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Itasca State Park, Lake Itasca

4.8
#5 of 85 in Nature in Minnesota
State Park Nature / Park
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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332 reviews
Google
4.8
  • We spent a week here in a MH. As expected, weekends are crowded, lots of kids! During the week, you have the Park to yourself. Beautiful lake for canoeing, bike trails and hiking paths. Headwaters of ...  more »
  • Great park and interesting facts on display at the headwaters center.Lots to do so get there early. You can walk across the Mississippi since it is knee high and about five feet wide.  more »
  • Itasca has so much to see and do beyond just the headwaters. Lots of great history and details to learn. Loved the drive through the park. Gift shops are nice. Fudge is yummy. Staff is always friendly...  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.