Adventure Report: Kensington Rune Stone Park

Jan 20, 2023Adventure Report, Skiing

Whether the Kensington runestone is a real artifact left behind by Viking explorers or an elaborate hoax, it changed Olof Öhman’s life and brought attention to the hamlet of Kensington, MN. At his farmstead about 15 miles southwest of Alexandria, the Swedish immigrant farmer claims to have found the slab of stone while clearing trees from a field one day in 1898. Its runic inscription, dated 1362, tells the tale of a fishing party returning to camp just to find 10 out of their 30-man crew “red of blood and dead.”

Today, the stone is displayed at the Rune Stone Museum within view of Big Ole, the 28-foot fiberglass mascot of Alexandria, MN in Douglas County. The Öhman farm site has become today’s Kensington Rune Stone Park and a hiking trail leads to the place where the stone was allegedly discovered. The park has a groomed eight-mile multi-use trail system for hiking, skiing, mountain and fatbiking, a sledding hill and a modern, heated trail center with interpretive displays. Recently, the Trails team gathered its own band of explorers in search of the truth, but only found a great day outside on well-groomed trails-without bloodshed.

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I’m Jan, the publisher of Minnesota Trails Magazine. I’m looking for that one trail, the next ride, a new discovery and other reasons never to sit still in Minnesota.

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