The park is filled with observation decks, picnic areas, a swimming beach, fishing piers, a trail center, a beautiful historic lodge, a paved bike trail loop, and numerous hiking opportunities.
You can rent boats, canoes, kayaks, skis, and snowshoes and explore the designated “Heritage Fishery” on Annie Battle Lake through all seasons.
Glendalough is an incredible place for a day trip or if you can opt to stay awhile – I recommend the latter, even if just to camp or try out one of the two yurts they offer.
There is another reason I like Glendalough, though – the hidden history.
Originally acquired by Ezra Valentine in 1903 as a summer retreat, aptly named Valentine’s Summer Camp, the land was sold in 1928 to F.E. Murphy, owner of the Minneapolis Tribune Company (yep, later becoming the Star Tribune).
The current name derives from a monastery and city in Ireland and was established as an 80-acre camping retreat. Murphy expanded the original acreage, created a private game farm.
In 1941, the property, as well as the Tribune newspaper, was sold to Cowles Media Company.
The Cowles family continued to operate the game farm while adding more land. They also began vacationing here in a cluster of cabins known as the Glendalough Camp.
The Cowles Media also used Glendalough Camp for entertaining corporate guests and occasional VIPs. Visitors hunted waterfowl and walked the fields for upland game.
Notable guests during the 1950s included former presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Walter Mondale, and Richard Nixon (how cool is that?!).
What is your favorite hidden-history state park?
This post was sponsored by Visit Ottertail County but all opinions are my own.