In this edition of ” Casey Visits ALL the Minnesota State Parks” we stay very near to home. Fort Snelling State Park is as close to being located within a major metropolitan as a state park can get. It’s about a 15-minute drive from both downtown Minneapolis and St Paul right where the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers meet. There are also a few lakes within the park for all of your summer water activities but since I visited in December, everything was pretty frozen.
My dog Audi is obsessed with snow so I decided to switch up our usual dog walking routine and hit some trials. Fort Snelling State Park has extensive trails for hiking, biking and skiing that span all the way to Minnehaha Falls and the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. 18 mi of hiking trails, 5 mi biking. 24 km of cross-country ski trails!
Audi and I walked the loop on Pike Island which has been closed most of the year due to flooding and it was nice to see how well preserved the wilderness was considering how close it is to major highways and the airport. We even saw some deer running around.
After our walk, we hiked up to Fort Snelling to take in some history. The visitor center was closed for the season but I read a lot of the informational displays and the more I read the more the place started to feel haunted. Fort Snelling is apparently known for being a concentration camp and execution site of the Dakota Indians in the 1800s. I’m paraphrasing but that was the gist of it.
Fort Snelling State Park is apparently one of the top tourist attractions in the Twin Cities (#15 out of 118 top things to do in St Paul according to TripAdvisor!) and I would like to go back and learn more about its history. It was a little odd hearing highway and airport sounds the entire time but I have to appreciate how close it is to home.
And this spoiled dog sure seemed to enjoy it.