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Itasca State Park, Lake Itasca

4.8
#5 of 84 in Nature in Minnesota
Itasca State Park is a state park of Minnesota, United States, and contains the headwaters of the Mississippi River. The park spans 32690acre of northern Minnesota, and is located about 21mi north of Park Rapids, Minnesota and 25mi from Bagley, Minnesota. The park is part of Minnesota's Pine Moraines and Outwash Plains Ecological Subsection and is contained within Clearwater, Hubbard, and Becker counties.Itasca State Park was established by the Minnesota Legislature on April 20, 1891, making it the first of Minnesota's state parks and second oldest in the United States, behind Niagara Falls State Park. Henry Schoolcraft determined Lake Itasca as the river's source in 1832. It was named as a National Natural Landmark in 1965, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. About 500,000 people visit Itasca State Park annually.HistoryApproximately 7–8,000 years ago, Native American hunters pursued wild animals for food in the Itasca State Park region. These early people ambushed bison, deer, and moose at watering sites and killed them with stone–tipped spears. The bison kill site along Wilderness Drive in the park gives visitors historical insight about this period.
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Itasca State Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
377 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • We spent 4 nights in the park’s only open winter lodging, the Itasca Suites. Everything was perfect!! First of all, perhaps due to the chilly weather (ranged from +6F to -21F during our stay), we felt...  more »
  • My husband and I have been here twice in the 4 months we’ve lived in the area. Once in October with the beautiful colors and again in January for the DNR First Day Hike. We love it! The First Day Hime...  more »
  • I happened to hit Itasca State Park on a sunny day while the colors were still good. The views are gorgeous - especially if you don't mind heights and can climb a lot of stairs. There is a LOT more to...  more »
Google
  • What a great area to be out in nature! Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, it was a real treat to be able to experience this park. See the mix of tree and plant species was very exciting, it's amazing the difference between the Midwest and the West Coast. Unfortunately the park was really packed when we were there, but that happens sometimes. The trails were well kept, and there were some amazing views! I'll definitely be going through the park again, the next time I'm in the area. Hopefully be able to find a place to camp ad well! Would recommend this to anyone that has a couple hours to walk around!
  • What a great park! Kept up very well and perfect place to spend a day hiking and exploring. The headwaters is magical and one must walk across the Mississippi river. The visitor center is well done along with the other buildings and gift shops arpund the park. Well worth the visit!
  • We love this park! There are many options for lodging, recreation, and learning. The staff and rangers are so friendly and helpful. We like the secluded camping sites. Plus they have ice cream and the Mississippi River headwaters.
  • See the headwaters of the Mississippi River. That is the big draw of this state park, but it isn't the only thing going for it. This is a great park to go and enjoy nature, see the forest and hike on some trails. The swim area is great, boat yours are a lot of fun. You can rent a bike if you didn't bring one. Both the visitors center are worth stopping in. They have a fun and informative area about local animals and the history of the area. The headwaters center has a nice cafe for lunch as well.
  • Super nice state park! The visitors centers a clean and the employees are very helpful! Headwaters are a popular spot. Don't forget to stop at the fire tower and see the views.

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Plans to Itasca State Park by other users

23 days in Minnesota BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Park Rapids BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, shopping, wildlife, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 21 days in Minnesota BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, teens, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: May, teens, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in Bemidji BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 9 days in Brainerd BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, historic sites, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: May, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Lake Itasca BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, culture, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: May, culture, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 16 days in Park Rapids BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 11 days in United States & Thunder Bay BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, teens, kids, popular PREFERENCES: August, teens, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Detroit Lakes BY A USER FROM INDIA March, popular PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Bemidji BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, popular PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 20 days in Bemidji BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 21 days in Bemidji BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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