Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park, Preston

4.7
#25 of 84 in Nature in Minnesota
Forestville Mystery Cave State Park is a state park in Minnesota. It contains the village of Forestville, which has been restored to a 19th-century appearance. The Minnesota Historical Society operates it as a historic site. Below ground the park contains Mystery Cave, the state's longest cave, which is open to the public. The park is between Spring Valley and Preston, Minnesota.Mystery CaveThe park is in the Driftless Area, noted for its karst topography, which includes sinkholes and caves. The park is about 5mi from Mystery Cave and occupies approximately 3170acre, with camping, interpretive programs, and hiking, horseback, cross-country skiing trails, cold water streams and excellent trout fishing. The cave includes stalactites, stalagmites, and underground pools, and is a constant 48°F. It has over 13mi of passages in two rock layers and is being resurveyed and remapped by volunteers.Geologic HistoryAbout 450 million years ago sedimentary rocks were deposited as the land was intermittently covered by shallow seas that transgressed and regressed. Over the eons the alternating deposits of mud and oceanic debris were compressed to form limestone, shale and sandstone layers. Today these layers are 1300ft above sea level. Within the last 500,000 to 1,000,000 years, flood waters dissolved along fractures in the limestone bedrock to create most of the cave. Acidic rainwater also sculpted the land above and around the cave, creating thousands of sinkholes and other karst features in the surrounding county.
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Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
107 reviews
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TripAdvisor
  • My son and I went to Forestville's Mystery Cave and took a scenic tour. We made the whole trip a 1 day experience, but there were families on our tour who were camping nearby. There are a couple of ot...  more »
  • Took the guided scenic tour (approx.1 hr 45 min). How amazing Mother Nature can be ... a little time, water and rocks make a pretty amazing sight. The walk was pretty easy but the cave is very humid. ...  more »
  • We saw a bat, racoon tracks, a fossil embedded in the wall. A good bit of the very flat walkway is metal see-thru grating, which was more slick than the finished concrete portions. Handicap accessible...  more »
Google
  • I am so fortunate to live only 15 minutes away from this fantastic park. I love to wade in the Root River. It is so peaceful there. Sometimes you see people riding horses. Saw a couple of trout fishermen the other day. What’s amazing is that after 10 years of going there, I am always discovering new things. It’s a wonderful place.
  • The caves were amazing. My family did the basic tour. Very informative. The cave was 49°. They are planning on doing the basic tour year round I believe too starting January 2018. We are planning on going back for a more advanced tour during the summer season(Memorial day to Labor day).
  • There's so many things to do at Forestville. You can go camping, horseback riding, trout fishing, hiking, Bend in the winter limited deer hunting. The DNR has very knowledgeable and friendly people that will assist you and all your needs. It's a great place for families couples or even solitary campers.
  • Andy was our tour guide on Saturday. He is very knowledgeable and the tour was really interesting. I would definitely recommend this tour. The cave is also ADA accessible so everyone can enjoy these incredible underground structures.
  • One of our favorite Minnesota state parks. The camp sites are good size and pretty easy to back my pop-up into. Restrooms/showers are clean and functional. Good trails and river is nearby. Forestville is run by the Minnesota Historical Society and is one of the main reasons we come to this park. You enter Forestville and it is 1899. The "towns people" are all knowledgeable and friendly. It is always fun and interesting to tour the store and kitchen. They are usually baking something in the wood stove. I asked the lady who was baking apple pies how she knew when they were done. Her answer? "Well....when they're done!" Mystery cave is great to tour. It has concrete paths so even little kids can go and see the cave. Don't touch the walls! Be warned....at one point they turn off the lights. Pitch black! They turn them on again, though! :)

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