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Map of State Parks of Minnesota
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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). 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 Parkmarker 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 Statesmarker, after New Yorkmarker's.


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. The most recent park created is Big Bog State Recreation Areamarker in 2006. A new park on Lake Vermilionmarker is under consideration .Currently the Parks range in size from Franz Jevne State Parkmarker with 118 acres (0.48 km2) to Saint Croix State Parkmarker with 34,037 acres (137.74 km2).

Image:Lake Itasca Mississippi Source.jpg|
Itasca State Parkmarker,

birthplace of the Mississippi River
Tettegouche State Parkmarker, the High Falls
Image:BlueMoundsStatePark.jpg |
Blue Mounds State Parkmarker, cliffs of Quartzite bedrock
Image:MINOS_Project_in_Soudan_Mine.jpg |
Soudan Underground Mine State Parkmarker, MINOSmarker neutrino detector


Minnesota's first attempt to create a state park came in 1885, when a park was authorized to preserve Minnehaha Fallsmarker. 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 Minneapolismarker 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 Itascamarker both for its recreational opportunities and to protect the source of the Mississippi River. Interstate Parkmarker 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 Minneopamarker and Jay Cooke State Parksmarker, 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 Parkmarker, 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. In 1971 the department became the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Image:Fort Snelling Round Tower.JPG|
Fort Snelling State Parkmarker,

the Round Tower
Buffalo River State Park,

The Buffalo River
Image:Father Hennepin MNSP Marsh.JPG|
Father Hennepin State Parkmarker,

Charles A.marker
Lindbergh State Parkmarker,

Charles Lindbergh House

State parks and recreation areas

Park Name Site County or Counties Area in acres (km²) Date

Body of Water Coordinates Remarks
Afton State Parkmarker [71645] Washingtonmarker  acres (6.86 km²) 1969 St. Croix River Park lies on a glacial moraine with deep ravines that drop 300 feet (91.44 m) down to the St. Croix River.
Banning State Parkmarker [71646] Pinemarker  acres (25.09 km²) 1963 Kettle River Park contains 1.5 miles (2.41 km) of whitewater rapids and an historic quarry.
Bear Head Lake State Parkmarker [71647] St. Louismarker  acres (18.30 km²) 1961 Bear Head Lake Park is located just south of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wildernessmarker.
Beaver Creek Valley State Parkmarker [71648] Houstonmarker  acres (4.80 km²) 1937 East Beaver Creek The narrow valley carved by a trout stream showcases the rugged topography of the Driftless Area.
Big Bog State Recreation Areamarker [71649] Beltramimarker  acres (38.28 km²) 2006 Red Lakemarker The Big Bog, the largest peatland in the Lower U.S.[71650], sits on the southeast side of glacial Lake Agassizmarker.
Big Stone Lake State Parkmarker [71651] Big Stonemarker  acres (3.99 km²) 1961 Big Stone Lakemarker The park is located on the former southern outlet of glacial Lake Agassiz.
Blue Mounds State Parkmarker [71652] Rockmarker  acres (7.39 km²) 1937 Mound Creek The park is named after a linear escarpment of Precambrian quartzite bedrock.
Buffalo River State Park [71653] Claymarker  acres (5.35 km²) 1937 Buffalo River The prairie within the park is judged to be one of the largest and best of the state's prairie preserves.
Camden State Parkmarker [71654] Lyonmarker  acres (9.09 km²) 1935 Redwood River Thirteen buildings and structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Carley State Parkmarker [71655] Wabashamarker  acres (0.85 km²) 1949 Whitewater River Park is named after State Senator James A. Carley, who donated the land.
Cascade River State Parkmarker [71656] Cookmarker  acres (20.43 km²) 1957 Lake Superiormarker and Cascade River Park is connected to the Superior Hiking Trail and North Shore State Trail.
Charles A.marker Lindbergh State Parkmarker [71657] Morrisonmarker  acres (2.3 km²) 1931 Mississippi River Contains the restored home of Charles August Lindbergh, Congressman and the father of the famous aviator, Charles Lindbergh.
Crow Wing State Parkmarker [71658] Crow Wingmarker, Cassmarker, and Morrisonmarker  acres (12.62 km²) 1959 Mississippi and Crow Wing Rivers Interprets the site of Old Crow Wingmarker, an important trading settlement.
Cuyuna Country State Recreation Areamarker [71659] Crow Wingmarker  acres (11.22 km²) 1993 Chain of small lakes and streams, filled pit mines The Cuyuna Range was the last of Minnesota's three major iron ranges to be discovered and mined.
Father Hennepin State Parkmarker [71660] Mille Lacsmarker  acres (1.29 km²) 1941 Mille Lacs Lakemarker Park is named after Father Louis Hennepin, a priest who visited the area with a French expedition in 1680.
Flandrau State Parkmarker [71661] Brownmarker  acres (4.07 km²) 1937 Cottonwood River 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 Parkmarker [71662] Fillmoremarker  acres (12.83 km²) 1963 South Branch Root River and tributaries Park contains Mystery Cave, the longest cave in the state that is open to the public.
Fort Ridgely State Parkmarker [71663] Nicolletmarker and Renvillemarker  acres (4.21 km²) 1911 Fort Ridgely Creek Park preserves Fort Ridgelymarker, which is notable for its use during the Dakota War of 1862.
Fort Snelling State Parkmarker [71664] Ramseymarker, Hennepinmarker, and Dakotamarker  acres (11.86 km²) 1961 Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers Park contains historic Fort Snellingmarker, which was built in 1819.
Franz Jevne State Parkmarker [71665] Koochichingmarker  acres (0.48 km²) 1967 Rainy Rivermarker 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 Parkmarker [71666] Goodhuemarker  acres (9.3 km²) 1957 Lake Pepinmarker on Mississippi River Park is home to 260 species of birds for part or all of the year.
Garden Island State Recreation Areamarker [71667] Lake of the Woodsmarker  acres (2.97 km²) 1998 Lake of the Woodsmarker Formerly the site of a large garden created by Native Americans taught by La Vérendrye who explored the area.
George H.marker Crosby Manitou State Parkmarker [71668] Lakemarker  acres (27 km2) 1955 Manitou River Park contains many undisturbed miles of fir, cedar, spruce, and northern hardwoods. Park is geared towards backpacker.
Glacial Lakes State Parkmarker [71669] Popemarker  acres (9.8 km2) 1963 Several kettle lakes Park contains many glacial landforms, including rolling glacial hills unlike others in the state, created by ice sheets during the Wisconsin Stage.
Glendalough State Parkmarker [71670] Otter Tailmarker  acres (7.81 km2) 1992 Six kettle lakes During the 1950s, when it was a resort, former presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon were guests at Glendalough.
Gooseberry Falls State Parkmarker [71671] Lakemarker  acres (6.82 km2) 1937 Lake Superiormarker, Gooseberry River The park includes Lake Superiormarker shoreline, five waterfalls, Gooseberry River and gorge, an agate Beach and the Picnic Lava Flow.
Grand Portage State Parkmarker [71672] Cookmarker  acres (1.12 km2) 1989 Pigeon River Park contains a 120 foot (37 meter) waterfall, the tallest in the state shared on a border.
Great River Bluffs State Parkmarker [71673] Winonamarker  acres (12.4 km2) 1971 Mississippi River Features high bluffs and steep "goat prairies" Formerly named O.L. Kipp State Park.
Hayes Lake State Parkmarker [71674] Roseaumarker  acres (11.97 km2) 1967 Hayes Lake, North Fork Roseau River Hayes Lake was created for the park by damming the Roseau River. In the Glacial Lake Agassizmarker lake bed.
Hill-Annex Mine State Parkmarker [71675] Itascamarker  acres (2.57 km2) 1988 Filled pit mine Well preserved historic mine buildings that are on the National Register of Historic Places
Interstate Parkmarker [71676] Chisagomarker  acres (1.2 km2) 1895 St. Croix River This was the first park in the United Statesmarker to span two states (Minnesotamarker and Wisconsinmarker).
Itasca State Parkmarker [71677] Hubbardmarker, Clearwatermarker, and Beckermarker  acres (132.29 km2) 1891 Lake Itascamarker Minnesota's oldest state park. Lake Itasca is the source of the Mississippi River.
Jay Cooke State Parkmarker [71678] Carltonmarker  acres (35.53 km2) 1915 Saint Louis River Features rustic style historical structures and swinging bridge built by the CCC between 1933 and 1942.
John A.marker Latsch State Parkmarker [71679] Winonamarker  acres (7.57 km2) 1925 Mississippi River Features three steep river bluffs named Faith, Hope, and Charity.
Judge C.marker R.marker Magney State Parkmarker [71680] Cookmarker  acres (18.78 km2) 1957 Lake Superiormarker, Brule River Contains "Devil's Kettle" a large glacial kettle into which half of the Brule River disappears.
Kilen Woods State Parkmarker [71681] Jacksonmarker  acres (2.21 km2) 1945 Des Moines River Park is on the Coteau des Prairies.
Lac qui Parle State Parkmarker [71682] Lac qui Parlemarker and Chippewamarker  acres (4.26 km2) 1959 Lac qui Parlemarker, Minnesota and Lac qui Parle Rivers 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 Parkmarker [71683] Beltramimarker  acres (6.98 km2) 1923 Lake Bemidjimarker In addition to recreational lakeshore, the park features a boardwalk trail out into a spruce-tamarack bog.
Lake Bronson State Parkmarker [71684] Kittsonmarker  acres (11.36 km2) 1937 Lake Bronson, South Branch Two Rivers Hayes lake was created for the park, by damming the Two Rivers. In the Glacial Lake Agassizmarker lake bed. Park is on the NRHP.
Lake Carlos State Parkmarker [71685] Douglasmarker  acres (5.00 km2) 1937 Lake Carlos Five buildings on the NRHP. In a hardwood transition zone between prairies and coniferous forest.
Lake Louise State Parkmarker [71686] Mowermarker  acres (4.64 km2) 1963 Lake Louise, Little Iowa River Minnesota's oldest continuous recreation area. Lake Louise was created by damming the Little Iowa River.
Lake Maria State Parkmarker [71687] Wrightmarker  acres (6.53 km2) 1963 Several kettle lakes Lightly developed to provide a wilderness area near Minneapolis-Saint Paulmarker.
Lake Shetek State Parkmarker [71688] Murray Countymarker  acres (4.48 km2) 1937 Lake Shetekmarker 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 Parkmarker [71689] Otter Tailmarker  acres (37.49 km2) 1963 Several kettle lakes 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 Parkmarker [71690] St. Louismarker  acres (9.99 km2) 1945 Sturgeon and Side Lakes Highways' Magazine rated the beach on Sturgeon Lake one of the top 17 beaches in North America.
Mille Lacs Kathio State Parkmarker [71691] Mille Lacsmarker  acres (42.71 km2) 1957 Mille Lacs Lakemarker, Rum River 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 Parkmarker [71692] Blue Earthmarker  acres (10.89 km2) 1905 Minnesota River, Minneopa Creek Contains Seppmann windmill which is on the NRHP. Minneopa Creek and its waterfalls are the major features that attract visitors.
Minnesota Valley State Recreation Areamarker [71693] Hennepinmarker, Dakotamarker, Scottmarker, Carvermarker, Sibleymarker, and Le Sueurmarker  acres (22.2 km2) 1969 Minnesota River The sections of this non-contiguous park are interspersed with units of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refugemarker in the valley formed by Glacial River Warren.
Monson Lake State Parkmarker [71694] Swift Countymarker  acres (0.75 km2) 1937 Monson and West Sunberg Lakes Established as a memorial to settlers who died in the Dakota War of 1862.
Moose Lake State Parkmarker [71695] Carltonmarker  acres (4.85 km2) 1971 Moosehead and Echo Lakes 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 Parkmarker [71696] Freebornmarker  acres (8.2 km2) 1947 Albert Lea Lake 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 Parkmarker [71697] Ricemarker  acres (11.6 km2) 1945 Prairie Creek Preserves a remnant stand of Big Woods.
Old Mill State Parkmarker [71698] Marshallmarker  acres (1.16 km2) 1951 Middle River 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 Areamarker [71699] Polkmarker  acres (4.97 km2) 1997 Red River of the Northmarker and Red Lake River 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 Parkmarker [71700] Steelemarker and Dodgemarker  acres (4.3 km2) 1963 Rice Lake Shallow lake is a stopover for migrating waterfowl.
Saint Croix State Parkmarker [71701] Pine Countymarker  acres (137.16 km2) 1943 St. Croix River Originally the St. Croix Recreational Demonstration Area, the park was created from land too poor to farm. 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.
Sakatah Lake State Parkmarker [71702] Le Sueurmarker and Ricemarker  acres (3.4 km2) 1963 Sakatah Lake on the Cannon River This parcel of hardwoods along the transition zone from forest to oak savanna was never logged.
Savanna Portage State Parkmarker [71703] Aitkinmarker and St. Louismarker  acres (64.01 km2) 1961 Eastmarker and West Savanna Rivers, numerous kettle lakes 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 Parkmarker [71704] Itascamarker  acres (13.59 km2) 1921 Sandwick and Coon Lakes First park with a Civilian Conservation Corps camp. Contains 10 CCC buildings.
Schoolcraft State Parkmarker [71705] Cassmarker and Itascamarker  acres (0.91 km2) 1959 Mississippi River 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 Parkmarker [71706] Kandiyohimarker  acres (10.15 km2) 1919 Lake Andrew and other kettle lakes Named for Henry Hastings Sibley, the first governor of the state.
Soudan Underground Mine State Parkmarker [71707] St. Louismarker  acres (5.05 km2) 1963 Lake Vermilionmarker Minnesota's oldest, deepest, and richest iron mine. The tour of the mine goes below the Earth's surface. Hosts the Soudan Underground Physics Laboratory High Energy Physics Lab which searches for Dark Matter.
Split Rock Creek State Parkmarker [71708] Pipestonemarker  acres (5.27 km2) 1937 Split Rock Lake 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 Parkmarker [71709] Lakemarker  acres (8.9 km2) 1945 Lake Superiormarker 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 Parkmarker [71710] Cookmarker  acres (20.47 km2) 1957 Lake Superiormarker and Temperance River Named the Temperance River because there was no sand "bar" at its mouth.
Tettegouche State Parkmarker [71711] Lakemarker  acres (38.69 km2) 1979 Lake Superiormarker and Baptism River Park contains a 60 ft (18 m) tall waterfall, the tallest entirely within the state. Shovel Point and Palisade Headmarker cliffs are popular for rock climbing.
Upper Sioux Agency State Parkmarker [71712] Yellow Medicinemarker  acres (5.18 km2) 1963 Minnesota and Yellow Medicine Rivers Preserves the site of the historic Yellow Medicine Agency which was destroyed in the Dakota War of 1862.
Whitewater State Parkmarker [71713] Winonamarker  acres (11.1 km2) 1919 Whitewater River 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 Parkmarker [71714] Chisagomarker  acres (27.38 km2) 1973 St. Croix River Named after the St. Croix's status as a National Wild and Scenic River.
William O'Brien State Parkmarker [71715] Washingtonmarker  acres (6.55 km2) 1947 St. Croix River Provides outdoor recreation opportunities near Minneapolis-Saint Paulmarker.
Zippel Bay State Parkmarker [71716] Lake of the Woodsmarker  acres (11.76 km2) 1959 Lake of the Woodsmarker 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.
Name County Year

Coordinates Remarks Minnesota Statute § 85.013, Minnesota Revisor of Statutes.
Caribou Falls State Wayside Lakemarker 1947 Includes a waterfall on the Caribou River. Formerly Caribou Falls State Park.
Devils Track Falls State Wayside Cookmarker 1961 A nearly inaccessible gorge within Superior National Forestmarker. Formerly Devils Track Falls State Park.
Flood Bay State Wayside Lakemarker 1965 A rocky Lake Superior beach just outside Two Harborsmarker.
Inspiration Peak State Waysidemarker Otter Tailmarker 1931 The highest point of the Leaf Hills Moraines.
Joseph R.marker Brown State Waysidemarker Renvillemarker 1937 The ruins of Joseph R. Brown's three-story mansion, destroyed during the Dakota War of 1862.
Kodonce River State Wayside Cookmarker 1947 Lake Superior shoreline around the mouth of a small river. Also spelled 'Kadunce'. Formerly Kodunce River State Park.
Ray Berglund State Wayside Cookmarker 1951 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 Traversemarker 1929 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 Waysidemarker, 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. Some of these units were redesignated as state waysides. 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. The other former units were:
Name Established Redesignated Result
Alexander Ramsey State Park 1911 1957 Transferred to Redwood Fallsmarker as a city park.
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 Monumentmarker.
Chippewa Mission State Memorial Wayside 1931 1973 Transferred to Minnesota Historical Society.
Horace Austin State Park 1913 1949 Transferred to Austinmarker as a city park.
Garvin Heights State Park 1922 1961 Transferred to Winonamarker as a city park.
Kaplan Woods State Park 1935 1963 Part demolished to build a highway, remainder transferred to Owatonnamarker as a city park.
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 Countymarker and University of Minnesota Crookston, remainder added to Huot Wildlife Management Area.
Oronoco Park (later Oronoco State Scenic Reserve) 1937 1965 Transferred to Olmsted Countymarker.
Pine Tree State Park 1947 1965 Transferred to Blackduckmarker as a city park.
Pomme de Terre Recreational Reserve 1937 1965 Transferred to Morrismarker as a city park.
Sleepy Eye State Park 1921 1965 Transferred to Sleepy Eyemarker as a city park.
Toqua Lakes State Park 1921 1965 Transferred to Big Stone Countymarker as a county park.
Traverse des Siouxmarker State Park 1905 1981 Transferred to Minnesota Historical Society and city of Saint Petermarker.
Watson State Wayside 1941 1959 Transferred to Watsonmarker as a city park.

See also


  1. , p. 16.
  2. All data come from respective DNR webpage unless otherwise noted.
  3. "Minnesota State Parks Guide 2007 2008." State of Minnesota, Department of Natural Resources, 2007.

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

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