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Lake Maria State Park, Monticello

Categories: State Parks, Nature & Parks
Inspirock Rating:
3.5/5 based on 30+ 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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  • This state park has a natural and secluded setting that isn't over populated with users. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trails. Horseback riding is allowed in this park. It has lakeside set...  read more »
  • This is a pretty park to visit in the fall. The trees are beautiful when they change color. However, if you camp in the summer, the camping is primitive & infested with mosquitoes, & some sites are mi...  read more »
  • Been living in Big Lake for 4 years and finally visited Lake Maria and love it. Why did i not go sooner! So peaceful and love walking and nature! 
  • 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
  • Perfect distance for a quick getaway from the Cities, great variety of trails - it's very easy to adapt your hiking plans to make for a shorter or longer hike because of the way the trails criss-cross. We didn't get the chance to stay overnight but definitely would in the future, because the sites are absolutely beautiful with sheltered latrines and no drive-in traffic!!
  • Hour outside the city, Hike in camping means it attracts a certain clientele, no car campers allowed :) here you have to know how to camp! Carry everything in on your back and carry it out. It's a small park but perfect for an over night or weekend trip. The biggest bonus is it's kind of a hidden gem. No one seems to have heard of this place.
  • Camped here twice in the winter. Absolutely beautiful and can't wait till I can go back.
  • The landscape is beautiful but in the summer the bugs will strip you down to bone
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