Spanning across 1,567 acres, Blue Mounds State Park is a gorgeous nature site located near the town of Luverne in Minnesota. Boasting a wide array of natural exhibits, Blue Mounds Park is a must stop-over for RVers wanting to see nature in its full swing. Feasting its visitors with the remarkable spectacles of the rare American Bison, this park is one of its own kind. Other rare wildlife species occupying the park include white-tailed deer, coyotes, red fox, and many species of birds. The park is characterized by an unusual prairie landscape and is named after its Sioux Quartzite bedrock, which interestingly appeared blue to the early settlers of the land from a distance despite originally being pink.
The park is also home to Mound Lake, formed as a result of Works Progress Administration’s construction of two dams on Mound Creek. The lake provides ample opportunities for aquatic recreation including fishing, canoeing, and swimming. Other than adventures in the water, the park extends an opportunity for rock-climbing; one of the very few in Rock County, Minnesota. The park is also abounding with various hiking trails and is historically rich, owing to the presence of its interpretive center, which was once the famed author Frederick Manfred’s residence.
Open daily throughout the year, the park is an ideal location for a small outdoor vacation in the spring, summer, and fall. RV camping is a great option to consider at Blue Mounds State Park as it features many campsites with excellent amenities, including electric hookups. When you bring your RV to Blue Mounds State Park, you’ll get to experience all the wonderful nature and history that this park has to offer.
RV Rentals in Blue Mounds State Park
Transportation in Blue Mounds State Park
Blue Mounds State Park is easy to access by car or RV. It is situated about six miles away from the town of Luverne in Rock County. The distance from Luverne can be covered in less than 10 minutes by car or RV by taking Co Highway 18 and US-75 N. US-75 N Highway is situated four miles to the north of Luverne. One more mile to the east at County Road 20 and the park entrance comes into the view. Inside the park, one can easily roam around with the help of a map.
There is also a gift shop built in the park office to buy firewood, maps, jewelry, books, and many other items. A payphone is also located just outside the park office. The park’s interpretive center is built into the Sioux Quartzite cliff at the southern end of the park. An amphitheater can be found adjacent to the campground for picnics and gatherings. Adequate parking options are available at the park. A facility of towed parking is not entertained. An annual or daily permit is needed to bring your vehicles inside the park. Bikes and cars are only allowed on the park roads and not on the trails, but there are nearly three miles of trails designated for biking, starting from the park’s picnic area and going all the way to the South of Luverne. The park also provides two miles of trails meant for snowmobiles.
Campgrounds and parking in Blue Mounds State Park
Campsites in Blue Mounds State Park
Camping at Blue Mounds
There are plentiful RV camping options available at the park, however it is open seasonally in the spring, summer, and fall. There are a total of 73 semi-modernly built campsites, including 40 30-amp electric and 33 non-electric sites. No sewer and water hookup sites are available, but adequate dumping and sewer facilities are provided which also include two sanitation stations. Clean water is available in abundance for cooking and cleaning at the park. In case of non-availability of water, water can be fetched from a nearby aquatic center located eight minutes from the park.
Two restrooms were also built into the campground providing showers and flush toilets. A limited number of wheelchair accessible sites are also available, which are situated near the wheelchair accessible toilets and showers. One wheelchair accessible site is electrical while other is non-electric. There are drive-in sites, walk-in sites, as well as a group campsite. The group site is built adjacent to the Mound Creek, is capable of accommodating up to 75 people, and features vault toilets. The group site is only open during peak season from April to October.
The campsites are shaded and feature lush green grass with finely paved gravel roads. A picnic area and picnic shelter can be found near the campground. Sandboxes are also provided at the campsites. The maximum vehicle length at the campsite is 50 feet. You can also bring along your pets into the campground. If you want to camp in a unique style, you can try camping in tipis, although they available only during peak season. The tipis are spacious and offer an unparalleled camping experience.
There are no first-come, first-served campgrounds at this state park.
Seasonal activities in Blue Mounds State Park
Taking Prairie and Bison Tours
Blue Mounds State Park offers safari style ranger-led tours in the peak season. The one and a half-hour long tour is engaging, informative, and offers a unique experience that you can associate to no other state park than Blue Mounds. The park is the only region in Minnesota and the US that protects the extremely rare American Bison. While on this tour, you will feel the modern world fading away and you find yourself at the doorstep of the ancient times when Bison occupied the land in large numbers and prairie grassland swayed with the winds. The tours runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It is recommended to pre-book your tickets. Tickets can be reserved up to 24 hours in advance.
Blue Mounds State Park is one of the most scenic spots to park your rig and take a picnic in all of Minnesota. A picnic area including 14 picnic sites can be found adjacent to the park’s campground. This is the perfect place to indulge in an outdoor pleasure in the shades of bur oak trees and tall green grass. Located on the shores of Mound Lake, this handicap-friendly picnic spot offers tables and fire rings. Firewood can be purchased at the park office. There is a playground close to the picnic area that is adorned with swings for the kids. A wheelchair accessible picnic shelter is also available for pre-reservation near the walk-in campsite. While picnicking with friends or family in the sunshine and shades of oak trees, you can also indulge in a light horseshoe game, and you can get the equipment at the park office. A volleyball court has also been set up near the picnic grounds.
Visiting Mound Lake
Two dams built in 1937 by Work Projects Administration lay the foundation of Upper and Lower Mound Lakes in Blue Mounds State Park, the water source for which is Mound Creek. The Upper and Lower Mound lakes offer great opportunities for recreation including swimming, sunbathing, canoeing, and fishing. The Upper Mound and Lower Mound lakes are popular fishing spots among the anglers coming to visit the park. There is also a small beach area at Lower Mound Lake where you can swim to your heart’s desire or just soak the sunlight on a hot summer day. The Upper and Lower Mound lakes are also home to many endangered aquatic species including Topeka Shiner, Pond Mussel, Blanchard’s Cricket Frog, and Plains Topminnow.
Featuring breathtaking views spread all around both near and far, Blue Mounds State Park’s trails are a pleasure to hike. Immerse yourself in a hiking delight at Blue Mounds with the prairie landscape swaying with all its glory, the matchless views of the rocky Sioux Quartzite structures taking breaths away, and the diversity of park’s flora and fauna on display. You can also catch glimpses of the Upper and Lower Mound Lakes and Dams with the blue hues of water creating a stunning backdrop. The hiking trails at Blue Mounds take up about 25 miles with nearly three miles reserved for bike rides which slowly unwind into the town of Luverne. Winter hiking becomes more spectacular and thrilling with the park’s 20 miles of hiking trails reserved for snowmobiles.
Wildlife Viewing and Bird Watching
While summer, spring, and fall are considered the most ideal times to indulge in birding and wildlife viewing, the most notable wildlife at Blue Mounds State Park is easier to catch during winter. Many unusual species of birds can be seen nesting the park during spring, summer, and fall, which include grosbeak, burrowing owls, Say’s phoebe, spotted sandpipers, meadowlarks, horned larks, and bobolinks to name a few. Coyotes and white-tailed deer steal the spotlight among all the wildlife habituating the park. You can catch a glimpse of these wildlife rarities during winter on the park’s 13 miles of winter hiking trails. Although coyotes may be seen through summer as well, the chances are very thin. You may also catch one or more white-tailed jackrabbits wintering in Blue Mounds State Park.
With the temperature plummeting and the landscape freezing in Minnesota during the ice-cold season, there is not very much left to do or see at the park except hiking or stealing glances at the winter special species of the park. But there is no harm in setting your adventurous spirit loose and trying to climb Blue Mounds State Park’s Sioux Quartzite rocks. Rock climbing is usually considered a summer sport, but you can surely give it a try in winter and see for yourself how amazing the whole experience turns out to be. Plus, rock climbing can be much more fun in winter if you look closely. You don’t have to deal with the blazing sun, and climbing over the ice is as epic as it could get.