Welcome to the Kilen Woods State Park virtual tour! This lovely park along the Des Moines River provides ample opportunities for camping, canoeing, fishing, picnicking and hiking. We hope it prompts you to visit the park in person sometime soon.
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Nature Trails Sign
Welcome to Kilen Woods State Park! Begin a day of adventure on park trails that wind past small creeks, prairie grasslands, and oak savannas. Located along the Des Moines River, this park offers many opportunities for camping, hiking, canoeing, fishing, and picnicking during your stay.
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The Chalet is a popular spot for family reunions, school fieldtrips, and scout expeditions. A glowing wood interior and numerous picnic tables give you plenty of space to spread out. Amenities such as a fire place, electric outlets, and ceiling fans make this a great place to take refuge from the weather during any season.
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The park’s amphitheater is a local favorite for weddings in late August and September. With bench seating for up to 150 people and nearby electricity, this is a great spot for any event. Contact the park office for information about reserving the amphitheater.
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Pack a picnic lunch and stay awhile. Enjoy the use of a shelter or several picnic tables in the shade as you watch wildlife from this scenic location. This is a wonderful spot for groups to gather during the day and take advantage of everything the park has to offer.
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Beyond this trail intersection, some of the most unique terrain in the park awaits you. The Meadow Trail Loop features a wildflower carpet in spring, cool shade in summer, and brilliant colors in fall. You may also encounter one of the nine footbridges located throughout the five miles of hiking trails in Kilen Woods State Park.
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Class I Rapids
A Class I Rapids on the Des Moines River can be found within park boundaries and is a favorite among kayakers and canoeists. Water levels vary throughout the year, and the rapids are most impressive when water levels are up. Paddlers should be watchful for hazardous large rocks and changing currents.
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Four walk-in campsites are located on the east side of Loop B in the campground. These sites offer campers a rustic camping experience and a quiet, peaceful stay. Tall trees shade the picnic table and fire ring found in each of these sites.
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Loop B of the park’s campground offers eleven electric and eight non-electric sites. One of the most sought after sites in the park is 20E, overlooking the Des Moines River Valley, an oak savanna, and numerous wildflowers. This seasonal campground offers shade and wide open spaces.
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This non-electric campground loop can accommodate both campers and tents. There are 13 sites, all within a short walking distance of the modern restroom/shower building. This seasonal campground offers you a variety of campsites to choose from, including: wooded, open, and sites that overlook the prairie.
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Want to take a break? This resting bench is a great place to take in stunning views of the park’s gently rolling landscape. Looking to the east, you can see naturally occurring prairie and oak savanna valleys leading to the Des Moines River. A nearby interpretive sign helps you discover the area’s native prairie plants.
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Prairie Bush Clover
Located inside park boundaries is the Prairie Bush Clover Scientific and Natural Area (SNA), home to the rare prairie bush clover. This is a wonderful spot to find rare plant species and delicious wild raspberries, abundant throughout the valley. A mowed trail provides access to the area.
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This fen is a unique feature in the landscape where water seeps out of the hillside and creates a distinct microhabitat. Although hard to get to, a trip to the fen will reward you with sightings of unusual grasses and rare wildflowers. The fen is especially photo-worthy in the fall when colors are most vibrant.
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Des Moines Overlook
Des Moines Overlook is a prominent feature in the park. Located along the tallest bluffs of the Des Moines River, this wooden overlook offers visitors excellent views of the southwestern Minnesota landscape. Remember a bottle of water for the hike; the terrain can be a challenge for some.
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Oak Savanna to Prairie
Along the Oak Trail, you will experience a naturally occurring oak savanna bordering the prairie. Hikers will experience both shade and views of the tall grass prairie along this trail.
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Canoe Rest Area/ Campsite
A canoe rest area/campsite is located just downstream from the park’s Class I Rapids. Complete with a fire ring, picnic table, and pit toilet, this is a great spot for paddlers to stop and rest. Tall trees shade this site which offers lovely views of the Des Moines River. Paddlers should notify park staff before camping at this site.