ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

MINNESOTAS BACKYARD

The border between Minnesota and Wisconsin here was formed by a combination of molten lava and melting glaciers over the past billion years. The St. Croix River Valley's hugely popular public access site features hikes along the bluffs and down to the river, and ways to see these stunning rock cliffs from water level.
Founded more than a century ago and expended during the Great Depression, this gem in western Minnesota features hiking, biking, boating, beaching and abundant wildlife, along with a quartet of camping options.
Our summer tour of Minnesota's public spaces continues in a southeastern Minnesota oasis that can take visitors up onto the bluffs, into the trout streams deep underneath the ground and back in time, as Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park offers a little bit of something to appeal to a wide range of interests.
The first indication that you have left Iowa and entered the Land of 10,000 Lakes is a "Welcome to Minnesota" sign on I-35. The second, unmistakable indication is crossing Albert Lea lake, which is the centerpiece of our first Minnesota's Backyard destination of 2022.

ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Headlines
The 20th destination on our 20-site tour of Minnesota's state parks brings us to the heart of the Twin Cities, where you will find an oasis of wilderness in the urban heart of the state. Fort Snelling State Park is neither as quiet or secluded as other parks in Minnesota, but for Twin Citians it offers history and hiking where the state's major rivers meet.
Destination No. 19 on our 20-site tour of Minnesota's state parks brings us to one of the great waterfalls, and one of the state's greatest mysteries, at Judge C.R. Magney State Park. One of the quieter and more remote places on the North Shore, a hike to see the Devil's Kettle has fascinated visitors for generations, even after the mystery was solved.
The 18th stop on our tour of 20 Minnesota State Parks is to a place where you can explore the land and the water, but the most intriguing visitors arrive by air. Kilen Woods State Park offers hiking in the woods and the prairie, canoeing and kayaking on the Des Moines River, and some of the best birding in Minnesota.
The 17th stop on our tour of 20 Minnesota State Parks is to the newest member of the state park system. Officially less than a decade old, Lake Vermilion State Park was born out of land acquired and preserved during the region's mining boom in the 1880s.
The 16th stop on our tour of 20 Minnesota State Parks is to a quiet, remote part of north-central Minnesota that was given a perfectly descriptive name 100 years ago. Scenic State Park has history, both natural and man-made, and great fishing on two glacial lakes.
The 16th stop on our tour of 20 Minnesota State Parks is to a quiet, remote part of north-central Minnesota that was given a perfectly descriptive name 100 years ago. Scenic State Park has history, both natural and man-made, and great fishing on two glacial lakes.

ADVERTISEMENT

The 15th stop on our tour of 20 Minnesota State Park brings us to a quiet stretch of the Rainy River, which forms our northern border with Canada. Minnesota's smallest state park offers much more than one might expect, including a riverside campground and myriad perfect picnic spots.
The 14th stop on our tour of 20 Minnesota State Parks brings us to the heart of lake country -- no, not the prototypical northern Minnesota kind with pines and deep lakes, but the southern Minnesota version with tall hardwoods, shallow lakes, lots of nearby cornfields and some of the best biking in the state.
The 13th stop on our tour of 20 Minnesota State Parks is a place where Minnesota nature meets Minnesota history, just up the hill from the Minnesota River. Fort Ridgely State Park was a working military base before Minnesota was a state, and site of some of the most violent battles of the 1862 Dakota Uprising.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT