Whitewater State Park Dakota Trails Loop

MODERATE 60 reviews
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Whitewater State Park Dakota Trails Loop is a 3.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Altura, Minnesota that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

3.9 miles
1,033 feet

dogs on leash

kid friendly



trail running












The blufflands of southeastern Minnesota are are well represented by Whitewater State Park with its dolomite cliffs, trout streams, and hardwood forests.

28 days ago

Trail is maintained well, episodic nice views of the river. A bit muddy in places, only because hiking .after several days of rain.

1 month ago

It was a hot and muggy day at Whitewater State Park, but my sister and I really enjoyed our first visit here! Hiked the Chimney Rock Trail to Inspiration Point, and then we did the Trout Run Creek Trail. The one by the creek was especially nice because of a refreshing breeze coming off the water. Terrain on Chimney Rock to Inspiration Point was definitely more than “moderate”!

1 month ago

loved this hike - for those looking for some moderate elevation gain. this one is challenging in places - there is some fairly steep grades and exposure. wear good boots. i had trek poles which helped as well. we did this hike in reverse. the stairs along the main road entry point is the standard entry. you can enter it in reverse as well. whitewater state park is a treasure unbeknownst to many native minnesotans. make a day trip! such incredible panoramas.

2 months ago

Fun trail. Not too difficult, but there are sections that are tricky. One of the better in the area

2 months ago

Very beautiful! a hidden treasure of a park in the middle of farmland. I would consider some of these trails as HARD due to how steep sections are, definitely had to crawl with all fours because it was that rocky and steep. Got pretty winded too.

5 months ago

Love this place for hiking. Unfortunately, people don't realize how beautiful their parks are, or never visit them.

8 months ago

On the hiking club trails, I would say this is a HARD trail, the elevation changes are steep. It’s a great great hike and a ton of fun but not sure I would say moderate. Still an all out beautiful and fun day even in the middle of November!

9 months ago

Great trail if you're looking for a good workout. Steep and rocky, but beautiful.

10 months ago

Great park. Excellent sights and scenery. Very worth the trip.

11 months ago

Great trails with amazing views. trails were clean.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Coyote Point was a great hike with SPECTACULAR views!!

trail running
Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Used to live along the Appalachian mountains, jogging here makes me feel like there's some elevation still in the Minnesota area. Some technical sections, but overall can get some nice hill repeats in. Beautiful views.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

It was a great experience! My dad and I walked every trail with my dog in only a few days! When we were there mid July and the mosquitoes were very mild. If you love going off trail on more of a rugged terrain, this is for you. Many cliffs to look over, and beautiful tree line landscape. I also highly recommend seeing the Elba Fire Tower! A lot of stairs but the view is worth it!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Very impressed! Fun and technical for this newby trail runner. Lots of spectacular views.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Beautiful moderate hike. Great one to bring the dog with for. From the Gift shop go up many steep stairs, but... once you get to the top it's totally worth the view and gets much easier.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The best hike I've done thus far! Loved every peak, loved the lack of mosquitos, loved everything!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Great place to camp. No mosquitos due to the bats that live in the bluffs. Make reservations early to get a good spot.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Great place to camp and hike, call in advance for camping spot!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Like the trails, like the hike and scenery. Just beautiful.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

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.

mountain biking
Wednesday, April 29, 2015

This is a beautiful park. Bike it, hike it, drive it and just plain relax. It has been about 5 years but I still remember how much I loved this place. Actually spent about three days here.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

We went to hike and found a fun trail with plenty of trails. we could not start alltrail recorder because park is in valley with no cell towers but it is worth going to even though you can't record it.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

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.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

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.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

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

Saturday, July 19, 2014

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!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

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!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

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.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

great place

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Pretty hike along the bluffs. Nice views of river down below.

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