Western Tour – Weekend Itinerary

Lac qui Parle

Highlights:

  • Lake Time
  • Sibley State Park
  • Monson Lake State Park
  • Lac qui Parle State Park

Great for:

  • Hiking
  • Families
  • Paddling

Overview

Head to the western border of Minnesota and explore three state parks.

Day One: Arrival

5 p.m.  Arrive at Lac qui Parle State Park and stay overnight.

Reservations for Lac qui Parle State Park

The park offers several opportunities for overnight stays. Within the campground there are heated camper cabins, electric and non-electric campsites, equestrian camp, and a group camp. Make a reservation!

Park at the Park Office and check in for camping and park information

Relax by the fire

  • After you unpack, start a campfire and get cooking! There are many tips and tricks for making a memorable outdoor meal. Though one of the best tips is always finishing with s’mores!
  • Go for an evening hike to walk off the meal. Whether you’re staying in the Upper or Lower campgrounds, there’s short hiking routes perfect for a late evening stroll.
  • Attend a night program or play cards by the fire.

Day Two: Morning

Visit the Map Shelter

On your way to or from the beach, stop by the Map Shelter! This interactive display has a three dimension map of the park and interactive displays that will teach you all about the park and surrounding area.

The rocky shore of Lac qui Parle Lake

Head to the beach

Head over to Lac qui Parle’s beautiful beach for a relaxing walk. Take a dip if you’re feeling like a morning swim! Or enjoy the beautiful views the lake has to offer.

Short stop options:  

  • Visit the scenic overlook for stunning views of the lake. 
  • Take a quick hike around the Lower campground.
  • Explore the Visitor Center to see the wildlife interactive displays and shop the Nature Store.

Longer stop option:

Other things to do:

  • Check out the US Army Corps of Engineers Federal Dam and Recreation Area on the southern border of the park. This area is not part of the state park and doesn’t require a permit to use.
  • Kayak through the Minnesota or Lac qui Parle Rivers near the south of Lac qui Parle Lake.

Come back again:

  • Visit during the winter to eagle watch.
  • There are great snowshoe trails the winter.

Day Two: Afternoon

Monson Lake

Depart for Monson Lake State Park

Travel east from Lac qui Parle State Park for 50 miles to reach Monson Lake (approximately 1 hour).

Route Suggestion

  • Take 140th St NW and 135th St NW to MN-40 W in St. Johns Township
  • Take MN-40 W to 140th Ave NW in Kragero Township
  • Follow 140th Ave NW to the park

Monson Lake picnic shelter

Head to the picnic area for lunch

Eat your lunch while enjoying some history: the picnic shelter was built by the Veterans Conservation Corps in the 1930s. This area also includes a large lawn perfect for field games, throwing a Frisbee, or taking in the sun.

Take a hike

After enjoying your outdoor meal, take a quick hike on Monson Lake State Park’s trails. There are 1.2 miles of trials providing beautiful views of Monson Lake and West Sunburg Lake. Many portions of the trail pass through woodland, giving you a perfect opportunity to spot some wildlife.

Short stop options:  

  • Stop in to see the Broberg Cabin Historical Site. 

Longer stop option:

  • Take a canoe or kayak out onto Monson Lake. You can paddle around the lake or portage over to West Sunburg Lake for more exploring. 
  • Borrow a free birding kit and see if you can spot some of the seasonal birds. 
  • Explore the Lac qui Parle Mission Historical Site where the first Dakota dictionary, grammar, and gospel were completed. 

Depart for Sibley State Park

Head back to your car and drive over to Sibley State Park (approximately 20 minutes).

Route Suggestion

  • Head east on 170th Ave NE
  • Turn right onto State Highway 9 S
  • Turn right onto 5th St NW

Park at the Park Office and check in for camping and park information

Stop at park office for campground registration, vehicle permits, maps, and to visit the park's Nature Store.

Sibley State Park interpretive center

Visit the Interpretive Center

After unpacking, hike over to the Visitor Center and check out the interpretive exhibits! The exhibit rooms feature the wetlands, geology, and terrestrial features of the park. This center also offers great views of the park on its deck. There is a telescope you can use to peek at the pelicans, loons, bluebirds, and other wild inhabitants of the park. You can also see if there are any events happening that night you would want to attend.

Day Three: Morning

Sibley State Park interpretive center

Have a beach day

Spend your morning relaxing on the sandy shores of Lake Andrew. There are plenty of lakeside adventures you can have! Take a dip in the lake, rent a canoe or kayak for paddling, play some volleyball, head over to one of the docks and fish, or visit the gift shop for some ice cream.
Pack a picnic to enjoy in the Cedar Hill Picnic Area.

Short stop options:  

  • Take a quick bike ride on the paved trails. 
  • Hike the Pondview Interpretive Trail Loop. 

Longer stop option:

  • Hike the Mountain Tom Trail and get a stunning 360 degree view of the park. 
  • Take a paddling trip and portage to the various lakes nearby. The portages range from 600-1850 feet and can get you to Middle Lake, Henchien Lake, and Swan Lake. 
  • Borrow a GPS kit and try your hand at finding a geocahce.

Other things to do:

  • Go golfing at the Little Crow Country Club». The course is 5 miles south east of the park.
  • Take a mini lake road trip and visit Norway Lake, Games Lake, and Bear Lake-all within 5 miles of the park!

Come back again:

  • Visit in the winter for some great sledding hills.
  • Hike up Mountain Tom Trail in the fall to see some breathtaking fall colors.

Day Three: Afternoon-Depart for Home