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Pipestone National Monument Loop

Pipestone, Minnesota

based on 2 reviews



0.73 miles

Elevation Gain

59 ft

Route Type



Added by Michael Wigle

Driving across the prairie on I-90 can be long and relatively eventless. When you're ready to get out of the summer heat and cool off, there is a short hike that winds through native plants and natural rock formations in Pipestone. The Plains Peoples have come here for thousands of years to meditate and cool off next to the fast flowing creek. 

Near the border of South Dakota in Minnesota, 30 minutes north of I-90 on County Route 23 or State Route 75 is the historic town of Pipestone. From the center of town heading north on Hiawatha Avenue is the entrance into Pipestone National Monument. Entrance into the monument is free, but may be subject to change (nps.gov).

From the parking lot is the 3/4 mile long loop that gently walks through prairie, rock outcroppings, summa fields, and a stream bed. The trail is paved, and appropriate for wheel chair access. The air is cooler along the shaded red quartzite rock walls where ferns grow in the middle of summer. Tobacco ties from native prayers line the trails and fields from pilgrims. Almost a half mile in, is the 25 foot tall Winnewissa Falls. This is the perfect place to sit and cool off in the cold mist. When you're done, follow the loop around back to the visitor center.

Before leaving town, check out the Historic Calumet Inn for a whiskey while soaking in its western atmosphere.

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I’ve visited in the winter and summer and enjoyed each in its own way. Since it is a smaller trail it can get overcrowded in the summer. Even though it was colder in the winter there were still a ton of deer and the frozen waterfall is not to miss.

Growing up my parents would bring me here every time we went back to Minnesota for a visit. I always enjoyed looking through the exhibits then walking the trail. My favorite part was looking for the faces in the rocks and walking down by the waterfall.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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