Discover Itasca State Park - A Minnesota Northwoods Treasure
June 19, 2019
Itasca State Park is the oldest and most popular park in Minnesota. During your summer getaway in the Minnesota Northwoods, you’ll find the headwaters of the Mississippi River, 6,000 acres of old-growth pines, including the largest red pine and the largest white pine in the state, and miles of hiking and biking trails. The park is over 32,000 acres and has over 100 lakes.
Facilities at the park include the Headwaters History Center, Douglas Lodge and Museum, Gift Shop, and bike and boat rental outlets. There’s a variety of family friendly activities including weekly naturalist programs during the summer months, guided boat tours on Lake Itasca, the annual Ozawindib Walk (5K or 10K), the Headwaters 100 Bike Ride/Race, and other daily events.
The diversity of vegetation in the park supports many wildlife species. Birding is excellent, and visitors are encouraged to help spot the birds they see in the park. Some of the birds that reside in the park are loons, grebes, cormorants, herons, ducks, owls, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches, kinglets, vireos, tanagers, finches, and warblers. The trails in the park are shared with deer, chipmunks, and squirrels. You can also find beavers, porcupines, black bears, and wolves.
When exploring Itasca State Park, you won’t want to miss the Aiton Heights fire tower. Originally built by the MN Division of Forestry in the 1920s, it was moved to Itasca State Park in 1937 and assigned two roles: visitor education and fire detection.