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Frontenac State Park, Frontenac

(4.4/5 based on 30+ reviews on the web)
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We went to this park to do some walking/hiking. First thing I noticed was the beautiful views of the river valley. Stunning! we started on an easy hike then decided to do the harder one. It was long a...  more »
  • We hiked about 2 miles, but it was very challenging. The signs warn you that it is a difficult hike and they are not kidding. We enjoyed it immensely for getting the heart rate up. The "rock with a ho...  more »
  • I'm not well versed in State park camping, but my friends are! We brought my friends' 5th wheel (a very large camper in my limited experience). We got a drive through site, which pleased my hosts very...  more »
Google
  • Beautiful Park! Great hiking, camping, and even kayaking opportunities. The park staff was very friendly and helpful. The restrooms and showers were very nice.
  • Great hiking trails! Rocky, narrow, with lots of steps down to the river and back up again. That's my kind of trail! Beautiful views. Peaceful.
  • When we first arrived, I was shocked and disappointed by how small the actual campsite is. We were camping with friends and were right next to each other with no space to spread out. We were pretty close to some other campers, too. However, the woods behind us, the trails, the lake.. everything was magical, beautiful, clean, and quiet. Even though the entire campground was booked, it didn't feel cramped. The lower trails by the river are just beautiful. We will definitely go back.
  • Enjoyable trails and views. Great to hike down to the river. Do it in the fall without misquotes.
  • Beautiful scenic views and overlooks. Bluff Side trail is a MUST. But be sure to wear good shoes and be careful if it has just rained, as the stone steps can be slippery.