies. A district of WPA structures is on the NRHP. Buffalo River State Park MN.jpg
Camden State Park Lyon 1,855 751 1935 Redwood River 44°21′45″N 95°55′30″W / 44.362462°N 95.9250247°W / 44.362462; -95.9250247 (Camden State Park) Preserves a forested river valley in the midst of prairie and farm country. A district of VCC and WPA structures is on the NRHP. Redwood River Camden.jpg
Carley State Park Wabasha 209 85 1949 Whitewater River 44°07′00″N 92°10′34″W / 44.1166318°N 92.1760002°W / 44.1166318; -92.1760002 (Carley State Park) Donated by State Senator James A. Carley to protect a stand of white pines. Used as an overflow campground for nearby Whitewater State Park. CarleyStateParkMinnesota2006-08.JPG
Cascade River State Park Cook 2,867 1,160 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) Stretches along 10.5 miles (16.9 km) of Lake Superior coastline in land rehabilitated after construction of Minnesota State Highway 61. A WPA highway wayside is on the NRHP. CascadeParkMN arf (2).JPG
Charles A. Lindbergh State Park Morrison 417 169 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 Congressman Charles August Lindbergh and his son Charles Lindbergh, the famous aviator. The house is a National Historic Landmark, and a district of WPA structures is on the NRHP. CharlesLindberghHouse.jpg
Crow Wing State Park Crow Wing, Cass, and Morrison 2,335 945 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 town and trading center in the mid-19th century. The town site and a section of the Red River Trails are both on the NRHP. CrowWingStateParkBeaulieauHouse.jpg
Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area Crow Wing 6,850 2,770 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) In development as the land is rehabilitated from open-pit iron mining. Includes Portsmouth Mine Pit Lake, the state's deepest lake. Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area Switchback Trail.jpg
Father Hennepin State Park Mille Lacs 275 111 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) Provides lakeside recreation in the region visited by Father Louis Hennepin during a French expedition in 1680. Father Hennepin MNSP Marsh.JPG
Flandrau State Park Brown 840 340 1937 Cottonwood River 44°17′18″N 94°28′25″W / 44.2882956°N 94.4735837°W / 44.2882956; -94.4735837 (Flandrau State Park) Created to provide water recreation near New Ulm. Entire park is a district of CCC and WPA structures on the NRHP. FlandrauStateParkBeachHouse.jpg
Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park Fillmore 3,163 1,280 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) Encompasses the historic townsite of Forestville, the state's longest explored cave, and three blue-ribbon trout streams. ForestvilleMNbridge.jpg
Fort Ridgely State Park Nicollet and Renville 537 217 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) Surrounds Fort Ridgely, site of the Battle of Fort Ridgely during the Dakota War of 1862. The fort and a large district of CCC structures are both on the NRHP. FortRidgely1.jpg
Fort Snelling State Park Ramsey, Hennepin, and Dakota 1,825 739 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) Contains historic Fort Snelling, built in 1819, and floodplain forest in the heart of Minneapolis – Saint Paul. The fort is a National Historic Landmark and the entire park is part of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. Fort Snelling Round Tower.JPG
Franz Jevne State Park Koochiching 118 48 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) Features scenic property on the Canada–United States border, donated by the sons of Franz Jevne, a lawyer, on the condition that the park be named after their father. Franz Jevne State Park - Rainy River, Minnesota US-Canada Border.jpg
Frontenac State Park Goodhue 2,226 901 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) Attracts 260 species of year-round and migrant birds with its variety of habitats. Includes a natural arch atop a 430-foot (130 m) bluff. Mississippi River w Lake Pepin in background at Frontenac State Park.jpg
Garden Island State Recreation Area Lake of the Woods 715 289 1998 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) Comprises a nearly undeveloped island, 15 mi (24 km) from the closest mainland marinas, that once bore Native American gardens.
George H. Crosby Manitou State Park Lake 6,200 2,500 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) Contains undeveloped North Woods wilderness geared towards backpackers. George H. Crosby-Manitou State Park WMRT.jpg
Glacial Lakes State Park Pope 1,857 752 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) Preserves rolling tallgrass prairie amidst the glacial landforms of the Leaf Hills Moraines. GlacialLakesStatePark.jpg
Glendalough State Park Otter Tail 1,924 779 1991 Six kettle lakes 46°20′00″N 95°40′00″W / 46.3333333°N 95.6666667°W / 46.3333333; -95.6666667 (Glendalough State Park) Developed from the former private retreat and game farm of the owners of the Star Tribune newspaper, with a heritage fishery of large game fish. GlendaloughStatePark.jpg
Gooseberry Falls State Park Lake 1,741 705 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) Serves as the gateway to the scenic North Shore. Features five waterfalls, an agate beach, and a large district of CCC structures on the NRHP. Gooseberry Falls State Park 2.JPG
Grand Portage State Park Cook 278 113 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) Features a 120-foot (37 m) waterfall, Minnesota's tallest, on the Canada–United States border. Co-managed with the Grand Portage Indian Reservation, the only state – tribal collaboration of a U.S. state park. HighFallsPigeonRiver.jpg
Great River Bluffs State Park Winona 2,122 859 1963 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-high (150 m) bluffs and steep goat prairies. Formerly named O.L. Kipp State Park. KingsAndQueensBluffs.jpg
Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area Meeker 1,230 500 2004 Greenleaf and Sioux Lakes 45°00′57″N 94°28′00″W / 45.01591°N 94.46671°W / 45.01591; -94.46671 (Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area) In development and open for limited day-use recreation. Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area.jpg
Hayes Lake State Park Roseau 2,118 857 1967 Hayes Lake, North Fork Roseau River 48°37′24″N 95°30′28″W / 48.623309°N 95.507753°W / 48.623309; -95.507753 (Hayes Lake State Park) Provides fishing and swimming opportunities in an exclusively recreational reservoir free of agricultural runoff or water level fluctuations for irrigation or power generation. Hayes Lake Bog Boardwalk Hayes Lake State Park Minnesota (36305896241).jpg
Hill-Annex Mine State Park Itasca 634 257 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) Offers tours of a former open-pit iron mine and fossil collecting. A district of mine structures is on the NRHP. Hill-Annex Mine State Park.jpg
Interstate State Park Chisago 288 117 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) Created in conjunction with a state park in Wisconsin to protect a basalt gorge and glacial potholes. Two districts of CCC and WPA structures are on the NRHP. Dalles Of St Croix.jpg
Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle State Recreation Area St. Louis 1,864 754 2002 Lake Ore-be-gone 47°28′57″N 92°26′37″W / 47.48247°N 92.44349°W / 47.48247; -92.44349 (Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle State Recreation Area) Provides 36 miles (58 km) of trails for off highway vehicles. Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation Area, Minnesota (28064197648).jpg
Itasca State Park Hubbard, Clearwater, and Becker 30,553 12,364 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, which preserves the headwaters of the Mississippi River. The entire park and an individual archaeological site are on the NRHP, and a subsection is a National Natural Landmark. Mississippi River at Itasca.jpg
Jay Cooke State Park Carlton 8,125 3,288 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) Showcases a rocky, whitewater-strewn river churning through the North Woods. Three districts of CCC and WPA structures and a long-used portage route are on the NRHP. JayCookeStatePark1.jpg
John A. Latsch State Park Winona 409 166 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. John A. Latsch State Park overlook.jpg
Judge C. R. Magney State Park Cook 4,323 1,749 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 the Devil's Kettle, a large glacial kettle into which half of the Brule River disappears. JudgeCRMagneyStateParkDevilsKettleFalls.jpg,
Kilen Woods State Park Jackson 202 82 1945 Des Moines River 43°43′36″N 95°03′47″W / 43.7266244°N 95.0630473°W / 43.7266244; -95.0630473 (Kilen Woods State Park) Preserves a riverside parcel of forested hills on the Coteau des Prairies. Kilen Woods State Park overlook.JPG
La Salle Lake State Recreation Area Hubbard 1,000 400 2011 Mississippi River, La Salle Lake 47°20′14″N 95°10′14″W / 47.33719°N 95.17061°W / 47.33719; -95.17061 (La Salle Lake State Recreation Area) In development around the second-deepest lake in Minnesota. La Salle Lake State Recreation Area.JPG
Lac qui Parle State Park Lac qui Parle and Chippewa 897 363 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) Attracts thousands of migrating waterfowl, earning it the name "Lake that Speaks." A district of WPA buildings is on the NRHP. Lac qui Parle.jpg
Lake Bemidji State Park Beltrami 1,653 669 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) Features a recreational lakeshore and a spruce-tamarack bog. A district of CCC and National Youth Administration structures is on the NRHP. BemidjiStatePark-HiddenLake.jpg
Lake Bronson State Park Kittson 2,806 1,136 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) Features a reservoir created during a drought in the 1930s. A district of WPA structures is on the NRHP. LakeBronsonStateParkTower.jpg
Lake Carlos State Park Douglas 1,175 476 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) Preserves diverse habitats from prairie to hardwood forest to tamarack bog in a transition zone. Two districts of WPA structures are on the NRHP. LakeCarlosStatePark.jpg
Lake Louise State Park Mower 849 344 1963 Lake Louise, Upper and Little Iowa Rivers 43°32′01″N 92°31′32″W / 43.5335762°N 92.5254538°W / 43.5335762; -92.5254538 (Lake Louise State Park) Features a reservoir surrounded by oak savanna and patches of hardwood forest. Minnesota's oldest continuous recreation area, formerly a town park since the 1860s. Lake Louise State Park.jpg
Lake Maria State Park Wright 1,475 597 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) Provides a lightly developed wilderness area near Minneapolis – Saint Paul in a morainal landscape of Big Woods. LakeMariaStateParkBjorklandLake.jpg
Lake Shetek State Park Murray County 1,109 449 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) Features remnants of pioneer history around the largest lake in southwestern Minnesota. Two districts of WPA structures are on the NRHP. Lake Shetek causeway.JPG
Lake Vermilion State Park St. Louis 2,875 1,163 2010 Lake Vermilion 47°50′05″N 92°11′53″W / 47.83471°N 92.19812°W / 47.83471; -92.19812 (Lake Vermilion State Park) Recently purchased and in development on the fifth-largest lake in Minnesota. Lake Vermilion State Park Overlook.jpg
Maplewood State Park Otter Tail 8,127 3,289 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) Preserves a forest/prairie transition zone in the Leaf Hills Moraines. A Native American archaeological site is on the NRHP. Maplewoodstatepark.jpg
McCarthy Beach State Park St. Louis 1,908 772 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) Features a .5-mile-long (0.80 km) beach on an isthmus between two lakes. McCarthyBeachStatePark.jpg
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park Mille Lacs 9,786 3,960 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) Preserves 19 identified archaeological sites dating back 9000 years. The entire park is a National Historic Landmark and four sites are individually listed on the NRHP. Millelacs.jpg
Minneopa State Park Blue Earth 1,617 654 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) Showcases the largest waterfall in southern Minnesota. The 1864 Seppman Mill and a district of WPA structures are each on the NRHP. MinneopaFalls2010.jpg
Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area Hennepin, Dakota, Scott, Carver, Sibley, and Le Sueur 6,442 2,607 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) Comprises non-contiguous sections interspersed with units of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in the valley formed by Glacial River Warren. MinnesotaRiver1.jpg
Monson Lake State Park Swift 343 139 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. A district of CCC and WPA structures is on the NRHP. Broberg Cabin Cellar Hole.jpg
Moose Lake State Park Carlton 829 335 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) Provides water recreation and an exhibit hall on Lake Superior agates (the state gemstone) and the geology of Minnesota. Moose Lake Agate and Geological Interpretive Center.jpg
Myre-Big Island State Park Freeborn 1,578 639 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) Features two islands with old growth hardwood forest since they were out of reach of prairie fires. Also houses one of the state's largest research collections of Native American artifacts. Myre-Big Island State Park.jpg
Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park Rice 1,646 666 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. Nerstrand Big Woods SP-HiddenFalls.JPG
Old Mill State Park Marshall 287 116 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) Features two mills and a log cabin from the late 19th Century. The Larson Mill and a district of WPA structures are each on the NRHP. Larson Mill.jpg
Red River State Recreation Area Polk 104 42 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) Reclaims land devastated by the 1997 Red River flood as part of the Greater Grand Forks Greenway, which serves the dual purpose of holding back river waters during floods and providing recreational opportunities. Red River State Recreation Area.JPG
Rice Lake State Park Steele and Dodge 712 288 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) Surrounds a shallow lake which attracts migrating waterfowl. RiceLakeStateParkMN.jpg
St. Croix Islands State Recreation Area Washington 25 10 1935 St. Croix River 45°05′07″N 92°47′10″W / 45.08524°N 92.78608°W / 45.08524; -92.78608 (St. Croix Islands State Recreation Area) Comprises five islands near the St. Croix Boom Site that came under state control but were never developed. Leased to the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway. St. Croix Islands and Boom Site.JPG
St. Croix State Park Pine 31,775 12,859 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) Developed as a Recreational Demonstration Area by the CCC and the WPA to repurpose land too poor to farm. The entire park is a National Historic Landmark. Reflectionlake.jpg
Sakatah Lake State Park Le Sueur and Rice 810 330 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) Features a transitional zone between prairie and Big Woods on a natural widening of the Cannon River. SakatahLakeStatePark.jpg
Savanna Portage State Park Aitkin and St. Louis 15,277 6,182 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) Preserves a historically important and legendarily difficult 6-mile (9.7 km) portage over a continental divide between the watersheds of the Mississippi River and Lake Superior. The portage is on the NRHP. Savanna Portage State Park.jpg
Scenic State Park Itasca 2,370 960 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) Features pristine lakes and old-growth pines. Two districts of structures built by the first CCC state park camp in Minnesota are on the NRHP. Scenic State Park–Coon Lake.JPG
Schoolcraft State Park Cass and Itasca 141 57 1959 Mississippi River 47°13′30″N 93°48′00″W / 47.2249502°N 93.7999449°W / 47.2249502; -93.7999449 (Schoolcraft State Park) Honors Henry Schoolcraft, who charted the origins of the Mississippi River with the Ojibwe guide Ozawindib. Preserves virgin pine forest that includes a white pine over 300 years old. Schoolcraft State Park kayakers.jpg
Sibley State Park Kandiyohi 2,540 1,030 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) Honors Henry Hastings Sibley, the first governor of Minnesota, with a popular recreational lakeshore and a morainal landscape. A district of CCC structures is on the NRHP. Sibley State Park Mt Tom Tower.jpg
Soudan Underground Mine State Park St. Louis 974 394 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) Offers tours of Minnesota's oldest, deepest, and richest iron mine and a modern high energy physics laboratory. The mine is a National Historic Landmark and a row of 20th Century boathouses is on the NRHP. Soudan Mine Headframe.jpg
Split Rock Creek State Park Pipestone 947 383 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) Features a recreational reservoir on the Coteau des Prairies. Split Rock Creek State Park in fog.jpg
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park Lake 2,112 855 1945 Lake Superior, Split Rock River 47°11′32″N 91°23′35″W / 47.1921472°N 91.3929484°W / 47.1921472; -91.3929484 (Split Rock Lighthouse State Park) Surrounds the clifftop Split Rock Lighthouse, one of the most photographed lighthouses in the United States. The lighthouse is a National Historic Landmark. Splitrock lighthouse.jpg
Temperance River State Park Cook 1,134 459 1957 Lake Superior, Temperance and Cross Rivers 47°33′16″N 90°52′21″W / 47.5543466°N 90.8723722°W / 47.5543466; -90.8723722 (Temperance River State Park) Showcases the deep, narrow gorge of the Temperance River (so named for its lack of a "bar" at its mouth) and Carlton Peak, a rock climbing area. Temperance River State Park SHT Bridge.jpg
Tettegouche State Park Lake 8,998 3,641 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) Encompasses the tallest waterfall within the state's borders, the iconic headlands of Palisade Head and Shovel Point, and a historic fishing camp which is on the NRHP. Lake Superior North Shore(v2).jpg
Upper Sioux Agency State Park Yellow Medicine 1,065 431 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) Interprets the site of the agency that administered a Dakota Indian reservation until it was destroyed during the Dakota War of 1862. The agency is on the NRHP. Upper Sioux Agency State Park.jpg
Whitewater State Park Winona 1,672 677 1919 Whitewater River 44°03′30″N 92°03′32″W / 44.058297°N 92.0587726°W / 44.058297; -92.0587726 (Whitewater State Park) Showcases a popular steep-sided river valley in the Driftless Area. A large district of CCC and WPA structures is on the NRHP. Whitewater State Park.jpg
Wild River State Park Chisago 6,574 2,660 1973 St. Croix River 45°34′05″N 92°52′33″W / 45.5680159°N 92.8757696°W / 45.5680159; -92.8757696 (Wild River State Park) Follows 18 miles (29 km) of one of the first waterways designated a National Wild and Scenic River. A section of the Point Douglas to Superior Military Road is on the NRHP. WildRiverStatePark1.jpg
William O'Brien State Park Washington 1,783 722 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. William O'Brien State Park Riverside Trail.jpg
Zippel Bay State Park Lake of the Woods 2,826 1,144 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) Provides water recreation and birdwatching opportunities on the shore of the country's sixth largest lake. Zippel Bay State Park, Minnesota - Sunset on Lake of the Woods.jpg

State waysides

The state park system includes nine 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 cultural or natural resources greater than would be overseen by the Minnesota Department of Transportation as highway waysides. Generally development is limited to a parking area and a short trail; sometimes there are sanitation facilities and picnic tables as well.

Wayside name County Date established Coordinates Remarks Image
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. Caribou Falls MN.jpg
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 on the Devil Track River within Superior National Forest. Formerly Devils Track Falls State Park. DevilsTrackFalls.jpg
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. Flood Bay State Wayside.jpg
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. View from top of Inspiration Peak.jpg
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. The ruins are on the NRHP. Joseph R. Brown House Ruins 2.JPG
Kadunce River State Wayside Cook 1947 47°47′38″N 90°09′15″W / 47.79393°N 90.15414°W / 47.79393; -90.15414 (Kadunce River State Wayside) Lake Superior shoreline around the mouth of the variably spelled Kadunce River. Formerly Kodonce River State Park. Kadunce River at Lake Superior, Minnesota (23625023738).jpg
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. Roy Berglund State Wayside.JPG
St. Croix Boom Site State Wayside Washington 2016 45°05′02″N 92°47′14″W / 45.08386°N 92.78731°W / 45.08386; -92.78731 (St. Croix Boom Site State Wayside) Commemorates the site of a log boom where timber was sorted. Became a state wayside in 2016 following a facelift of facilities formerly owned by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Boom site 3.jpg
Sam Brown Memorial 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 (190 km) through a storm on April 19, 1866 to warn of an expected Dakota attack. Formerly Sam Brown State Park. Fort Wadsworth Agency & Scout Headquarters Building.JPG

State trails

Trail name Trailheads Length in miles Length in kilometers Surface Remarks
Arrowhead State Trail TowerInternational Falls 135 217 Unpaved Serves primarily as a winter snowmobile route, branching off the Taconite State Trail.
Blazing Star State Trail Albert LeaMyre-Big Island State Park 6 9.7 Paved Planned to continue to Austin and connect with the Shooting Star State Trail.
Blufflands State Trail: Harmony-Preston Valley Segment HarmonyPreston 18 29 Paved Climbs out of the Root River Valley.
Blufflands State Trail: Root River Segment FountainHouston 42 68 Paved Extends along the Root River.
Casey Jones State Trail PipestoneMurray County,
Lake Shetek State ParkCurrie
19 31 Partly paved Invokes legendary train engineer Casey Jones in three unconnected segments that reflect railroad and pioneer history.
Central Lakes State Trail OsakisFergus Falls 55 89 Paved Skirts a series of glacially formed lakes in Central Minnesota and connects to the Lake Wobegon Trails.
Cuyuna Lakes State Trail Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area 6 9.7 Paved Wends through a regenerating open-pit mining area and connects with several mountain biking trails.
Douglas State Trail Pine IslandRochester 13 21 Parallel paved and unpaved Stretches through the rural scenery of a rich agricultural region.
Gateway State Trail St. Paul – Pine Point Regional Park 18 29 Paved with 10 miles (16 km) of parallel unpaved Extends from an urban setting to a rural park near Stillwater.
Gitchi-Gami State Trail Gooseberry Falls State ParkBeaver Bay,
25 40 Paved Runs along the shore of Lake Superior in multiple unconnected segments. Planned to run continuously from Two Harbors to Grand Marais.
Glacial Lakes State Trail HawickWillmar 22 35 Parallel paved and unpaved Traverses gently rolling glacial landforms.
Goodhue Pioneer State Trail Red Wing – Hay Creek Township,
10 16 Paved with some parallel unpaved Exists in two sections, but planned to run from Red Wing to Pine Island.
Great River Ridge State Trail PlainviewEyota 13 21 Paved with some parallel unpaved Wends past the river bluffs of the Driftless Area.
Heartland State Trail Park Rapids – Cass Lake 49 79 Paved with some parallel unpaved Passes through mixed northern forests, intersecting with the Paul Bunyan State Trail.
Luce Line State Trail PlymouthCosmos 63 101 Partly paved with some parallel unpaved Stretches from the Minneapolis suburbs out to a rural landscape.
Mill Towns State Trail NorthfieldDundas 3 4.8 Paved Planned to connect the Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail in Faribault to the Cannon Valley Trail in Cannon Falls
Minnesota Valley State Trail ShakopeeBelle Plaine 42 68 Mostly unpaved Follows the Minnesota River.
North Shore State Trail DuluthGrand Marais 146 235 Unpaved Traverses the inland backcountry of the North Shore, primarily as a winter snowmobile route.
Paul Bunyan State Trail BrainerdLake Bemidji State Park 112 180 Paved Comprises one of the country's longest continuously paved trails, with a planned extension to Crow Wing State Park. Intersects with the Heartland State Trail.
Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail FaribaultMankato 39 63 Paved with some parallel unpaved Follows the Cannon River and passes through Sakatah Lake State Park.
Shooting Star State Trail LeRoyAdams 14 23 Paved Crosses open country and passes through Lake Louise State Park.
Taconite State Trail Grand RapidsEly 155 249 Mostly unpaved Serves primarily as a winter snowmobile route, intersecting with the Arrowhead State Trail.
Willard Munger State Trail HinckleyDuluth,
Chengwatana State Forest – Holyoke
76 122 Paved Honors state legislator and trail advocate Willard Munger with a trail system of three segments.

Future trails

Since Minnesota state parks and trails are authorized by the state legislature, some trails have been established in state statute, yet no usable mileage has been constructed.

Trail name South/West terminus North/East terminus Remarks
Camp Ripley/Veterans State Trail Little Falls Crow Wing State Park A segment is planned to split to the west of Camp Ripley and serve Pillager. Planned to connect the Soo Line Off-Highway Vehicle Trail with the Paul Bunyan State Trail.
Des Moines River Valley State Trail Iowa border in Jackson County Casey Jones State Trail in Murray County Planned to connect with the Iowa Great Lakes regional trail in Mini-Wakan State Park. Also planned to go through Kilen Woods State Park.
Minnesota River State Trail Big Stone Lake State Park Le Sueur Planned to connect with the Minnesota Valley State Trail in Le Sueur.
Mississippi Blufflands State Trail Lake City Red Wing To connect with the Cannon Valley Trail and the Rattlesnake Bluff Trail.
Prairie Wildflower State Trail Austin Faribault To follow an abandoned railroad grade.
Stagecoach State Trail Owatonna Rochester To pass through Rice Lake State Park on the historic Stagecoach Trail.
Superior Vista State Trail Duluth Two Harbors To follow the Lake Superior shoreline via abandoned railroad grades.

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. Four of these units were redesignated as state waysides and are listed above. The other former units were:

Former name Date
Result Image
Alexander Ramsey State Park 1911 1957 Transferred to Redwood Falls as a city park. Ramsey-falls.jpg
Birch Cooley Battle Field State Memorial Park 1929 1976 Transferred to Minnesota Historical Society. Birch Coulee Battlefield monument.JPG
Camp Release State Memorial Wayside 1889 1975 Redesignated Camp Release State Monument. Camp Release.JPG
Chippewa Mission State Memorial Wayside 1931 1973 Transferred to Minnesota Historical Society. Lac qui Parle Mission.JPG
Horace Austin State Park 1913 1949 Transferred to Austin as a city park. AustinStatePark.jpg
Garvin Heights State Park 1922 1961 Transferred to Winona as a city park. GarvinHeightsWinonaMN.jpg
Kaplan Woods State Park 1935 1963 Part demolished to build a highway, remainder transferred to Owatonna as a city park. KaplanParkOwatonnaMN.jpg
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. Old Crossing Treaty Monument.jpg
Oronoco Park (later Oronoco State Scenic Reserve) 1937 1965 Transferred to Olmsted County. Oronoco Park Pavilion.jpg
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. Fort Pomme de Terre site.jpg
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 St. Peter. TraverseDesSioux.jpg
Watson State Wayside 1941 1959 Transferred to Watson as a city park.
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