Quarry Hill Nature Center


Parks & Geology

Can I just tell you how much I love the Quarry Hill Park and Nature Center in Rochester? The park was originally purchased by the Rochester State Hospital in the 1870s. In 1882, a cave was hand-carved to serve as a cellar for the storage of many vegetables grown on the State Hospital farm. Quarry […]

March 11, 2019

Snowmobiling in Minnesota


Parks & Geology

One of the best parts of having a record snowfall is fresh powder for the snowmobile trails. Snowmobiling is a rite of passage in Minnesota – it certainly was for me. Minnesota has snowmobile trails in nearly every county of the state, including 224 miles in Hennepin County, 369 miles in Dakota County and 208 […]

February 26, 2019

Whitewater State Park


Parks & Geology

Whitewater State Park is in Altura and preserves a stretch of the Whitewater River. The Dakota named the river Whitewater because it turned milky white in the spring as high water eroded light-colored clay deposits along its banks. Surrounded by rocky bluffs, this secluded park seems to pop out from nowhere. It is located in […]

February 16, 2019

An Ode to Minnesota Weather


Parks & Geology

An Ode to Minnesota Weather Minnesota 60 above zero: Floridians turn on the heat. People in Minnesota plant gardens. 50 above zero: Californians shiver uncontrollably. People in Duluth sunbathe. 40 above zero: Italian & English cars won’t start. People in Minnesota drive with the windows down. 32 above zero: Distilled water freezes. The water in […]

February 7, 2019

Nemadji State Forest


Parks & Geology

Winter isn’t all bad. Take the beauty of the Nemadji State Forest for example. Established in 1935 and part of the western Great Lakes forests (WWF Classification), Nemadji is located in northeastern Pine and southeastern Carlton counties along the Minnesota-Wisconsin border. The northern third of the forest drains into the Lake Superior Basin-Nemadji River Watershed, […]

January 28, 2019

Ice Climbing at Robinson Quarry Ice Park


Parks & Geology

This next addition to the #mnbucketlist is NOT for the faint of heart. Ice climbing is when you ascend ice formations like that of the frozen falls at Robinson Quarry Ice Park in Sandstone. Because of the incredible rock formations, Sandstone is a great place for mixed climbing where the ascent involves both ice climbing […]

January 8, 2019

Banning State Park


Parks & Geology

Banning State Park is located directly off Interstate 35. Stretched along 10 miles of the Kettle River near Sandstone in Pine County, the park is known for camping, picnicking, and cross-country skiing. It is a favorite for those seeking beautiful trails, however, there is also quite a lot of history to soak in such as […]

November 11, 2018

St. Croix State Park


Parks & Geology

Saint Croix State Park is located on the eastern edge of the Mille Lacs Uplands and borders Chengwatana State Forest to the southwest and Saint Croix State Forest to the northeast. The largest of Minnesota’s state parks, Saint Croix State Park follows the shore of the St. Croix River and contains the last 7 miles […]

November 5, 2018

Springbrook Nature Center


Parks & Geology

(One more hiking spot and I’ll be back to the #MNGPHO2018!) Springbrook Nature Center is a metro oasis hidden away in a residential area in Fridley. The center has all sorts of educational programs, school programs, nature camps, and even an interpretive building. The 127-acre park and nature reserve include native prairies, oak and aspen […]

October 24, 2018

Sherburne Wildlife Refuge


Parks & Geology

(Taking a break from the #MNGPHO2018 to bring you an exceptional hiking spot!) The Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge in Zimmerman was established in 1965 as a refuge for over 230 species of birds, 58 species of mammals, and 25 species of reptiles and amphibians. The 30,700-acre forested, marshy Refuge has massive bodies of water making […]

October 20, 2018

Blue Mound State Park


Historical & Museum, Parks & Geology

Blue Mounds State Park is in Rock County near the town of Luverne. Named for the linear escarpment of Precambrian Sioux Quartzite bedrock you can see protruding from the prairie polka-dotting the landscape. The old quartzite quarries in the park were owned and operated by the Luverne Granite Company. The stone was used to construct […]

October 18, 2018

The #MNGPHO2018


Events, Parks & Geology

Good morning, Minnesota. Is that a new coat you’re wearing? It looks amazing! Even though I woke up in the southwestern-most corner of Minnesota like this, I’ll be telling you all about blaze orange and warm weather of the #mngpho2018 over the next two weeks. Hosted by the incredible Luverne community, you can expect to […]

October 14, 2018

Grand Portage State Park


Parks & Geology

Grand Portage State Park is at the northeastern tip of Minnesota, on the Canadian border. Not actually owned by the state of Minnesota, this State Park is located in the Grand Portage Indian Reservation and is leased to the state for $1 a year. Interestingly, it is the only U.S. state park jointly managed by […]

October 7, 2018

Suomi Hills Recreation Area


Parks & Geology

Suomi Hills Recreation Area rests along the Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic Byway in Itasca County. Miles of wilderness invite you to immerse yourself in hiking, off-road biking, canoeing, and exploring. Access into Suomi Hills semi-primitive non-motorized area is by foot and non-motorized travel only but totally worth it for the beautiful views and […]

October 5, 2018

Big Bog State Recreation Area – Northwest


Parks & Geology

Continued. The northern portion of Big Bog State Recreational Area is composed mostly of wetlands. The bog’s geological patterns formed over the past 5,000 years, and you can see it still present in the glacial ridges, depressions, and ovoid islands. Considered one of the best-kept secrets in northern Minnesota, the 500-square-mile peat bog is the […]

October 1, 2018

Big Bog State Recreation Area – Southeast


Parks & Geology

If you haven’t been to Big Bog State Recreation Area in Waskish, you are really missing out. There is so much to write about this place, that I can’t even fit it in one post! Coincidentally, the recreation area also has two parts; southeast and northwest. Located on Minnesota State Highway 72, just north of […]

September 27, 2018

Lake Pepin


Parks & Geology

Lake Pepin, named for Jean Pepin who settled on its shores in the late 1600s, is the largest lake on the Mississippi River. On the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin, Lake Pepin is located approximately 60 miles downstream from Saint Paul. Although Frontenac State Park takes up a large part of the Minnesota side, the […]

August 19, 2018