Welcome to the Carley State Park virtual tour! Enjoy scenic views of the North Branch of the Whitewater River as it flows through the forested valley. Places to enjoy a picnic, camp or try a bit of fishing abound. We hope it prompts you to visit the park in person sometime soon.
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Nostalgic stepping stones span the North Branch of the Whitewater River and are a favorite among the children and trout fishermen and women who visit Carley State Park.
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A wooden overlook offers a scenic view of the North Branch of the Whitewater River as it flows through the forested valley below. Carley State Park has approximately six miles of trails that traverse a wide variety of scenery from valley floors to rock ridges.
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River Bluff – Glacial Remnants
The northwest to northeast facing cliffs in the park are home to a rare plant environment known as algific talus slopes. Here, a cold wet microclimate supports a northern plant community uncommon in southern Minnesota. Glacial remnant species, such as Canada yew, cling to existence in the cool microclimate of these slopes.
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River crossings, such as these concrete stepping blocks, allow visitors close access to the water where they may be lucky enough to observe trout surfacing for insects. The North Branch of the Whitewater River is a designated trout stream and provides habitat for brown trout.
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The picnic area is a popular gathering place for day use visitors. There is a large open field for groups to utilize, as well as a nearby playground that is accessible for families with young children. A picnic shelter and several picnic tables offer an excellent spot to enjoy a meal or simply to relax.
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Several picnic sites located in the shade along the river provide a lovely spot to rest.
Many of the park’s campsites have received upgrades including new camping pads that provide a smooth, level area for tent camping. Each of the 20 sites in the campground includes a picnic table and fire ring, with vault toilets located nearby.
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The group camp is a favorite among local scouts and other youth groups. The three group camp areas are located in remote, forested sections away from the main campground. Each group camp area offers several picnic tables, a fire ring, and plenty of room for tents. Vault toilets are located nearby.