Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Minneopa State Park

 Spring 2023. 

It was a frantic exodus from the cities but the bike was packed and ready to go. I set out westward on  highway 13, down 169 to Mankato. Leaving the Thursday afternoon rush is always a hassle and I didn't really feel underway until I got to Henderson. From here the road starts to follow the river a little more closely and the views are less familiar.  

A quick stop at the closed 7 Mile Creek park, 
high water and land slides had hit the area.

Wildfire smoke from the north was thick in the sky.

That night I camped at Minneopa State Park, a first for me. It's a gem of a park with trails along the Minnesota River's bluff, a bison range, and even an old stone windmill. I hear there's a waterfall there too but that would have to wait for Friday morning.

The State Park signs get an upgrade over the State Forest campgrounds.

Bison range, just behind my campsite.

The bison wander freely across the access road,
only a perimeter fence and cattle grate contain them.

Ride in at your own risk.

the windmill

Keeping my distance.

The campsites are fantastic with enough space between sites.

I was up early Friday morning and fit in a hike before breakfast. The evening before I walked the fence line trail between the range and the bluff. This morning did some birding on the trail that leads down to the river. 

The bluff trail ended abruptly at the flooded floodplain forest.


I tried some instant coffee with my breakfast, it hasn't gotten any better. I much prefer cowboy coffee from my Walmart cook kit. After picking up camp, I motored over to the waterfalls area for more exploring.

Minneopa Falls.

lots of green

My dad was rode over from Wabasha to meet me for lunch before starting our trek over to Blue Mounds State Park that afternoon. I had a little time to kill which I wasted exploring the roads around the Mount Kato ski area. 

The Blue Earth and Le Sueur Rivers cut down through the landscape
before meeting the Minnesota River.

More or less the route we took over the three day trip.
Sunday's ride was from New Ulm to Mankato and back up 169.

 - Ride North

May 18th – 19th | 60s and hazy, 40s at night | 100 mi.


  1. Replies
    1. The smoke mostly stayed up but when it comes back down to ground level it can get oppressive. Or it can seem that way in the land of sky blue waters.