Trip Planner:   USA  /  Minnesota  /  Lake Itasca  /  Itasca State Park

Itasca State Park, Lake Itasca

4.8
#5 of 85 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.
Quickly create a custom-made itinerary for Lake Itasca using our trip planner.
Source
Create an itinerary including Itasca State Park
map
Itasca State Park Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
375 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • 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 »
  • Loved the one way road drive with a beautiful view at every turn. Walked to the |Mississippi headwaters and to the fire tower for a view over the trees, Many lakes and we took lots of photographs. The...  more »
  • Haven't been here for over 50 years when I was a child. It is still the same. Loved the grounds and the visitor center as well. All of the employees were very kind and courteous. There were alot of fo...  more »
Google
  • this is our favorite place to go. we love camping and hiking here, or even just taking a few laps around the wilderness drive. there's tons of trails to explore for all ability levels and of course there's headwaters of the most important river in the country. it's worth the trip every single time. we still haven't explored the whole park in about 10 visits over the last 4 years.
  • One of my favorite spots in Minnesota! It is a beautiful state park with plenty of room to do whatever activity you like. Hiking, swimming, biking, canoeing, camping, kayaking, and more in the summer. Snowshoeing and snowmobiling in the winter. Seeing the headwaters of the Mississippi is always a great time. I highly recommend staying until sunset as there are some gorgeous reflections over the Lakes.
  • One of the best State Parks. It's great to see the headwaters of the Mississippi but what makes it even better is how well maintained the crossing point over the river is. Everyone enjoys a great picture of their kids or friends crossing the mighty Mississippi which is just a stream at this area. Fantastic wilderness and lots of camping options but make sure to book way in advance.
  • Beautiful well kept place with lots of great attractions. The Lodge looks nice and would like to stay sometime. Headwaters is always a fun place to visit and learn about. So much more there to see however.
  • This park is huge. Wish we would have came earlier because we could have stayed all day long. Lots to explore. Crystal clear water. Amazing view. HORRIBLE biting flies though. Bring and ample supply of bug spray.

Plan your trip to Lake Itasca

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Where to stay in Lake Itasca

Browse hotels, guesthouses, and unique homes and book your stay on the world's leading accommodation sites.
Live like a local, find unique places to stay
Millions of travel reviews on TripAdvisor

Plans in Lake Itasca by other users

1 day in Lake Itasca BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Lake Itasca BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Lake Itasca BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 2 days in Lake Itasca BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, kids, popular PREFERENCES: October, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Lake Itasca BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, hidden gems PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 1 day in Lake Itasca BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, outdoors, romantic, historic sites, wildlife, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: October, outdoors, romantic, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 3 days in Lake Itasca BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, teens, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: October, teens, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Lake Itasca BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 2 days in Lake Itasca BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, outdoors, relaxing, hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, outdoors, relaxing ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 1 day in Lake Itasca BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, popular PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Lake Itasca SEE PLAN October, kids, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: October, kids, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Lake Itasca BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy
View more plans