I visited 14 state parks in southeastern Minnesota over a five-day period. The goal was geocaching the multiple Wildlife Safari caches and collecting creature cards. Even though the goal of collecting the creature cards was successful, it was interesting to visit the state parks that I had not been to before. The great thing about geocaching is hiking in areas of the park that you don’t usually go to. Here is a brief synopsis of six of the 14 parks I visited.
Most state parks have the following amenities: hiking test club, campgrounds, winter ski trails, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, boating, swimming, fishing, and group camps and primitive campgrounds. For more information on each park, visit the Minnesota DNR website for more details.
- Frontenac is beautiful and perched on cliffs overlooking Lake Pepin, where the mighty Mississippi runs through it. There are several panoramic viewpoints and a great place to watch migratory birds.
- John A. Latsch is found on cliffs near the Mississippi River. This park is a roadside rest area and only has hiking trails and 10 campground hikes.
- Whitewater has approximately 2,700 acres of forested land nestled in a deep valley with limestone cliffs. The Whitewater River runs through the valley where you can fish in a river fed by a spring for brown or rainbow trout. Or, check out the sandy beach area and swim after hiking the trails.
- Carley located 10 miles northwest of Whitewater. A very small park of approximately 204 acres that was established to protect some beautiful white pine trees. Also, part of the Whitewater River flows through here.
- Great River Bluffs located about 20 miles southeast of Winona. This park is located on cliffs overlooking the mighty Mississippi. Two great places to overlook the Mississippi River Valley and see the spectacular fall colors.
- Beaver Creek Valley is in the extreme southeast of the state. Beaver Creek runs throughout the park along trails and the campground area. Here you can drop a line for brown trout or hike the nearby trails.
If you like camping and hiking, these aforementioned parks have wonderful hiking trails and other wonderful things to do for family fun. This is a great time to visit Minnesota state parks during the fall to see the colors from now until early October.