Top Stops at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Climb the observation tower

A photo of the fire tower, which sits atop the Mille Lacs Moraine.Originally in service as a fire tower near Isle, Minn., this 100-foot tower was moved to the park in 1981. The tower sits atop one of the highest hills on the Mille Lacs Moraine, a glacial ridge that forms the natural dam holding Mille Lacs Lake. If you climb the stairway to the top, spectacular views await!

Stay overnight in a cozy camper cabin

Photo of a child on the top bunk of a camper cabin within the park.The park has five camper cabins that are available year-round and can sleep up to six people. Each cabin has heat and electricity, and one cabin is wheelchair accessible. Each cabin has its own outdoor picnic table and fire ring for cooking, as well as a table and chairs inside - perfect for enjoying a meal with family or friends on a cool Minnesota evening.

Stretch your legs on a choice of hikes

Photo of a trail display along a shady hiking trail.Thirty-five miles of trails wind throughout the park. These wooded trails will take you exploring near the Rum River and over to Mille Lacs Lake. Two self-guided trails highlight natural features and archaeological sites. Take a peek at the kiosk at the trailhead to find trails geared toward your timeframe.

Slice through the snow on a pair of skis

Photo of a ski trail in the state park.Mille Lacs Kathio is truly a “winter wonderland.” The 10,500-acre park has 20 miles of cross-country ski trails. The varied terrain offers easy “flatland” routes through the valley of the Rum River headwaters, as well as challenging “black diamond” trails traversing the hills of the Mille Lacs Moraine. Skis are available at the park office for $10 a day. There are 6.5 miles of marked snowshoe trails in the park as well, and you can rent snowshoes for $6 a day.

Catch a program / Visit the Interpretive Center

Photo of the interior of the park's interpretive center.In the Kathio Interpretive Center you’ll find displays highlighting the natural and human history of the park. The park has been named a National Historic Landmark due to the many significant archaeological sites. Replicas of artifacts unearthed in archaeological excavations illustrate thousands of years of people interacting with the landscape.

  • For additional information about archaeology at the park, see the Petaga Point Archaeological Site booklet or the Traditional and High-Tech Archaeology at Petaga Point article .

Warm up!

Photo of a group of young skiiers gathering for winter adventure on the park trails.Mille Lacs Kathio State Park’s Trail Center serves as a winter warming house, a location for meetings, weddings and family gatherings, as well as an indoor “trailhead” for riders heading out on the park’s 20 miles of horseback trails. The heated building has flush toilets and running water, as well as several picnic tables. There’s even a small sledding hill right outside. The space is great for family, school or scout group gatherings.

Back to top