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Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park, Preston

4.6
#27 of 85 in Nature in Minnesota
Cave Nature / Park
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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90 reviews
Google
4.3
  • Forestville state park and Mystery cave is great for the whole family! From tours of historic Forestville to a tour of the caves it is sure to please all. Camping and some of the best trout fishing in...  more »
  • The Mystery Cave was fascinating for the whole family to explore together. A must see! It was a great experience for our kids! A fun little gift shop at the office area for souvenirs also.  more »
  • Once we got to the cave site we had a great experience. Beware- follow the signs not your GPS! This attraction is located 15 minutes outside of Preston, so plan for that. We missed our tour time but h...  more »
Google
  • Nice park with great trails. We visited the cave on a tour, did a fossil hunt, and ran the trails. Nice bathrooms and shower rooms. A bit more spread out than we're used to, so had to hop in the car to get places.
  • Forestville is a beautiful, wooded state park. We stayed at the horse park for a race over the weekend. The sites are basically standard for this type of location. High ties are provided for the horses, along with a metal fire ring that can be used for grilling at each camp site. Out house style restrooms are located throughout the park. A nice amenity that isn't always found at state park campgrounds is showers. Having showers took this review from a two to a three star rating despite the following paragraph. I experienced a couple of disappointing situations over the weekend. The restrooms were out of toilet paper mid morning on Saturday. I don't know for how long, but I'm sure there were many people inconvenienced by this. Knowing that the entire park is booked I would expect more frequent care of the restrooms or at least leave extra rolls behind. The dispenser held three normal size rolls & when those were gone that was it. Secondly, we normally set up a fence for the horses so they have some freedom to move around versus what they get with the high ties. We had just finished putting the fence out & the park ranger came by to tell us it was too large. It needs to be within 10 feet of the high ties, so I measured & made it smaller, they still had access to a little grass, but not much. That evening we were told it was still too large. Rather than argue that I had measured & it was within the 10' requirement we just took it down. I take this to mean that they really don't want fencing used at all, which although unusual for horse camps at state parks, if that's the rule then I'll follow it, but just state it upfront rather playing games about how small it needs to be. I wish they would have been as attentive to the restroom supplies as they were to the dimensions of campers fencing.
  • Pictures from inside the Mystery Caves doesn't do it justice! The Turquoise Lake inside the cave is spectacular! It's mini lake of sorts but beautiful. They're are bats and other critters and for you ghost hunters, this place is active!
  • Perfect way to beat the heat and learn a bit about the local geologic formations. 48 degrees! Knowledgeable tour guide (Joeseph) kept it light but could answer some deep (in a cave) questions when asked. Bring the fam? Sure, why not!
  • It was a nice state park had a lot of nice historical things and places to see. The trails were more for horses then people, so the hike was a bit hard because of all the flies and bugs.