Frontenac State Park, Frontenac

#53 of 85 in Nature in Minnesota
Frontenac State Park is a state park of Minnesota, United States, on the Mississippi River 10mi southeast of Red Wing. The park is notable both for its history and for its birdwatching opportunities. The centerpiece of the park is a 430ft, 3mi steep limestone bluff overlooking Lake Pepin, a natural widening of the Mississippi. The bluff is variously called Garrard's Bluff or Point No-Point, the latter name coming from riverboat captains because of the optical illusion that it protruded into the Mississippi River. There is a natural limestone arch on the blufftop called In-Yan-Teopa, a Dakota name meaning "Rock With Opening". Park lands entirely surround the town of Frontenac, once a high-class resort at the end of the 19th century.GeologyThe limestone was laid down 500 million years ago as organic sediments settled to the bottom of a shallow sea that covered much of the Midwest. Much later Glacial River Warren carried torrents of runoff from the melting glaciers of the last ice age. Flowing out of Lake Agassiz, Glacial River Warren carved the Minnesota River valley and the Mississippi River Valley, leaving steep bluffs along the latter's banks. At times Glacial River Warren overflowed its bed and Garrard's Bluff would have been an island. The area is near the northern extreme of the Driftless Area of Minnesota, a region that remained unglaciated during the phases of the last ice age.
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Frontenac State Park Reviews
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39 reviews
  • Our first visit, but not our last. The rangers on Labor Day were incredibly helpful and friendly. They recommended the Bluff Loop Trail which had easy to quite difficult sections in this 3 mile loop. ...  more »
  • We stayed here for our anniversary and arrived on a Monday. We had the trails to ourselves. The park is was nice and quiet, the tree canopy near Lake Pepin was very impressive. In our camp site we did...  more »
  • The camping area in Frontenac State Park is well maintained. The sites are wooded and some have views of the distant bluffs of the Mississippi River. Electric is available at some of the campsites but...  more »
  • Great place to camp! Campsites are somewhat secluded and offers privacy from neighbors. Mississippi river is right next to the campgrounds s make sure you catch a sunset or sunrise. Bathrooms and showers are nice, and showers have hot water. If you need wood for building a fire after the park rangers leave they allow you to leave cash or credit card number at the park office and you can just take the bundles of wood (honor system). Overall, wonderful campground with good hiking trails!
  • Nice camp sites on the bluff above Lake Peppin/The Mississippi. Camp sites are roomy but close together. Most of the sites are well sheltered from each other though. Very dog friendly place and most camp sites had at least one dog while were there.
  • A scenic park that offers many types of hiking and camping options. Online registration is easy to do. Overlook views are worth a visit. The park is situated within 10 miles of 3 towns.
  • This is the place to go to see bald eagles. There are a great deal of oak trees and you might even see some white tail deer if you are lucky. I did the Bluffside Trail (rated as difficult on All Trails) and it was great--just be sure to wear sturdy hiking boots as there are switchbacks on the way down to the river.
  • Challenging trails in this park provide great views of the river and lake Pepin. Wear good shoes of you plan to take the bluff trail as it's Rocky and rooted in sections.

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