By Jim Umhoefer
Jackson County. 9 miles northeast of Lakefield. The park entrance is 5 miles east of Highway 86 on County 24. Highway map index: F-21.
Kilen Woods State Park is attractive to families because of its day-use activities. Picnics are always popular in the green, shaded picnic area. Kids like the field by the parking lot for ball games. Another favorite with children (and their curious parents) is the small interpretive center in the enclosed picnic shelter building. Looking, touching and questioning are encouraged here, where you can feel the texture of beaver and fox pelts or examine the skulls of deer, wolf and cougar. The room is stuffed full of antlers, fish, duck wings, native prairie grasses and more.
The Rock Creek Trail follows the Des Moines River for most of its route through the park. To get a good view of the river, climb up to the Dinosaur Ridge Overlook. These bluffs are about 150 feet high and continue to flank the river to Jackson. You can also get a broad view of the river valley from the lookout tower near the picnic area. Read more: