ADVENTURES IN SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA STATE PARKS
So, you have decided to take your Minnesota vacation and you are visiting the SouthEast region of Minnesota. With so many sights to see and places to visit it may be difficult to narrow down an itinerary. You can visit bustling towns or go exploring in the countryside. Another option is to visit one of the many State Parks located within this region of the state. Continue reading to hear about a couple of the Minnesota State Parks and the adventures they offer!
Beaver Creek Valley State Park: One of the state parks is Beaver Creek Valley State Park. This beautiful campsite and hiking site is located in the town of Caledonia, MN. Visit this park for the day to hike and explore or spend the night in one of the local resorts or campgrounds. One activity to do on a trip to the park is to walk along the Beaver Creek Trail while listening to the guided audio tour of the trail. While on the trail spring visitors can scout for blooming spring flowers. Keep your eye out for Hepatica and Bloodroot that blooms early in spring and brings life back to the area. But remember to keep on the trail to protect these beautiful plants along with other wildlife. Along with Beaver Creek Trail the state park monitors and maintains other recreational areas and trails near the park.
Great River Bluffs State Park: Next, head over to check out the bluffs at Great River Bluffs State Park. Here you can find beautiful views of the Mississippi River as it winds through the rocky terrain. This Minnesota State Park offers many options to see and explore the area with both hiking and walking trails to multiple overlooks with views of the bluffs. Head out on the King’s Bluff trail on the new self-guided interpretive tour. This trail has two length options: either do the ½ mile trail or go for a little longer adventure on the two-mile trail. Great River Bluffs State Park also has an easy level hiking trail if you are looking to get further into the wilderness. This hiking trail is 6 miles long and takes you to 5 overlooks of the Mississippi River.
Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park: This Minnesota State Park is another big attraction of this region. Here there is a little something for everyone. Go on a cave tour, go trout fishing, go on the horse trails or go hiking. The main attraction at this State Park is Minnesota’s longest cave, Mystery Cave. With tours that last from 1 hour to 4-6 hours there are options for everyone. Reservations for cave tours are recommended but walk-ins are welcome if there is space available. Besides the cave this State Park also has reconstructed a 1800’s village, Forestville. Walk around and see what life was like during the pioneer era.
Venture into the winding hiking, walking and horse riding trailers this Minnesota State Park has to offer. Trailer up your horses and bring them along with you. Enjoy the 17 miles of crushed rock horse paths through the wilderness. Then stay at one of the 55 horse friendly campsites. Or lace up your shoes and enjoy the 20 miles of hiking trailers that are for any level of experience.
Submitted by Courtney Senger
Photo Credits: State of Minnesota DNR
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