Minneopa State Park beckons visitors with its rolling water sounds, bison range, and serene spaces. The term “Minneopa” brings to light how the Dakota Natives might have viewed waterways in the park’s vicinity, “water falling twice.” Waterfalls, a protected bison range, and plenty of hiking trails bring this park to the top of the list for anyone interested in nature!
RV and camper trailer visitors will love the remote feeling that Minneopa offers all year long. The Seppmann Mill brings history to life as visitors explore the old grist mill. Be sure not to miss the waterfalls and cottonwood trees when you venture on foot through the park’s trailways and hidden places.
In winter, bring your snow gear and get on the trails. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing happen at Minneopa when the snow falls. In summer, hike through historic trails and pretend you are time traveling with the kids. Bring your inner naturalist any time of year and explore all that this park has to offer you and your crew!
RV Rentals in Minneopa State Park
Transportation in Minneopa State Park
Minneopa State Park is located nine miles south of Mankato, MN via Highway 169. The park entrance is about a 90-minute drive south of Minneapolis, MN. This unique park has two sides. The waterfalls and park office are accessible via County Highway 69. The campground and bison range area may be accessed via State Highway 68. Highways 68 and 69 make up most of the driving roadways in Minneopa.
Be sure to check for Bison Drive Road alerts. This 331-acre portion of the park is only open on certain days. Visitors must stay inside the vehicle at all times while visiting the bison range. Viewing bison right from your vehicle adds something special to this state park!
Ensure that your RV or pull vehicle and trailer are equipped for the snow if you plan to travel in the winter. Remember to check current road and weather conditions any time of year.
Campgrounds and parking in Minneopa State Park
Campsites in Minneopa State Park
Red Fox Campground
Registration for RV and trailer camping is available online or by phone up to one year in advance. Same day registration is available through the park office or through the self-registration kiosk as space allows. The park allows a maximum of six people per campsite.
A dump station is available seasonally. Electric sites are limited so be sure to plan ahead regarding which type of campsite you will desire to use during your stay. While water hookups are not available at individual campsites, RVers can fill up with water at the contact station. Drinking water is available year-round at the park office.
Remember to get your Minnesota State Parks Permit in advance online or be prepared to purchase yours upon entry. Be prepared to pay cash if you plan to utilize the self-registration kiosk for permitting and camping registration.
The park office also offers sporting equipment, kids’ activity bags, and birding kits. Minneopa State Park offers campers a wonderful outdoor place to enjoy the snow in the winter and take in all of the colors of spring and summer. Be sure to consider what season you plan to visit. Check the weather and current trail conditions to ensure that you get the most out of your trip. The City of Mankato is nearby if a need arises during your stay at Minneopa.
Seasonal activities in Minneopa State Park
From the park office, hop on the South Route Trail to access 50 miles of paved biking trails. Enjoy the Red Jacket Trail, the Minnesota River Trail, and the Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail. A leisurely bike ride allows visitors to see more of the park and its surroundings than on foot alone. Take lunch with you and make a day of it! Be sure to let a member of your party know where you plan to bike – or take them all with you for a family day together. Note: Some of the bikeways leave the bounds of the park and a few sections are steep.
Minneopa State Park is filled with pieces of the past! Bring your sketchbook and try to immortalize your artifact of choice on paper. Come and see what Works Progress Administration workers did to help preserve the area in the midst of the Great Depression. See how the Minnesota River helped the area to establish a life for early settlers. The German style Seppmann windmill displays how natural resources were used in the 1800s to help provide food. Interpretive programs highlight the history of the land on which the park is situated. While many of the parks historical features are viewable all year long, some events are held seasonally or require registration.
The sound of moving water is something that tends to calm and invigorate us at the same time. Water cascading into a 50-foot gorge offers Minneopa visitors the ability to hear and observe the natural abilities of this mesmerizing natural resource. Minneopa Falls displays an upper and lower fall that have altered the face of the sandstone in this portion of the park. Observers can also enjoy views of the stone cliffs, plant life, and possibly even a beaver colony by walking down into the gorge for a more personal experience.
Bring your skis and enjoy the snow! Cross-country skiing is a wonderful way to experience Minneopa up close! The cross-country trails circle the perimeter of the bison range offering skiers a backcountry feel without the need to travel too far from camp. Remember to get your annual or daily Great Minnesota Ski Pass online or by phone if you are 16 years old or better (read older). Passes can also be purchased through various locations in person in the surrounding City of Mankato or via the self-registration kiosk or park office. Keep your pass with you at all times while skiing. In the summer, the same trailway can be hiked. A pass is not needed for hiking.
Love seeing moving spots of color in the outdoors? A checklist is available (online or from the park office) of birds that are known to frequent Minnesota State Parks. Bird lovers can easily keep track of what has been spotted. Groups or families can make it into a contest to see who can find the most winged creatures while at the park. Blue Jays, Northern Cardinals, and American Goldfinch might be seen any time of the year – but what will you find on your birdwatching ventures?
American Bison Viewing
Take a driving tour through bison country! These magnificent beasts have 331 acres in which to roam and enjoy at their own pace. Head to Seppman Mill overlook inside the range and see how many you can find. Remember to stay inside your vehicle and give each bison at least 75 feet clearance. Be especially mindful of calves as the herd works together to protect its young. Hiking is not permitted within the bison range areas of the park. Remember to check for current Bison Drive Road gate hours.