Lac Qui Parle State Park is a historically significant testament to the state's conservation efforts. Why not park the rig and spend a night or three in one of the park's two campgrounds to experience everything this outdoor oasis has to offer?
The French phrase lac qui parle is a translation of a Dakota phrase which means "the lake that speaks." Avid birdwatchers will want to keep their eyes and ears open when visiting the talkative waters of the eponymous lake -- especially during migration periods when countless geese and other migratory species stop over at this state park on their journey south for the winter or back up north for the spring.
We won't spoil the park's history for you -- after all, you'll have plenty of opportunities to explore it for yourself. History buffs should plan to stop at the Lac qui Parle mission sites and the old fort, while wildlife enthusiasts will want to get up close with area flora and fauna on the park's hiking trails.
A word of caution to those planning to camp at Lac Qui Parle State Park: the park's lower campground is located in a flood zone. When planning your trip, be sure to check weather conditions, as flooding can cause campground closures and result in limited amenities. Also, don't confuse this state park with the adjacent wildlife management area of the same name when planning your trip -- hunting isn't allowed on the state park's grounds.
If you're driving through Lac Qui Parle State Park from the spring to fall, you won't need to worry about road hazards. However, if you're visiting in winter, you'll want to keep a weather eye out for snow, sleet, ice, and the hazards that come with them, particularly since the park's roads are comprised of gravel. Heavy rain and floods make driving conditions dangerous as well.
Lac Qui Parle State Park is convenient to Highway 59, which leads into the town of Watson, where campers can find some basic provisions. Montevideo is a little further down the highway and offers more creature comforts, including fast food chains and local restaurants.
Several parking areas are available for day-use visitors at Lac Qui Parle State Park. Two parking areas are provided in the Lower Campground, by the picnic shelter and the group camp area. Note that the other two lots in the Lower Campground are for equestrian day-use visitors and group campers only. Visitors will find additional parking in the Upper Campground, as well as by the park's entrance. A vehicle entry fee applies in addition to camping fees.
Lac Qui Parle State Park welcomes big rigs, offering 67 sites for tent and RV campers in two campgrounds. The Upper Campground features 43 sites; of those, 28 sites offer electric hookups and 9 provide full hookups. Three of the Upper Campground's eight pull-through sites also come with full hookups.
Big rigs will want to park in the Upper Campground, which accommodates vehicles up to 60 feet long. Amenities in the Upper Campground include flush toilets and hot showers and seasonal dump stations in both campgrounds. Sites are pet-friendly and offer a picnic table and fire ring with a grill.
Visitors to Lac Qui Parle State Park are invited to park their rig and enjoy some outdoor adventures from April to November.
The Lower Campground has 24 sites, located in a beautiful grassy knoll covered with shade from lush trees. About half of the sites offer electric hookups and the rest are primitive. The maximum vehicle length at the Lower Campground is 50 feet. Amenities include a seasonal dump station and vault toilets in the Lower Campground. You'll have access to a fire ring with a grill and picnic table so you can enjoy meals right at your campsite. Pets are welcome but must be on a leash when outside the RV. The Lower Campground is typically open from April to November.
If your rig is in the shop, or you simply prefer a cozy camping trip with all the luxuries of home, book one of Lac Qui Parle State Park's camper cabins! Three cabins are available for camping parties of up to six guests and come with electricity and heat. Please note that pets are prohibited in the cabins, and only Cabin 2 is accessible for guests with disabilities.
Lac Qui Parle Lake, while nearly 6,000 acres in size, is relatively shallow -- just 15 feet deep -- but don't let that put you off casting your line! Pack your rod and reel in the trailer and try your luck catching a bluegill, sturgeon, or pike. The lake is stocked with walleye as well. The stretch of Minnesota River which flows through the park is also open to anglers.
Launch out from the on-site boat launch and paddle the placid waters of Lac Qui Parle Lake in your canoe or kayak. Don't have your own boat? No problem! Canoe and kayak rentals are available at Lac Qui Parle State Park, so pack the life jackets in the campervan and get ready for a lake excursion you'll never forget!
Swans, geese, and pelicans, oh my! This biodiverse park features an abundance of bird species, making it a prime place to break out the binoculars in all seasons. Be sure to check the official state park website for a full checklist of species you might spot. Visit in winter for an extra special outing -- you just might catch a glimpse of an eagle soaring through the sky!
At Lac Qui Parle State Park, the fun doesn't stop when the snow starts falling! In fact, for winter wanderers, it's only just beginning! Pack your skis to explore the park's five miles of ski trails when weather conditions permit. Trails are prone to flooding, so be a smart skier and plan your route beforehand! Also be sure to grab a Great Minnesota Ski Pass before taking to the trails.
Lac Qui Parle State Park is open to snowshoers, so strap on your gear and head out to experience the park from a different perspective. When you feel the cold really starting to set in, stop by the picnic shelter in the Lower Campground, which doubles as a warming house in the winter and comes complete with a cozy fireplace. Keep off the groomed trails during your snowshoeing excursion, though, and be sure to watch out for signposted areas that prohibit snowshoeing.
Prefer to explore the park's trails without all the snow? Head to the picnic shelter in the lower campground to find the main trailhead to access the park's six-mile hiking trail network. All the trails are easy and fairly flat, so no need to pack your fancy hiking gear in the RV for this excursion. Don't forget to bring your camera along to snap some photos of local flora and fauna along the way!