Lake Maria State Park, Monticello

3.7
#71 of 85 in Nature in Minnesota
Lake Maria State Park is a state park of Minnesota, United States, created to provide a wilderness area within an easy drive of Minneapolis–Saint Paul. The park's amenities are designed primarily for hikers, backpackers, and horseback riders and consequently use remains light compared to other state parks around the metro area. It preserves a remnant of Big Woods atop a hilly, glacially-formed landscape dotted with lakes and wetlands. The park was established in 1963 west of Monticello, Minnesota.Natural historyThe St. Croix Moraine runs through the park. This rolling and uneven landform is a result of the Wisconsin glaciation and two previous glaciations. Irregular hills and ridges (kames) surround kettles, depressions left by melting blocks of ice during the glaciers' retreat.The park's vegetation consists of Big Woods (maple, basswood, elm) mixed with old-growth oaks and dotted with numerous wetlands, ponds, and small lakes. The park is located near the northern limit of the Big Woods.The forest edge and wetland habitats support deer, foxes, fishers, minks, beavers, and muskrats. 205 bird species have been identified in the park. The park is noted for its population of Blanding's turtles, considered an endangered or threatened species by many U.S. states and Canada.
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Lake Maria State Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 3.5
41 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • The camping sites were quite a distance from the parking and it didn't look like we could fish there.. maybe for horse riding it would be good but we were surprised at the park. A nice picnic area.  more »
  • Lake Maria State Park is located about 8 miles west of downtown Monticello, Minnesota and is easy to find as there are signs and arrows from I-94 (the first sign is about ½ mile before you get to the ...  more »
  • Just a little word of caution if you are planning to visit in the next couple weeks, the trails are all horribly muddy from the winter thaw. There are lots of dead leaves on all the trails and under t...  more »
Google
  • Perfect if you ride a horse. No pets allowed but horses fully welcomed. They even have horse tie ups along the trails which I thought was neat. Didn't see a horse though. Although a trailer with 4 horses was pulling in as we drove out. Veey few grills available. Only saw two near the front for public use. Enjoyed the natural (unpaved) hiking trails.
  • This MN State Park deserves more recognition. It is beautiful with lots of hills and large trees. Great hiking here. About 45 minutes NW of the Twin Cities, it's a nice escape from traffic and noise.
  • Absolutely one of our favorite state parks. Great hike in sites whether you are a cabin or tent/hammock camper. We appreciate that it is open year round so we cabin camp in the winter and hammock in the summer. Great trails, lots of wildlife. We love it!
  • Great trails. Well cared for. Could use new/better signage.
  • Beautiful park, profoundly peaceful. Hiking, kayaking, fishing, canoeing, camping, and much more! We even saw Trumpeter Swans on this visit!

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