Minnesota June 24, 2020
Here’s The Ultimate Bucket List For Minnesotans Who Are Obsessed With Nature
Here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, nature is at our fingertips. No matter what type of natural scenery you’re drawn to – vast prairies, ancient forests, sparkling lakes – there is something for you in Minnesota. In fact, there are so many nature-related things to do that it can be overwhelming. That’s why we came up with this ultimate bucket list for Minnesotans who are obsessed with nature. Next time you’re stumped about where to visit or what to see, use this list to help you find some of the most exquisite nature activities in Minnesota.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Explore the Boundary Waters.
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness stretches across more than 1 million acres of northern Minnesota, and it's absolutely gorgeous. Visitors will find endless fish-filled lakes surrounded by dense forests, night skies dotted with millions of stars, and perfect peace and quiet. Whether you spend just a day or so hiking along the border, or you venture deep into the Boundary Waters for an extended camping or canoeing trip, you will come away with a new appreciation for Minnesota nature.
2. See the Sawtooth Mountains in autumn.
Minnesota's mountain range may not be as soaring as the Rockies or as long as the Appalachians. But the Sawtooth Mountains have a beauty all their own. These low-lying mountains on Minnesota's North Shore are an impressive sight from a distance. And up close, they offer spectacular views high above the rest of the landscape. The view is especially impressive in the fall, when the vast forests of northern Minnesota turn from green to orange, red, and yellow.
3. Hike the Superior Hiking Trail.
The Superior Hiking Trail is a 310-mile trail on Minnesota's North Shore. Many parts of the trail pass through state parks and other popular stops for North Shore visitors, making it easy to hike at least part of the path. Along the way, you'll get to see beautiful waterfalls, forests, and Lake Superior views.
4. Go waterfalling.
Minnesota has dozens of waterfalls, each worth visiting. Whether you enjoy the state's most popular waterfalls, like Gooseberry and Minnehaha, or lesser known falls like
, there is something for you in every region.
5. Take in the unique beauty of a frozen waterfall.
Speaking of waterfalling, it doesn't have to end when the weather gets cold. In fact, frozen waterfalls are some of the most uniquely beautiful things you can see during a Minnesota winter. The frozen flow of water is an otherworldly sight, and seeing it is well worth the time it takes to travel. Some popular frozen waterfalls are Minneopa, the High Falls of the Baptism River, and the Pigeon River High Falls.
6. Visit a North Shore beach.
While much of Minnesota's North Shore is rocky and rugged, there are a few notable beaches that are must-see spots for admirers of Lake Superior. Black Beach, pictured below, is one of the most impressive, with its taconite-dyed sand, red cliffs, and blue skies. Other popular beaches include Park Point in Duluth, and Iona's Beach near Two Harbors
7. Climb to the top of Eagle Mountain.
As Minnesota's highest point, Eagle Mountain is a must-see spot for Minnesota nature lovers. The mountain rises 2,300 feet above sea level and 1,322 feet above the surrounding landscape. It offers amazing views of forests, nearby peaks, and Lake Superior in the distance.
8. See Minnesota wildlife.
Not only is Minnesota home to some spectacular landscapes. It's also home to plenty of wildlife! Seeing a bear or moose or wolf ranks high at the top of many Minnesotans' bucket lists, and it's no wonder. These majestic creatures are beautiful but not easy to spot. The forests of northern Minnesota are your best bet for spotting one of these creatures. With enough patience, you're bound to see one of them.
9. Take in the quiet beauty of the open prairie.
Not all of nature has to be vast lakes, rushing waterfalls, and impossibly thick forests. In the prairies of western Minnesota, you'll find none of these things. Instead, visitors have the chance to take in the vast open prairie, a rare sight in Minnesota. The windswept prairies and wildflowers are easy to see by visiting Blue Mounds State Park,
Touch the Sky Prairie
, and other attractions in the area. It may not be as dramatic as a mountain range, but Minnesota's prairie is absolutely beautiful.
10. Explore Bluff Country.
Southeastern Minnesota is full of beautiful sights, too. The Driftless Area is a place of rolling hills that escaped the flattening effect of receding glaciers. The result is bluffs that soar high over the landscape, including along the Mississippi River. Many parks in the region have bluff hikes that make it easy to reach the top. When you get there, you'll be greeted by gorgeous views of the river, nearby hills, and Wisconsin over the border.
11. Walk across the Mississippi River headwaters.
Itasca State Park is where the Mississippi River begins its 2,000-mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. Visitors have the chance to walk across the waters as it begins its journey. Countless families have photos of themselves doing just that. This famous activity is a classic in Minnesota, and it's a must-do for the state's nature lovers.
Which of these are you most excited about? Would you add anything else to this list? Let us know in the comments.
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