Day Trip from the Twin Cities | Lake Mille Lacs

It’s the time of the year again, temperatures are dropping and everyone is flocking north to see the fall colors. We used last Saturday to head up to Lake Mille Lacs which about an hour and a half drive straight north from Minneapolis. It’s the second largest lake in the state and you can barely see across it. There are two state parks on the southern end of the lake that we were looking to check off our list.

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

We went to Mille Lacs Kathio State Park first thing on the rainy Saturday morning. There are tons of hiking and horse back riding trails and the park also contains a number of archeological sites. We saw a lot of horses and horse-poop landmines on the trails.

A highlight of the park is the 100-foot observation tower that would be perfect for viewing the fall colors but unfortunately it was closed and will remain closed for the rest of the season. It was still beautiful to hike along the Ogechie Lake and Rum River. We even saw a bald eagle chilling in a tree.

Father Hennepin State Park

Next we headed over to the other state park on Lake Mille Lacs, Father Hennepin. It’s a much smaller park but it’s right on the water. We hiked to Pope’s Point to take in the view of the giant lake. Out in the water is the nation’s smallest wildlife refuge that is one of the few Common Tern breeding colonies in Minnesota. Common Terns are apparently not-so-common and are classified as threatened or endangered in most of North America.

Father Hennepin State Park
Our fishing spot

There are a couple fishing piers in the park so we cast in our lines and Glenn caught a pike on his first cast! According to him, it was about the same size as this guy:

That’s all from our day trip to Lake Mille Lacs! Have you chased the fall colors this year? Leave a comment and let me know your favorite place to take in the changing of the seasons.


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