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In southwest Minnesota, between Willmar and Marshall, is the Upper Sioux Agency State Park. This park is convenient to visit when you book an RV in Yellow Medicine County and is a fantastic example of the plains landscape. Camping at Upper Sioux Agency State Park will allow you to enjoy both plains and river landscapes, and there is plenty of history to explore while staying here.
Upper Sioux Agency State Park was established in 1963 to help preserve the remains of an Agency Site. Within the park’s nearly 1,300 acres, guests can explore bluffs, wooded slopes, prairie knolls, and a river. The park’s geological history can be traced tens of thousands of years into the past, back to when glaciers covered most of Minnesota before retreating north. In more recent times, the land the park is built on was once occupied by the Dakota Indians from Iowa and Minnesota after they were relocated by early pioneers.
Visiting Upper Sioux Agency State Park during the colder months is a fantastic way to explore what Minnesota winters offer, and folks who are motorhome camping near the park after it snows can enjoy sledding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. There are no official paths set out for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, so guests are just encouraged to avoid stepping on plants when possible. Horseback riding is also allowed in the winter, but typically visitors find it more enjoyable to ride their horses during warmer weather.
RV camping at Upper Sioux Agency State Park during the warmer months has its own set of exciting activities to enjoy. Hiking is very popular in the park, and there are more than 18 miles of trails to explore during your stay. These trails are rated from easy to moderate, and some of the trails will take you along Yellow Medicine River Valley and allow you to enjoy sweeping panoramic views of the surrounding land. Other trails hike through forests, wetlands, and even along old river bottoms.
Other activities to enjoy while renting an RV at Upper Sioux Agency State Park include picnicking, wildlife watching, playing volleyball, golfing, playing horseshoes, and more. Onsite volleyball courts and horseshoe pits make it easy to play a game or three, while the picnic shelter makes for a wonderful place to have lunch. There is electricity, tables, a standing grill, and numerous fire rings near the picnic shelter for added convenience.
One of the best parts of RV camping at state parks is that you tend to know what to expect from state park RV campgrounds. Although these campgrounds typically aren’t luxurious, they are often consistent and have just enough amenities to keep everyone happy. The campgrounds at Upper Sioux Agency State Park can accommodate almost 50 RVs at once, with 34 of those sites being drive-in sites without electricity, and the other 14 offer 30 or 50 amp service.
All campsites at this campground have a good amount of space between them, so you’ll have moderate privacy in your rental RV while camping here. The maximum RV length at the park is 60 feet, and although many of the campsites in the park are wheelchair accessible, unfortunately, none of them officially meet ADA standards. Additionally, all campsites have access to seasonal showers and flushing toilets.
Granite Falls, which is located northwest of the park, is one of the closest and most convenient towns to visit when you rent a camper near Upper Sioux Agency State Park. Granite Falls is home to the Yellow Medicine County Historical Society and Museum, which is a fantastic place to visit to learn all about the local history. Local history includes that of the Yellow Medicine Agency and the Native Americans that once inhabited the area.
The Andrew J. Volstead House Museum is also in Granite Falls, and guests seeking to learn about the Great American Prohibition will certainly want to visit this destination. The museum holds irregular hours, often only operating on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of each week, so be sure to call ahead. The museum is filled with relics and artifacts, in addition to plenty of placards and information on prohibition in the United States.
While in town, be sure to grab a bite to eat at one of the many local restaurants located throughout town. There is a public house tavern-style restaurant located along the Minnesota River, and many of the seats in the establishment overlook the water. Nearby to this are pizza places, cafes, and quick options that serve healthy food. Other sections of town have local diners, fast food, and even a couple of cafes and coffee shops.