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Lake Maria State Park, Monticello
(3.7/5 based on 35+ reviews on the web)
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Great quiet spot for a mini adventure. We went to a backpack camp spot right by the lake. There were a few hills and it had rained quite a bit the night before we arrived, but we made the 3/4 mile hik...  more »
  • I just love Lake Rebecca State Park. The hiking trails are nice but I use the horse trails the most. Easy riding with some gentle slopes and not much rock. 
  • The Big Woods hike is a very nice, 5.5 mile loop through the park. I was expecting the area to be relatively flat, but was surprised with all the hills throughout the trail. The trail takes you throug...  more »
Google
  • Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. Great hiking trails, and awesome camper cabins. All cabins sit by themselves and require a hike in order to get to them. They are very private and look over their own pond or lake.
  • Small but nice area. The wooded canopy gave the illusion that we were further away from civilization than we really were. There's highways boarding two sides of the campground that can be heard during quiet moments. The worst part was the mosquitoes. Even as a Minnesotan, this was the worst experience I've ever had with mosquitoes. The many shallow pools in the area are definitely to blame for that. (Don't reserve B-16, the latrine is
  • Beautiful fall colors. It's so magical when you are surrounded by those tall trees and the wind blows the golden yellow leaves on you.
  • Smallish park that is a fairly quick drive from the Twin Cities. The hiking isn't too strenuous due to the lack of major elevation change.
  • Nice day trip, enough hiking, animals & beautiful scenery for an enjoyable day without feeling you are missing out on more