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Itasca State Park

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Where to go: Hints of color are appearing throughout the park. Touring along Main Park Drive will show hints of the first trees turing color. Hiking any trail, especially those passing along lakes and wetlands, will reveal the colorful floral blooms.

What you'll see:

Trees:A few sugar maples are turning orange-peach in the upper most branches along Main Park Drive. Ash are starting to turn yellow. The balsam poplars are turning khaki brown, their typical autumn color.

Flowers: The biggest change right now can be seen in the flowers. A variety of asters (over 16 species in the park)are now blooming, ranging in color from white to deep purple. The most common in the pinelands is the large-leaf aster. Goldenrods (around 15 species around the park) are also starting to bloom in full force, their lovely rich, gold colored flowers are attracting many pollinators. Along the lake shores Joe-Pye weed is displaying a lovely red-violet bloom. Beggar-ticks are a deep gold along with the bright yellow of the tall sunflowers. The orange spotted touch-me-nots are blooming in full force, their nectar-rich blooms attract hummingbirds. Along dry roadways, enjoy the white papery flowers of the pearly everlasting.

Fruits: Not all fruits are edible. Some are poisonous. Many of the plants are now at the fruiting stage. Spikenard, with its tiny fruits in shades of pink to deep purple, can be seen along the Dr. Roberts Trail. Here you can also see the bright red fruits of the bunchberry. Highbush cranberry and wild rose hips are beginning to ripen, both displaying reddish-yellow fruits. Large green fruits are developong on the Jack-in-the-pulpit--be careful this plant contains calcium oxalate. Wild rice grains are beginning to fill out.

Also of interest: The bike trail is now open! Why not enjoy the colorful floral display by bike.

Animals: Fawns are still displaying their white spots. They can be seen along roadways in the early morning and just before sunset. Hummingbirds are very active at park feeders. Yellow-bellied sapsuckers and pileated woodpeckers are being seen and heard more frequently. Garter snakes are shedding their skins. Tiny toads are seen hopping along trails. Tiger and blue-spotted salamanders are on the move on rainy days. Watch for beavers on ponds and lakes at dusk as they begin to build up their winter food cache. Red squirrels are beginning to cut red pine cones for their winter food stash. A few acorns from the red oak are beginning to drop. The raccoons will usually appear in those areas to feast on the calorie packed nuts.

Last updated: August 29, 2014 

Special Offer for Park Permits

Canít decide between a one-day or year-round park permit? The DNR has a special offer that can help. Start by purchasing a one-day permit for $5 and visit as many state parks as possible. After visiting the state parks, trade in the one-day permit by the end of that day and get $5 off the purchase of a year-round permit. Year-round permits, which cost $25, provide unlimited access to all 76 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas for a full year from the month of purchase.
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Getting there

36750 Main Park Drive
Park Rapids, MN 56470

South entrance to the park is 23 miles north of Park Rapids on U.S. Highway 71. From Bemidji, the east entrance is 30 miles south on U.S. Hwy 71 and 1/10 mile north on State Hwy 200. The north entrance is 21 miles south of Bagley on State Hwy 92/State Hwy 200.

GPS device users: Lat. 47.194648 Long. -95.165012


Phone: 218-699-7251

Email: itasca.statepark@state.mn.us

Best time to contact the park:

Daily, 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.