Hike "The Mound" at Blue Mounds State Park

Minnesota Lower Cliffline Trailhead

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Groups
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

100 ft tall Sioux quartzite cliff. 1,500 acres of prairie and grassland. 500-acre bison preserve. Rock climbing and hiking opportunities abound. 3-mile loop. Elevation gain is 100 feet (prairie to top of The Mound).

The badlands of South Dakota meet the prairies of Minnesota in Blue Mounds State Park.

Located in the extreme southwestern corner of Minnesota, Blue Mounds is one of the largest prairie parks in the state. A majority of the 1,500 acres of grassland sits atop a massive outcrop of Sioux quartzite rock known as "The Mound." Its cliffline rises gently from the surrounding prairie, topping out at nearly 100 feet.

To get here, enter the park along U.S Highway 75. There is a small fee for a daypass ($5). Follow the main park road (Country Rd. 20) past the group and hike-in campsites and park in the small lot next to South Mound Creek Pool.

Pick up the trailhead for the Lower Cliffline Trail here and walk south for 1.5 miles through tall grasses and wildflowers. The cliffline will appear on your right, gradually at first, then rising high overhead. Hike or climb to the top for spectacular views of the surrounding farm fields and grasslands. While you're up there, keep an eye out for prickly pear cactus blooms growing out of the rock and hawks circling overhead.

Pick up the Mound Trail at the top of the rock and head north for approximately 1.5 miles to get back to the parking lot. Along the way, you'll pass by the 500-acre bison preserve situated in the middle of the park. The 100-head herd can be spotted taking dust baths near the fence early in the morning and late in the day.

Post-hike, drive to nearby Luverne for a drink at the new Take 16 Brewing Company. Their tap room is open for growler refills and sampling on Thursdays from 4-7pm.

Pack List

  • Daypack with hydration bladder - fill it up (there is very little shade in the park)
  • Light snack or lunch
  • Camera
  • Free trail map from the main office
  • Sturdy hiking shoes
  • Sunscreen
  • Wide-brim hat
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Reviews

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Great place to see Minnesota native grasslands and prairie. Camp grounds are very clean and the hiking trails are scenic for a prairie view.

10 months ago
10 months ago

Robin Pfeifer

An endlessly curious travel writer who simply cannot sit still.

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