Welcome to the Beaver Creek Valley State Park virtual tour! Trails wind through limestone cliffs, offering a glimpse of geological time. The campsites and vistas within the park offer a pleasant experience for the traveler. We hope the tour prompts you to visit the park in person sometime soon.
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Beaver Creek Bridge
The bridge crossing over Beaver Creek is a common starting point for people visiting the park. Just off of the parking area, a swinging bridge provides a great view of the creek and its wildlife. Bright green patches of watercress are found throughout the creek.
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Beaver Creek Valley Trail
Huge bluffs line the trail and represent the unique geologic history of this area. Missed by the last set of glaciers that came through Minnesota, Beaver Creek Valley State Park lies in the driftless region of the state. These limestone bluffs are what remains from the glacial melt.
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Numerous bridges cross the creek as you hike along the trails in the park. These crossings provide an opportunity to cool down on a warm summer day or watch herons and muskrats feeding in the water.
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A small prairie lies nestled among the bluffs, giving hikers a chance to see what the area may have looked like before European settlers entered the region. Through restoration efforts such as prescribed burning and invasive species removal, rare and unique wildflowers have been able to make a return to the park landscape.
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Brown and native brook trout inhabit Beaver Creek and attract anglers who try their luck for these wary fish. Beaver Creek is not stocked with hatchery trout, but it maintains a good population of naturally reproducing fish.
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In addition to the numerous wildflowers that color the prairie throughout the camping season, several rare wildlife species also inhabit the park. Five-lined skinks make their home among the bluffland prairies and many species of birds, such as the Louisiana waterthrush, visit the park during migration.
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Quarry Trail Prairie
Bluffland prairies are one of the most diverse ecosystems in Minnesota. Due to rich areas of rare and unusual species, Beaver Creek Valley State Park is listed as a Natural State Park. The park’s unique bluffland prairies serve as research and study sites for university students and non-game wildlife staff.
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Quarry Trail Oak Savanna
Oak savannas were once commonplace throughout this region as prairies and woodlands met in these oak retreats. Prairie fires would keep these habitats clear of other trees and shrubs. The oaks also provide acorns for the many deer and turkey that live within the park boundaries.
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Visitors pass by the park office as they enter the park. Stop in with questions, to purchase park permits, or to checkout birding kits from the staff. During the winter, self-registration is available at the kiosk outside of the office if you wish to spend the day snowshoeing or hiking.
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The picnic area provides an enclosed shelter for groups wishing to stay dry on rainy days or open tables and fire rings in the sunshine. A light canopy of leaves provides shade for the multiple tables located throughout this area.
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During the winter, this picnic shelter is used as a warming house with a fireplace to warm up toes and fingers after a day out on the trails. The picnic shelter is also home to occasional interpretive programs held throughout the year.
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Just over the river and past the swinging bridge is a unique growth between two trees. Stop and get a picture with them or look for other unusual finds throughout the park.
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Parking - Playground
A playground area for children is located near the large parking lot on the edge of the campground. In addition to playground equipment, there is also a sand volleyball court available.
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Using a special concrete crossing, visitors drive through Beaver Creek to access the campground area. These water crossings are located throughout the campground and provide access to camping spots without changing the flow of the creek. The water is slow moving and depth depends on the season.
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If you are looking for comfort away from home, you may enjoy the park’s 42 drive-in campsites (16 of which are electric). A large sanitation building with showers is located within the campground and is open seasonally. Each site offer campers a picnic table and fire ring and most are bordered by tall shade trees.
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A single camper cabin sits next to Beaver Creek and offers privacy and comfort. The wooden cabin is heated and has electricity, but no running water or restroom. A ramp leads up to an enclosed porch perfect for use on a summer evening. The cabin is available on a seasonal basis. A nearby vault toilet is available to campers.
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Camper Cabin Interior
Warm and inviting, the interior of this camper cabin is well suited for a weekend getaway or a weeklong adventure with family or friends. After a full day of exploring the park, the cabin offers three twin beds and one full-sized bed for a good night’s rest.
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The history of this area once centered on Big Spring. Early farmers used the spring as a cooling system for their milk, cream, butter, and other farm goods. In the 1900s, families began to recreate around the entrance of the spring. Today, the spring helps maintain the high quality stream that trout depend on and wildlife need.
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Campers who like the peace and quiet will enjoy the park’s 26 non-electric sites. These individual sites were thoughtfully planned out to provide natural privacy to neighboring sites. A picnic table and fire ring are available at each site, and vault toilets can be found nearby.
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If you wish to get a little further off the beaten path, the park offers six cart-in campsites located at the end of the campground. A cart is provided to help bring camping gear to your cart-in campsite. These serene sites each contain a picnic table and fire ring, and vault toilets can be found nearby.
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Large family groups, clubs, and scouts also have a place within the park at three available group campsites. Space for tents, additional picnic tables, and nearby vault toilets are all provided for the needs of your group. Fire rings also allow you to sit around the campfire and enjoy time together.
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Hole-in-Rock Trail Prairie
Another small section of bluffland prairie presents rare wildflowers all season long. Taking hikes along the trail just weeks apart reveals displays of different flowers and colors. This section of trail is always ready to catch your eye with something new.
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Switch Back Trail Overlook
A quick hike up the bluff showcases another splendid view of the park. From the overlook on the Switch Back Trail, visitors can enjoy fall colors as they look down upon the red, gold, and yellow of lowland trees.