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Afton State Park


Grand oaks and delicate prairie flowers grace the rugged, rolling landscape of this park. trails traverse remnant and restored prairies, wind down deep ravines and rise up to the grassy ridgetops and bluffs overlooking the scenic st. croix river. the trails are perfect for hikers, horseback riders and cross-country skiers. the park offers visitors a swimming beach, backpack campsites and a visitor center with interpretive displays.

Banning State Park


Treat yourself to a visit to banning state park, just minutes off i-35 near sandstone. in the spring, watch daring canoeists and kayakers shoot the turbulent rapids at blueberry slide, mother's delight, dragon's tooth and hell's gate. in the summer, hike along the kettle river amid dramatic sandstone rock formations with lush lichens, liverworts and mosses. visit wolf creek falls, the log creek arches and robinson's ice cave. stay at the new camper cabin (sleeps five people), which includes bunk beds, a table and benches. take in the historic ruins of banning sandstone quarry. the park is known for camping, picnicking, cross-country skiing, beautiful trails for hiking and the study of natural history.

Bear Head Lake State Park


Secluded in the northwoods, this park contains pristine lakes; it is home to black bears, nesting eagles, wolves and moose. stands of white and red pine trees tower over the birch, aspen and fir trees. located just south of the boundary waters canoe area, the park shares a similar wilderness quality. explore miles of shoreline by canoe. swim at the beach, picnic in the shelter building, or fish for walleye, bass, crappies or trout. trails in the park link-up with the taconite state trail and offer snowmobilers, skiers and hikers plenty to enjoy. rent a three-bedroom guest house or camper cabin any season of the year.

Beaver Creek Valley State Park


Nestled in the blufflands of southeastern minnesota, beaver creek valley state park is known for its clear streams fed by the "big spring." its streams are home to brown and native brook trout. in spring, wildflowers that blanket the woodland hills and valleys attract migratory songbirds like the rare acadian flycatcher, cerulean warbler, and louisiana waterthrush. these birds nest in the park. a hiking trail meanders along the stream and up into a maple-basswood and oak forest. campers are lulled to sleep by the murmuring stream.

Big Bog State Recreation Area


Big bog state recreation area has been called minnesota's last true wilderness. this two-part recreation area includes a northern unit and a southern unit. the 500-square-mile peat bog, the largest in the lower 48 states, is located in the northern unit. a mile-long boardwalk, completed in 2005, enables visitors to get a first-hand look at the unique plant and animal life of this rare resource. the bog, which has long been a source of medicinal plants for the ojibwe indians, represented a barrier to european settlers who tried in vain to drain it. today, many of the native plants, including yellow-eyed grass, bog rush and two kinds of sundews, are on minnesota's endangered or threatened species list. from orchids to carnivorous plants to rare birds, visitors will see a mixture of fascinating and rare resources.

Big Stone Lake State Park


Big stone lake is 26 miles long and is located on the south dakota-minnesota border. the lake is the source of the minnesota river and attracts anglers who catch walleye, northerns and bluegills. the northern section of the park, called the bonanza area, provides a picnic area, boat launch and a primitive group camp for guests. the area also includes the bonanza education center which provides a place to discover the past and ways to preserve it. the southern section of the park, called the meadowbrook area, contains a campground, swimming beach and hiking trails.

Blue Mounds State Park


Blue mounds state park is full of natural surprises. start with the sioux quartzite cliff, rising 100 feet from the plains. a bison herd grazes on the prairie. prickly pear cactus blooms in june and july. a sea of prairie grasses and flowers sway in the wind. the park is also a favorite for birdwatchers who want to see nesting blue grosbeaks and other birds. enjoy camping and swimming.

Buffalo River State Park


Prairie lovers, this park is for you. trails wind through one of minnesota's finest and largest remnant prairies. listen for bobolinks, prairie chickens, marbled godwits and upland sandpipers. a picnic area, swimming area and campground are located in the hardwood forest along the buffalo river. the park is only 14 miles from the large metropolitan area of fargo, north dakota - moorhead, minnesota.

Camden State Park


Camden state park offers much for visitors to enjoy. fish for brown trout in the redwood river or bass and bluegill in brawner lake. hike the trails or cool off in the spring-fed pool. walk along the wooded river valley, climb the dakota valley trail to the lookout for great fall colors, or go canoeing on brawner lake.

Carley State Park


Beauty and quiet, that is the essence of carley state park. in the spring, delicate bluebells (mertensia virginica), and other wildflowers carpet the valley with a profusion of color. hike along the trail that follows the whitewater river and take in the grand old white pines. listen for the sweet song of orioles, song sparrows, house wrens, and indigo buntings. enjoy the picnic area, play on the swings or practice softball. try your hand at horseshoes or sit back and see a red-tailed hawk ride thermals in the sky. the north branch of the whitewater river is a designated trout stream and provides habitat for brown trout. rustic campsites are located near the picnic area.

Cascade River State Park


Come to cascade for the rushing river and grand waterfalls that lay within a gorge, lush with moss and ferns that grow on black volcanic rocks. hike the trail through birch, spruce and white cedar; stop to see the views of lake superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world. trails connect with the superior hiking trail and the north shore state trail and offer great recreational opportunities to hikers and cross-country skiers. drive-in and backpack campsites are available.

Charles A. Lindbergh State Park


Located on the mississippi river, charles a. lindbergh state park offers visitors a wooded campground, hiking and skiing trails, and a quaint picnic area. the picnic area includes a historic work projects administration (wpa) picnic shelter and a stone water tower. fish the waters of the mississippi river, canoe pike creek, or walk the trails amid grand red and white pine, aspen, oak and prairie. look for bald eagles year round. during your summer visit, stop in at the historic home of charles a. lindbergh, sr., father of the famous aviator, charles a. lindbergh, jr. the home and adjacent museum are operated by the minnesota historical society (mhs) and are adjacent to the park.

Crow Wing State Park


This is a nature lover's delight. explore prairie, pine, and hardwood forests. view the mississippi river from historic and picturesque "chippewa lookout." novice canoeists can paddle the calm waters of the crow wing and mississippi rivers. crow wing is a park rich in cultural history. in this area, a frontier town emerged to serve the needs of travelers and traders. the town died when the railroad chose to cross the river at brainerd. walk through the site of the old crow wing village for a sense of history. the park still has a section of the famous woods trail, which served ox cart traffic that carried supplies between st. paul and the red river settlements.

Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area


Abandoned by mining companies more than 30 years ago, this area of former mining pits and rock deposit stockpiles now boasts regenerated vegetation and clear lakes that draw a wide range of recreation enthusiasts. twenty-five miles of natural shoreline can be explored by boat or canoe and anglers can cast a line for trout, northern, bass, crappie, or sunfish.

Father Hennepin State Park


Father hennepin state park is located on the southeast shore of mille lacs lake. visitors enjoy a large sandy beach for swimming, two boat accesses, fishing piers and picnic sites with a panoramic view of the lake. the park's 320 acres include two campgrounds and hiking trails that wind through a hardwood forest and along the rocky shoreline of mille lacs. the park's original vegetation was northern hardwoods mixed with marsh areas and pines along the lake. the hardwoods provide shade during the summer and spectacular color in the fall.

Flandrau State Park


The gentle flowing big cottonwood river meanders through this southern park. the sand-bottom swimming pond, picnic area, campgrounds and group center attract many visitors every summer to this very popular state park. the terrain is diverse, offering views of wooded river bottoms, oxbow marshes and open grasslands. hikers and cross-country skiers enjoy the flat trails on the bottom of the valley or more challenging routes on the oak-shaded bluffs. visit historic stone buildings crafted by works progress administration(wpa)crews. vegetative features include goat prairies, small white lady's slippers, and the floodplain forest.

Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park


Visit forestville/mystery cave state park to see natural wonders above and below ground. in the summer, beat the heat with a visit below ground. explore the world of mystery cave with its stalactites, stalagmites, and underground pools. park naturalists provide tours of the cave throughout the summer and on weekends in the spring and fall. the temperature stays at a constant 48 degrees fahrenheit.

Fort Ridgely State Park


Tour historic fort ridgely and wander through the ruins of this once thriving outpost. learn about the u. s.-dakota conflict of 1862, a major event in minnesota's early history. stop by the cemetery to learn more about the history. for recreation, this park offers plenty: play a nine hole course; hike or ride the trails on horseback; play volleyball or softball; fish; and camp (drive-in and walk-in sites are available). come winter, ski, snowmobile or slide down the big hill.

Fort Snelling State Park


Located in the heart of the twin cities, this park offers extensive hiking, bike and ski trails that link to minnehaha park and the minnesota valley national wildlife refuge. canoe on gun club lake, play golf, swim in snelling lake, or hike on pike island where the mississippi and minnesota rivers converge. interpretive exhibits and films on display in the thomas c. savage visitor center give visitors a good background on the history and resources of the park and area. trails also allow visitors to hike up to the historic fort snelling for a view of military life in the 1820s. this is a day-use only park; no camping is available.

Franz Jevne State Park


Secluded and peaceful, this park offers picturesque views of ontario and the rainy river.

Frontenac State Park


Secluded and peaceful, this park offers picturesque views of ontario and the rainy river.

Garden Island State Recreation Area


Remote and virtually undeveloped, garden island state recreation area is the northernmost unit of the minnesota state park system. part of its attraction is the challenge of getting there—as you leave the south shore of lake of the woods, the island is 19 miles away and not yet visible on the horizon. but once you arrive, the island itself will charm you. its quiet beaches beckon you to stroll along the retreating waves.

George H. Crosby Manitou State Park


Come to this north-country wilderness park where waterfalls cascade through a volcanic canyon surrounded by majestic forest. the trails in the park are carved through a forest of fir, cedar, spruce, and northern hardwoods. although the trails are steep and challenging for hikers and backpackers, they offer spectacular views.

Glacial Lakes State Park


Stand on top of the scenic glacial hills and experience the vast, open prairie which once dominated minnesota. wildflowers and prairie grasses blanket the landscape from spring through fall.

Glendalough State Park


Nestled in the transition zone between prairie and hardwood forest, glendalough offers a true respite from civilization. crystal clear annie battle lake is a 335-acre, non-motorized "heritage fishery" that provides a tranquil fishing experience second to none. special regulations sustain a steady supply of large sunfish, crappie, and the occasional walleye for the frying pan, and large bass for the camera. near the pristine shores of this lake are a cart-in campground and canoe-in campsites, all free from the traffic and noise of traditional drive-in camping.
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