Picturesque limestone bluffs and deep ravines make Whitewater a very popular southeastern state park. The 2,700 acre park is an angler's paradise with brown, brook, and rainbow trout swimming in the spring-fed Whitewater River and Trout Run Creek. Visitors enjoy a sandy swimming beach, a year-round visitor center, easy-to-challenging hiking trails, camping, a group camp, and a modern group center. Come in the winter to enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and stay at the group center in rustic, winterized cabins. All through the year, discover the natural and human history of the area at one of the many interpretive programs, visitor center exhibits or self-guided trails.
Leon K. on Whitewater State Park Dakota Trails...
Like the trails, like the hike and scenery. Just beautiful.
You can find all classes of trails here, and the views are great. ,wz warning about the Elba Fire Tower hike is that if you get from the parking area to the tower top you have climbed over 500 feet so if you do it in 10 minutes you have good legs! It is still worth it if taken more slowly! I would allow an hour round trip.
If you want to use the app to record, be sure you download maps as cell service is bad except on ridgetop.In the valleys you may miss spots as even gps satellite coverage may have gaps depending on weather and phone and state of foliage.
One of the best MN state parks i've been to! Lots of great trails with lots of elevation change around the park and great places to picnic. Some areas of the trails may be slippery after a good rain or the spring thaw. Beware, there a few timber rattlesnakes in the park.
My favorite Minnesota State Park of all those I've visited. With perhaps a dozen Mn State Parks within an hour drive, that's not too shabby!
Great hiking with multiple elevation changes, scenic overlooks of the valley, creeks/streams and nice views of the countryside. For those who may not want such a strenuous hike, there is an out-n-back trail, Trout Run Creek trail which takes you near an old WWII internment camp.
As others state, few bugs.
I have hiked this park a couple times over the years and it remains one of my favorites for hiking because of the variety of loops to combine, the strenuous up/down nature of the trails, and the many great vistas. Well worth the trip and the camping is excellent if you choose to stay
Little to NO MOSQUITOES!! Inspiration Point is my favorite due to no signs of human activity and it truly feels untouched. The trail head actually starts along another cute little trail (Trout Run Creek) with 6 bridges (good for Pooh Sticks) that follows Whitewater River. The start is a long haul of stairs, but is totally worth it. At the top you are so close to the turkey vultures flying overhead and can either turn back down or continue North towards Chimney Rock. The trail is relatively flat, but there are clearly different sections of the trail with different types of trees and great views of the valley and the oxbow lake.
Chimney Rock was so cool! Because it is Oneota Dolomite, it is like Swiss Cheese and has a bunch of holes that were created due to chemical weathering and some of the holes have created short tunnels through the rock that you can crawl through to the other side!! At the top of the peaks you can stand on the Shakopee Formation and see the ripple marks on the Dolomite where MN used to be under a tropical, shallow see (geology major, so this stuff excites me).
The Dakota Trail head is fabulous! Bring a flashlight for the small cave because you don't want to surprise a Timber Rattlesnake. The trail was nice and leads to a fork where you can take Coyote Trail up the bluffs to a beautiful prairie and back down to the Visitor Center or take a valley trail down to the park's Meadow. Eagle Point is a short hike (5 min up) with stairs, but once up, there is a variety of loops to choose from (short or long).
The park is beautiful, the geology is amazing, and the staff are awesome! Great for fishing and there is a beach! The trail maps are useful and it is hard to get lost.
One more trail just north of the park near the town of Elba is the Elba Fire Tower. The trail and tower climb takes 10-15 min to hike up (on ave.), but it is worth it! The view is sooo high and serves as a perfect panorama!
I've hiked these trails several times through the years and it never gets old. There are several trails to go on, so choose the level that fits your desires or physical abilities. Check in with the Park office for maps or go online here: http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/maps/state_parks/spk00280.pdf for a general overview. Some of the extended trails are occasionally shown as closed, but I disregard that and continue on. The park service sometimes doesn't have the funds or manpower to keep all the trails cleared and maintained, but they are usually passable or you can find an alternate way around fallen trees etc. You'll love some of the views from overhanging rocks of the outer edge of bluffs. Enjoy!!
Sara B. on Whitewater State Park Dakota Trails...
This would be a great place to come for fall colors. There are a lot of steep hills, some with stairs, some without, so be prepared. There are lots of great overlooks and rock formations.