But in 1891, the Legislature gave the people their first state park by one vote. For skiing and snowshoeing, four state parks along I-35 are as up north as you need to be. especially those peace pipe views. Love the trails and the history, and the views from the fire tower are awesome! . Itasca looks like the perfect place for a staycation and with clearly so much to explore. Fortunately, there’s enough space for ample social distancing to get away from it all. And this list makes for a great gift guide for day hikers. Sidestep the Strip, and you'll see an area little changed since a photographer made the world come running. Resigned from the corporate world after 25+ years to take a blind leap of faith in focusing my energy on two of my passions: writing and traveling. This looks like a great place. The 1905 Douglas Lodge has suites and rooms with shared baths. This place looks beautiful. Getting there: It's 3½ to 4 hours north of the Twin Cities. In 1798, English surveyor David Thompson claimed it was Turtle Lake, near Bemidji. Searchable listings of Itasca State Park restaurants, bars, diners, and more. Events: Check for lantern-lit ski, snowshoe and hiking evenings, concerts and other naturalist programs. Geologic Formations in Lake Itasca; State Parks in Lake Itasca; Hiking Trails in Lake Itasca; Bodies of Water in Lake Itasca; Popular Lake Itasca Categories. There's an exhibit on the 1930s CCC camps, whose crews built roads, planted trees and stocked fish, and the VCC crew of veterans who built the stone Forest Inn. * With so much to explore, it’s one of the best MN state parks. Contact website. Mary Gibbs was a force of nature fighting to protect nature. The most popular trail is the Dr. Roberts Nature Trail, which starts from the lakeshore at the foot of Douglas Lodge. Family fishing at Itasca State Park / Christy Bruggenthies The Douglas Lodge at Itasca State Park is one of the many places to stay near Bemidji Crossing the Mississippi Headwaters at Itasca State Park is a Bemidji-area tradition for many / Democratic Travelers Where the Mississippi River begins In spring, southeast Missouri is heaven for hikers, paddlers and rockhounds. The park is especially popular in the summer months thanks to its hiking trails, campsites, fire tower, and other wonderful attractions. Sports rental: By the boat landing, Itasca Sports rents canoes, kayaks, bikes, paddleboats and pontoon boats, and it sells fishing tackle, snacks and basic camping goods. Indeed, this placid pond is perhaps the park’s largest attraction. I wish I had known about Aunt Fannie’s DEET-free mosquito repellent wipes when I hiked at Lake Itasca State Park. If you’re planning to stay closer to home this summer, join me on a State Parks Staycation Challenge. The Douglas Lodge has been housing visitors since 1905, when it was known as "a jewel standing in mud.''. Of all Minnesota's state parks, it has by far the most overnight visitors. It’s only about 20 feet wide and no more than knee-deep so you can wade across. Otherwise, the red pines would be fighting for survival among other trees such as spruce, fir, maple and basswood. Kids can be amazed by the towering pine trees at Preacher's Grove, or visit the historic Itasca Indian Cemetery. This flowering weed may look pretty, but it bites. That spring, with rising water threatening to swamp Itasca's pines, she asked loggers to open their dam gates to lower water levels, as required by law. For your convenience, Itasca Sports rents bikes for you to use on the many paved bike trails that the park has to offer. What a great state park! Approximately 7–8,000 years ago, Native American hunters pursued wild animals for food in the Itasca State Park region. 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