Rice Lake and Sakatah Lake State Parks | Minnesota

It’s mid-April and winter is still hanging on in Minnesota. We decided to ignore the fact that it was 28 degrees outside and kickoff our 2022 Minnesota hiking season anyway.

Located a little over an hour south of Minneapolis are two state parks, Rice Lake State Park in Owatonna and Sakatah Lake State Park in Waterville. They are only about 33 miles apart and neither is that huge so we were able to check out both in one day.

Rice Lake is named as such for a very obvious reason, Native Americans used to harvest wild rice from it. Today, the lake and marshy surroundings attract many different types of waterfowl. The park has hiking trails, campgrounds and canoe/kayak rentals. We froze our butts off on a 2.15 mile hike along the lake and through the oak tree woods but we had the entire park to ourselves!

On our way to Sakatah Lake State Park we stopped in Owatonna for a late breakfast at Old Town Bagels. Delish!

The sun decided to make an appearance when we got to Sakatanah Lake but we were still the only fools out hiking. The park sits along a 39-mile multi-use trail called the Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail that was developed from an old railway. There is a boat launch, lots of campsites, and a number of hiking trails throughout the rolling hills and oak forest.

There wasn’t ice on the lake anymore but there were some beautiful icicles hanging around the branches on the edge of the water. They were mesmerizing!

Things warmed up while we hiked along Sakatah Lake which was both a blessing and a curse because yes, we were finally warm but when the ground began to thaw we started slipping and sliding in the mud. It was still a gorgeous park though and one that would be really fun to camp at in the summer.

These were the 38th and 39th Minnesota State Parks we have visited. There are 66 in total and I’m so excited to summer to get here so we can check some more off the list!


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