The bison herd at Minneopa State Park is part of the Minnesota Bison Conservation Herd, which is managed to protect wild bison and preserve their genetic diversity.
Bison need grass to eat. Based on the quality and quantity of grass that grows in the approximately 325-acre bison range, this park can sustain a herd of between 30 and 40 animals. One day each fall the bison are given a health checkup, and some are selected for auction to keep the population sustainable.
There is only one adult bull (male) in this herd. He came from Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, which helped add genetic diversity to the herd. Every few years we bring in a new bull from a different herd.
Bison Drive Road
Visitors drive their own vehicles through the range and can enjoy pre-recorded interpretive information over their vehicle radios. Please be sure to exit the bison range before the posted closing times.
Current Bison Drive Road hours
Open 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., every day of the week except Wednesdays, when we close the road for maintenance.
Bison viewing tips and rules
- The bison are free to roam about 325 acres, so they may be difficult to spot at times. Keep a watchful eye as you drive through the range, and take advantage of the Seppmann Mill Overlook to help spot them.
- Remain inside your vehicle at all times while within the bison range.
- Bison can be dangerous animals, especially when calves are present. Always give bison clearance of at least 75 feet.
- Respect the bison fence, do not climb or pull on fence wires.
- Bison get nervous around loud noises or lots of activity. Keep your voices down and movements to a minimum to help keep the bison within easy viewing.
- Hiking is not allowed inside the range, but there are hiking trails all the way around the outside of the range. Pets must be kept on a leash at all times.
About the Bison Ambassadors
Bison Ambassadors are volunteers who play an important role in helping the public better understand the purpose behind the Minnesota Bison Conservation Herd and how to view these animals in a safe manner. Bison Ambassadors help park staff and answer visitor questions. They work two-hour shifts on weekends from April through October, or when needed for special events and programs. Talk to park staff if you are interested in becoming a Bison Ambassador!
The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) funded road improvements, wetland restorations to provide water for the bison, interpretive exhibits and a corral.
Other resources including revenue from state park operations and Legacy Amendment funds help to support interpretation, outreach, and natural resource projects.