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Kilen Woods State Park

By Jim Umhoefer
Kilen Woods State Park is attractive to families because of its day-use activities. Picnics are always popular in the green, shaded picnic area. Although this region is full of pioneer lore, it also has an even richer Native American heritage. Near Jeffers, north of Windom are the Jeffers Petroglyphs, a collection of ancient Indian rock carvings surrounded by native prairie. An interpretive center, administered by Minnesota Historical Society, focuses on the carvings and the prairie landscape.
Kilen Woods State Park is located 9 miles northeast of Lakefield in Minnesota’s Jackson County.

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Kilen Woods State Park is located 9 miles northeast of Lakefield in Minnesota’s Jackson County

Kilen Woods State Park is located 9 miles northeast of Lakefield in Minnesota’s Jackson County

Read more here:
Trails
Kilen Woods has a total of five miles of hiking trails. 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.
From the Sioux Trail, you can see how the creeks have cut U-shaped valleys into the prairie and savanna to reach the river. To the west and south of the park is the “Coteau des Prairies” (Slope of the Prairies) that influences the flow of water. Water on the eastern slope, like the Des Moines River, flows into the Mississippi River, while water on the western side flows into the Missouri River.
Camping
The park’s campground is small with its 33 sites, but rarely crowded. Just downhill from the campground are four wooded walk-in sites that are about 100 yards from a hilltop parking area.
Winter
The park is open to exploration by snowshoeing, but no groomed trails are available. A warming house with fireplace is available in the trail center.

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