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Minnesota's Scientific and Natural Areas (SNAs) offer an opportunity to immerse yourself in some of the wildest places in the state. The prospects of visiting one can be rewarding and challenging at the same time!


Enjoy a virtual visit to these unique SNAs right now!

Highlighted here are a selection of SNAs for you to "visit" without having to leave home. These virtual visits give you the flavor of these unique and uncommon places without the challenge of actually getting to them, let alone trying to navigate in them once you get there (Have you ever tried walking in a bog?!).


Burntside Islands SNA

A virtual visit to Burntside Islands SNA

Location of SNA in state

Snapshots:

 

What to know:

  • The islands that make up this natural area protect primarily white pine – red pine forest, some of which is old-growth.
  • The natural area hosts a variety of plants (wildflowers, grasses, trees) and animals.
  • The islands host a variety of birds including ruffed grouse, red crossbills, pileated woodpeckers, and black-capped chickadees.
  • Burntside Islands SNA is less than half a mile from the million+ acre Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness. The islands share the wild character of the Wilderness.

 

Learn more:

Crystal Spring SNA

A virtual visit to Crystal Spring SNA

Location of SNA in state

Snapshots:

 

What to know:

  • Three other nearby natural areas protect habitat in the St. Croix River valley. Falls Creek SNA is less than a mile north, and less than 10 miles further you’ll find Franconia Bluffs and Lawrence Creek SNAs.
  • Adjacent to Crystal Spring SNA, the St. Croix River is one of the last undisturbed large rivers in the upper Mississippi River watershed. It contains exceptional natural resources as well as scenic, cultural, and recreational values. It was designated a National Wild and Scenic River in 1968.
  • The natural area hosts a variety of plants (wildflowers, trees) and animals.
  • This site protects a significant population of state-endangered butternut tree.

 

Learn more:

Gneiss Outcrops SNA

A virtual visit to Gneiss Outcrops SNA

Location of SNA in state

Snapshots:

 

What to know:

  • Gneiss Outcrops SNA sits in the valley of the Minnesota River. Over thousands of years waters from Glacial Lake Agassiz scoured out a wide valley by the Glacial River Warren. Today you can see the scale of the former glacial river evident in aerial photography of the area.
  • The natural area hosts a variety of plants (wildflowers, grasses, trees) and animals. Rock outcrop specialists include two species of cacti native to Minnesota.
  • A string of protected lands lies along the Minnesota River, both upstream and downstream from Gneiss Outcrops SNA. These include the Chippewa Prairie Preserve, Lac qui Parle WMA, Upper Sioux Agency State Park, and Swedes Forest SNA.

Learn more:

Hythecker Prairie SNA

A virtual visit to Hythecker Prairie SNA

Location of SNA in state

Snapshots:

 

What to know:

  • Prescribed burns set back encroaching brush and enhance a prairie's health. Here at Hythecker Prairie burns have been a regular part of management since the 1980s.
  • Since 2010 invasive species, primarily birds' foot trefoil and wild parsnip have become a growing concern. Visiting here virtually helps reduce spreading these species on the site.
  • The natural area hosts a variety of plants (wildflowers, grasses, trees) and animals.
  • Parts of this site had been farmed in the past, and has since been planted with native seed from the adjacent remnant prairie.

Learn more:

Iron Horse Prairie SNA

A virtual visit to Iron Horse Prairie SNA

Location of SNA in state

Snapshots:

 

What to know:

  • At 34 acres, this natural area is one of the largest surviving mesic tallgrass prairies in southeastern Minnesota. Today, less than two percent of Minnesota's native prairie remains.
  • Railroad rights-of-way provided refuge for native plants and animals while nearby lands were converted to agriculture and other uses. Today native prairie remnants, like this one, remain along these corridors.
  • This natural area hosts a variety of plants (wildflowers, grasses, trees) and animals. At least four rare plants have been documented here.
  • A concern here is the encroachment of woody and invasive species.

Learn more:

Iron Springs Bog SNA

A virtual visit to Iron Springs Bog SNA

Location of SNA in state

Snapshots:

 

What to know:

  • This SNA is within 1.5 miles of the north entry station to Itasca State Park and within the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest. Two other SNAs Itasca Wilderness Sanctuary and La Salle Lake are within about 10 miles of Iron Springs Bog SNA
  • A long history of research here goes back to at least the 1920s when University of Minnesota professors C.O. Rosendahl and Murray Buell explored and described the vegetation. They proceeded to make the site a place for teaching and research for the Itasca Biological Station, which continues studies at Iron Springs Bog SNA today.
  • The natural area hosts a variety of plants (wildflowers, grasses, trees) and animals. Many plants here are uniquely adapted to the constantly wet environment with low nutrients. Pitcher plants, for example, supplement nutrients by capturing and digesting insects.

Learn more:

Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA

A virtual visit to Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA

Location of SNA in state

Snapshots:

 

What to know:

Learn more:

Kettle River SNA

A virtual visit to Kettle River SNA

Location of SNA in state

Snapshots:

 

What to know:

  • The riparian zone at the river's edge is a place highly influenced by water, with ponds, marshes and floodplain forest. Kettle River SNA has a large riparian zone!
  • The natural area hosts a variety of plants (wildflowers, grasses, trees) and animals.
  • The Louisiana waterthrush is of special note. It prefers dense vegetation near running water for breeding and nesting and this natural area provides ideal habitat for this rare bird.
  • The Kettle River joins the St Croix River roughly 13.5 miles downstream from this site. Both are state water trail routes.

Learn more:

McGregor Marsh SNA

A virtual visit to McGregor Marsh SNA

Location of SNA in state

Snapshots:

 

What to know:

Learn more:

Pigs Eye Island Heron Rookery SNA

A virtual visit to Pigs Eye Island Heron Rookery SNA

Location of SNA in state

Snapshots:

 

What to know:

  • This SNA is leased from Ramsey County Parks and Recreation Department, who owns the land, as a means of added protection for the rookery here. The island is used as anchorage for barges.
  • These rookeries tend to change over time. Other SNAs meant to protect colonial nesting birds have seen those sites abandoned by the birds.
  • The natural area hosts a variety of plants (wildflowers, grasses, trees) and animals.
  • If you really want to see birds nesting here grab your binoculars and bike. Head to the Wildflower Levee Park along the Mississippi River Regional Trail. The island is directly northeast across the river!

Learn more:

Red Lake Peatland SNA

A virtual visit to Red Lake Peatland SNA

Location of SNA in state

Snapshots:

 

What to know:

  • The Red Lake Peatland is the largest and most significant patterned peatland in the country.
  • From 1905 to 1922 ditching attempts to drain peatland for farmland largely fail to drain the "Big Bog." Many ditches remain, but have had significant impacts only in their immediate area.
  • The natural area hosts a variety of plants (wildflowers, grasses, trees) and animals.
  • Many plants here are uniquely adapted to the constantly wet environment with low nutrients. Pitcher plants, for example, supplement nutrients by capturing and digesting insects.

Learn more:

Sand Lake Peatland SNA

A virtual visit to Sand Lake Peatland SNA

Location of SNA in state

Snapshots:

 

What to know:

  • The Sand Lake Peatland is the furthest east of Minnesota's 18 legislatively established patterned peatlands.
  • It is also the only one of these peatlands not altered by ditch-building attempts to drain them. An abandoned rail line does bisect the site.
  • The natural area hosts a variety of plants (wildflowers, grasses, trees) and animals.
  • The Nature Conservancy's Sand Lake/Seven Beavers Preserve is adjacent to this natural area. Much of the rest of the surrounding lands consist of county, state or federal ownerships.

Learn more:

Seminary Fen SNA

A virtual visit to Seminary Fen SNA

Location of SNA in state

Snapshots:

 

What to know:

  • A calcareous fen, a grassy wetland fed by groundwater springs, is found here. Calcium and other minerals make them unique from other fen types, and they often support several rare species.
  • The springs on this natural area attracted Dr. Henry Fischer to buy the land here and build health spa in the early 1900s (on what is the now the parking area and adjacent uplands).
  • Later it became a seminary school, but ultimately shuttered, sitting vacant for many years. The main building was destroyed by fire in 1997. It took until 2008 to protect the fen as a natural area.
  • The natural area hosts a variety of plants (wildflowers, grasses, trees) and animals.

Learn more:

Two Rivers Aspen Parkland SNA

A virtual visit to Two Rivers Aspen Parkland SNA

Location of SNA in state

Snapshots:

 

What to know:

  • Is it a prairie or is it a woodland? Well technically, it is an ecotone where the landscape transitions from prairies in the west to forest as you move east.
  • The two largest members of the deer family, elk and moose, inhabit far northwestern Minnesota. The SNA hosts a mix of woodlands (aspen) interspersed with brushy prairies and wet meadows they prefer.
  • The natural area hosts a variety of plants (wildflowers, grasses, trees) and animals.
  • Over time, the aspen woodlands have encroached into prairie here. Restoration efforts to reverse that trend include prescribed burns, brush cutting, and girdling the aspen.

Learn more:

 


 

Start planning a visit to these fascinating SNAs

Check out these hand-picked SNAs we encourage you to visit IRL (in real life). These sites have good access, nearby amenities, and some even have trails! All offer exceptional native plant communities, wildlife and/or geologic features. Best of all they'll give you an in-person look at Minnesota's wild places.

Guidelines and what to bring for any visit

  • Take a look at the visiting guidelines for SNAs.
  • Dress for the weather. Did you remember a rain jacket? Wear your layers in cold weather!
  • You'll need sturdy footwear, appropriate for outdoor hiking.
  • Don't forget the insect repellent and sunscreen. Check for ticks.
  • Bring water and some snacks!

Minnesota's natural resources are threatened by a number of invasive species; be informed and help keep them from spreading to natural areas.


 

Avon Hills Forest SNA
Fall in Avon Hills Forest

Plan a visit to Avon Hills Forest SNA

Location of SNA in state

What to see

  • Experience the kettle and kame topography (hilly terrain) upon which extensive hardwood forests grow.
  • Hike in the mature oak forests here, which are especially brilliant in autumn.
  • Birds, birds, birds. This an excellent stop for birders to find a variety of species, notably those that require large tracts of intact forest.
  • Learn more about Avon Hills Forest SNA online

Maps and directions

Accessing the SNA

  • North Unit: From Avon 1.4 miles west on Co Hwy 54, then 1.8 miles north on Tower Rd, then 0.5 mile west on Quaker Rd. Park in lot on south. Hike south into woods of site.
  • South Unit: From Avon 1.5 miles southwest on Co Rd 9, then 1 mile south on Kalla Lake Rd, then 0.5 mile east on Schuman Lake Rd. Park in pull-off (field) on north. No parking along Schuman Lake Rd.

Trails

  • This site has no maintained trails.
  • The Lake Wobegon Trail follows the southern boundary of the SNA's north unit. You can hike and bike on this trail.

Facilities

  • The closest facilities (restrooms, food, etc.) are in Avon.

Winter access

  • Lot may not be plowed in winter.
Blanket Flower Prairie SNA
Sunflowers at Blanket Flower Prairie

Plan a visit to Blanket Flower Prairie SNA

Location of SNA in state

What to see

  • Can you spot an ecotone? Blanket Flower Prairie straddles the ecotone (transition zone) between the prairies to the west and the eastern deciduous forest.
  • Find a scenic and sometimes challenging hike here. Much of the site is blanketed by dry sand-gravel prairie on hilly terrain.
  • Test your skills at identifying a variety of native wildflowers and grasses. At different times of the year you may see pasque flowers, purple prairie clover, dotted blazing star and silky aster blooming among the native grasses; prairie dropseed, blue grama grass, and porcupine grass.
  • Learn more about Blanket Flower Prairie SNA online

Maps and directions

Accessing the SNA

  • From Barnesville 8 miles east on MN Hwy 34, then 1 mile north on MN Hwy 32, then 1 mile east on 147th Ave, then 0.75 mile north on 280th St. Park in lot on east.

Trails

  • This site has no maintained trails.

Facilities

  • The closest facilities (restrooms, food, etc.) are in Barnesville.

Winter access

  • Lot may not be plowed in winter.
Bluestem Prairie SNA
Sunset at Bluestem Prairie

Plan a visit to Bluestem Prairie SNA

Location of SNA in state

What to see

  • Enjoy one of the most significant northern tallgrass prairie sites in the nation.
  • Reserve blinds for viewing prairie chicken courtship behavior in April. Call The Nature Conservancy Bluestem Prairie office (218) 498-2679 to make a reservation.
  • Hike Bluestem Trail in Buffalo River State Park and discover a wide variety of prairie wildflowers and grasses.
  • Part of this SNA is within 6,568 acre The Nature Conservancy owned Bluestem Preserve and Buffalo River State Park, with access to many amenities including camping.
  • Learn more about Bluestem Prairie SNA online

Maps and directions

Accessing the SNA

  • From Moorhead 11 miles east on US Hwy 10, then 1 mile south on MN Hwy 9, then 1.5 miles east on 17th Ave S. Park in lot on north.
  • The SNA may be accessed via the Bluestem Trail from Buffalo River State Park (565 155th St S, Glyndon, MN)

Trails

  • Bluestem Trail – A two mile loop through the SNA on mostly flat terrain.

Facilities

  • The closest restrooms are in Buffalo River State Park.

Winter access

  • Lots may not be plowed in winter, best access may be from Buffalo River State Park.
Bonanza Prairie SNA
Walking though fall grasses at Bonanza Prairie

Plan a visit to Bonanza Prairie SNA

Location of SNA in state

What to see

  • Hike through the dry hill prairie with bur oak savanna in the swales.
  • Climb to the top of the hills to be rewarded by spectacular views across Big Stone Lake and the South Dakota plains beyond.
  • Enjoy identifying a variety of wildflowers and grasses throughout the growing season.
  • You'll be within Big Stone Lake State Park, with access to many amenities including camping in the Meadowbrook Unit of the Park.
  • Learn more about Bonanza Prairie SNA online

Maps and directions

Accessing the SNA

  • From Ortonville 19 miles northwest on MN Hwy 7, then 1.4 miles west and north on 320th St into Big Stone Lake State Park (Bonanza Unit). Park at Education Center and hike east to site.

Trails

  • This site has no maintained trails.

Facilities

  • The closest restrooms are the Education Center in Big Stone Lake State Park, Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends. Vault toilets ae available year-round.

Winter access

  • Road to Education Center may not be plowed in winter.
Cottonwood River Prairie SNA
Hills in the summer at Cottonwood River Prairie

Plan a visit to Cottonwood River Prairie SNA

Location of SNA in state

What to see

  • Walk the hilly terrain to find dry sand-gravel prairie remnants.
  • Explore a prairie restoration/reconstruction. Take a look at the detail map to find them. Do you think you'll see any similarities or differences between a native prairie remnant and an area being restored?
  • Enjoy displays of purple coneflowers, lead plant, puccoon and blazing stars and many other prairie wildflowers.
  • Learn more about Cottonwood River Prairie SNAonline

Maps and directions

Accessing the SNA

  • Eastern access: From Springfield 3 miles west on US Hwy 14, then 3 miles south on Co Hwy 2. Turn west (staying on 2) and after 0.5 mile park on west, before bridge.
  • Western access: From Sanborn 0.65 mile east of US Hwy 71 on 110th St, then 0.5 mile south on 460th, then 0.25 mile east on 165th St. Park in pull-off on north.

Trails

  • This site has no maintained trails.

Facilities

  • The closest facilities (restrooms, food, etc.) are in Springfield and Sandborn.

Winter access

  • Use caution when parking on road shoulder.
Iona's Beach SNA
Beach and Lake Superior at Iona's Beach

Plan a visit to Iona's Beach SNA

Location of SNA in state

What to see

  • Check out this unique beach made up almost entirely of pink rhyolite cobblestones. When conditions are right the stones are tossed by the waves and fall with a sound some people compare to singing.
  • Experience Lake Superior, in all its moods. Note: this is one of only a handful of SNAs where swimming is allowed. That said, if you haven't swam in Lake Superior we have one word for you, "Brr!" There is no lifeguard on duty. Swim at your own risk.
  • Hike up the basalt rock outcrop to get a compelling view of the beach and big lake.
  • Learn more about Iona's Beach SNA online

Maps and directions

Accessing the SNA

  • From Gooseberry Falls State Park, 3.1 miles north on MN Hwy 61. Park in the Twin Points Protected Access  lot on east. Hike northeast on Gitchi Gami State Trail then follow signs to site.

Trails

  • This site has no maintained trails.
  • The Gitchi Gami State Trail follows the northwestern boundary of the SNA. You can hike and bike on this trail.

Facilities

  • Seasonal restrooms are available at the water access. The closest year-round restrooms are in Gooseberry Falls State Park or Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.

Winter access

  • Lot may not be plowed in winter.
Itasca Wilderness Sanctuary SNA
Old growth pine at Itasca Wilderness Sanctuary

Plan a visit to Itasca Wilderness Sanctuary SNA

Location of SNA in state

What to see

  • See a fine example of Great Lakes Pine Forest in north-central Minnesota. Hardwood forests, peatlands, wet meadows, and marshes that add to the diversity here.
  • Drive the paved Wilderness Drive (scenic 10 mile one-way for cars and bikes) on west and south boundary of SNA.
  • Hike Bohall Wilderness Trail though pine forest to an overlook at Bohall Lake. You may see trumpeter swans on the Lake during their spring/summer nesting season.
  • You'll be within Itasca State Park, with access to many amenities including camping and lodging.
  • Learn more about Itasca Wilderness Sanctuary SNA online

Maps and directions

Accessing the SNA

Trails

  • Landmark Trail – A half mile loop on the northern edge of the SNA.
  • Bohall Wilderness Trailhead – A half mile out to Bohall Lake though the heart of the SNA.
  • Big Pine Trail – A short (800 feet) hike into the southern end of the SNA.

Facilities

  • The Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Visitor Center, at the starting point for the Wilderness Drive and the Mississippi River, offers restrooms, a café, interpretive displays and gift shop.

Winter access

  • Wilderness Drive has limited vehicle access during the winter, and it is not plowed. The best access may be by snowshoe or skis.
La Salle Lake SNA
Fall in La Salle Lake

Plan a visit to La Salle Lake SNA

Location of SNA in state

What to see

  • See where LaSalle Creek joins the young Mississippi River.
  • Contemplate succession (natural change of plant communities over time) in action. A 2012 windstorm toppled most of the mature jack pine woodland once found here. What will replace it? Time will tell.
  • Peek through, then walk though the tall fence constructed to keep out deer. Deer were eating young jack pine in winter when food is scarce. The fence was built to give the young pines a chance to grow.
  • You'll be next to the La Salle Lake State Recreation Area, with access to amenities including camping and lodging.
  • Learn more about La Salle Lake SNA online

Maps and directions

Accessing the SNA

  • From Becida 4.5 miles west on Co Hwy 9. Park in lot on north.

Trails

  • A hiking trail passes through site, see detail map.

Facilities

Winter access

  • Lot may not be plowed in winter.
Lost 40 SNA
Old growth pines at Lost 40

Plan a visit to Lost 40 SNA

Location of SNA in state

What to see

  • Be awed by this fine example of old-growth white pine-red pine forest in north-central Minnesota.
  • Can you detect the steep-sided peninsula upon which you hike? This esker was left during the late stage of the last glacial period and is now surrounded on three sides by wetlands.
  • Hike the interpretive trail loops with informational signs to find out how this area was "lost" and what you can find there today.
  • Learn more about Lost 40 SNA online

Maps and directions

Accessing the SNA

  • From Alvwood, 11 miles east on Co Hwy 29, then 2 miles north on Co Hwy 26, then 0.8 mile west on Forest Rd 2240 (Lost 40 Rd). Parking in lot on south.
  • Note: Lost 40 Road (Forest Road 2240), the parking area, and trailhead are administered and maintained by the US Forest Service.

Trails

  • Interpretive hiking trail loops pass through site, see detail map.

Facilities

  • A seasonal vault toilet is located in the parking area. The closest year-round facilities (restrooms, food, etc.) are in Northome.

Winter access

  • For winter road/parking conditions, call the Chippewa National Forest ranger station at 218-835-4291.
Mille Lacs Moraine SNA
Fall lakeshore at Mille Lacs Moraine

Plan a visit to Mille Lacs Moraine SNA

Location of SNA in state

What to see

  • Use all your senses to take in this 318 acre SNA that sits within a nearly 28,000 acre site of outstanding biological diversity.
  • Explore undeveloped lakeshore, wetlands, and mature hardwood forests.
  • Get your bird on! This is an excellent stop for birders to find a variety of species, notably those requiring large tracts of intact forest.
  • Learn more about Mille Lacs Moraine SNA online

Maps and directions

Accessing the SNA

  • From Garrison 1.6 miles south on US Hwy 169. Then 1.5 miles west on Co Rd 26. Park along South Tower Rd shoulder. Hike past gate (do not block) 0.5 mile north and west along maintained road to fire #8356. Then hike 0.13 mile north on unmaintained road to SNA boundary gate.

Trails

  • This site has no maintained trails. There are, however, abandoned (unmaintained) forest roads through the site.

Facilities

  • The closest facilities (restrooms, food, etc.) are in Garrison.

Winter access

  • Parking and access road may not be plowed in the winter. The best access may be by snowshoe or skis.
Minnesota Point Pine Forest SNA
Sitting on beach looking over Lake Superior at Minnesota Point Pine Forest

Plan a visit to Minnesota Point Pine Forest SNA

Location of SNA in state

What to see

  • Find contrasting landscapes. Enter the shady old-growth pine woodland, where many of the red and white pines are 120 to 200 years old. Then step out into the open beach/dune communities and its expansive views of Lake Superior and the Twin Ports.
  • Check out this hotspot for migrating birds. This is a great a place for birdwatching in the spring and fall.
  • Experience Lake Superior, in all its moods.
  • Learn more about Minnesota Point Pine Forest SNA online

Maps and directions

Accessing the SNA

  • In Duluth, from I-35 4.8 miles southeast on Lake Ave (becomes Minnesota Ave after aerial lift bridge). Park in public lot on west just before Sky Harbor Seaplane Base. Hike trail northeast of hangars and runway 0.75 mile to site.

Trails

  • The Park Point Hiking Trail goes through this site, see detail map.

Facilities

  • Recreational facilities and seasonal restrooms available 0.5 miles northwest of the parking area at the Park Point park.

Winter access

  • Lot near airport is plowed in winter.
Mound Spring Prairie SNA
Summer storm at Mound Spring Prairie

Plan a visit to Mound Spring Prairie SNA

Location of SNA in state

What to see

  • See one of the largest remaining prairie complexes on the Prairie Coteau of southwestern Minnesota.
  • Seek out the over 200 native wildflowers and grasses documented at this SNA. Which ones will you see?
  • Hike up, then hike down (or the reverse works too)! The hilly terrain, formed during the late Wisconsinan glaciation, makes for particularly scenic hiking.
  • Learn more about Mound Spring Prairie SNA online

Maps and directions

Accessing the SNA

  • South access: From Gary, South Dakota 1.5 mile east on MN Co Rd 4, then 3 miles south on Co Rd 15, 0.5 mile west on Co Rd E3, then 0.4 mile south on 115th St. Park in pull-off on east.
  • North access: From Gary, South Dakota 0.5 mile east on MN Co Rd 4, then 1 mile south on 110th St, then 0.4 mile west on 260th St. Park on south road shoulder.

Trails

  • This site has no maintained trails.

Facilities

  • The closest facilities (restrooms, food, etc.) are in Gary, SD.

Winter access

  • Use caution when parking on road shoulder.
Pine Bend Bluffs SNA
Eagle in white pine at Pine Bend Bluffs

Plan a visit to Pine Bend Bluffs SNA

Location of SNA in state

What to see

  • Find stunning views from the top of 200 foot bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River.
  • See mosaic of habitats here including mesic oak forests, complemented by stands of white pine on north-facing slopes, dry prairies on south- and east-facing bluffs, and prairie restorations.
  • Binoculars up! Raptors, including bald eagles, are frequently found soaring overhead at bluff top overlooks.
  • Learn more about Pine Bend Bluffs SNA online

Maps and directions

Accessing the SNA

  • In Inver Grove Heights from US Hwy 52, exit at 117th St, then 0.8 mile north on Courthouse Blvd (frontage road), then 0.2 mi east on 111th St. Park in lot on south.

Trails

Facilities

  • Parking area is also the trailhead for the Mississippi River Regional Trail, which includes restroom facilities.

Winter access

  • Lot is plowed in winter.
Prairie Coteau SNA
Hills in the fall at Prairie Coteau

Plan a visit to Prairie Coteau SNA

Location of SNA in state

What to see

  • Enjoy the high quality dry hill prairie, mesic prairie, and wet prairie occur here, you can also hike from the ridgetops to the valley bottoms to experience them all.
  • Seek out the over 200 native wildflowers and grasses that blanket Prairie Coteau. How many will you see?
  • Come see what the buzz is all about. A multitude of insects makes their home in prairie habitat here, notably bees and butterflies.
  • Learn more about Prairie Coteau SNA online

Maps and directions

Accessing the SNA

  • From Pipestone 10 miles northeast on MN Hwy 23. Park in lot on west, across railroad grade.
  • Northwest access: From Pipestone 10 miles northeast on MN Hwy 23, then 0.5 mile west on Co Rd 81 (181st St), then 1 mile north on Co Rd 80 (150th Ave), then 0.5 mile east on 191th St. Park at dead end.

Trails

  • This site has no maintained trails.

Facilities

  • The closest facilities (restrooms, food, etc.) are in Pipestone.

Winter access

  • Lot may not be plowed in winter. Use caution when parking on road shoulder.
Quarry Park SNA
Bedrock outcrops at Quarry Park

Plan a visit to Quarry Park SNA

Location of SNA in state

What to see

  • Explore what has been described as central Minnesota's best example of granite bedrock outcrop.
  • Contemplate the origin of this granite some 1.9 million years ago.
  • Hike the trail loops through the SNA to encounter large expanses of quality oak woodland and oak forest. Common buckthorn is a growing threat here, unfortunately.
  • Learn more about Quarry Park SNA online

Maps and directions

Accessing the SNA

  • In Waite Park, from MN Hwy 23 0.65 mile south on 10th Ave, then 0.75 mile west on Co Rd 137 (7th St). Park in lot on south for Quarry Park (fee required). Hike trails south through park and into site.

Trails

  • Hiking trails pass through this site, see detail map.

Facilities

  • Facilities available in the adjacent Quarry Park and Nature Preserve.

Winter access

  • Lot plowed in winter.
Wood-Rill SNA
Fall in Wood-Rill

Plan a visit to Wood-Rill SNA

Location of SNA in state

What to see

  • Wander the trails here and immerse yourself in this old-growth "Big Woods" forest.
  • Crane your head back to see to the tops of big trees such red oak, basswood, sugar maple and white oak, some over 350 years old.
  • With nearly 200 different plant species there is sure to be something to appeal to the plant lover in you.
  • Learn more about Wood-Rill SNA online

Maps and directions

Accessing the SNA

  • From downtown Long Lake 1.25 miles east on Wayzata Blvd, then continue 0.25 mile east on Old Long Lake Rd. Park in lot on south. Hike east along road to trails.

Trails

Facilities

  • The closest facilities (restrooms, food, etc.) are in Long Lake.

Winter access

  • Lot may not be plowed in winter.

 

Hungry for more? There are over 160 SNAs to explore online. Follow the SNA Facebook page and subscribe to the SNA newsletter to get more of Minnesota’s wild places.