May–June 2024

Young Naturalists

7 Geological Wonders of Minnesota State Parks

See how the earth was shaped by looking at the clue-filled landscapes in these parks.

Mary Hoff


Rocky cliffs, sandy beaches, roaring waterfalls, fish-filled lakes—each of Minnesota’s 65 state parks has a unique set of fascinating features. Each of them brings not only beauty, but also mystery. Where did it come from? Why is it here and not there? The answers often have to do with Minnesota’s geological history—the story of how volcanoes, glaciers, flowing water, and other forces shaped the surface of our state.

Let’s take a tour of seven Minnesota state parks for a peek at how heat, water, ice, and wind have altered Minnesota’s landscape over Earth’s four and a half billion years of existence. Then consider planning a trip to a state park near you to see for yourself and learn more about the ancient surprises left behind.

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