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Lake Maria State Park, Monticello

(3.7/5 based on 40 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
  • 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 »
  • I love visiting this park with friends or by myself. It has a lot of trails to choose from to vary the length of your hike. It's like a choose your own adventure. I've always felt safe hiking by mysel...  more »
  • Many easy hiking trails and lots of beautiful water all year round. Warning: horses are allowed on some trails. So watch there you step. Because there is a lot of water, it can get buggy in the summer...  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