Minneopa State Park
The word Minneopa means “Water falling twice” in the Dakota language. The trademark of Minneopa State Park is a lovely set of two waterfalls that formed as Minneopa Creek cut into and eroded layers of sandstone at different rates. They plunge a total of 45 feet into the rocky gorge of Minneopa Creek in the Minnesota River Valley. The park’s other landmark is the historic Seppmann windmill, built of pasture stone and wood from surrounding groves.
Minneopa State Park is located three miles west of Mankato on the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway in Minnesota’s Blue Earth County.
You can hike 2.5 miles on gravel road through oak savanna to Seppman’s Windmill, though the total number of hiking trails is closer to 4.5 miles. For a good view of both falls, take the trail that starts from the large picnic area and crosses the creek between the falls on a footbridge. A short distance down from the bridge, an opening in the trees reveals a vista of the 15-foot upper falls and the 30-foot lower falls. The trail then drops into the deep gorge until it reaches stream level. You may either continue following the creek or cross over another bridge and circle back up to the picnic ground.
Bring your bicycle when you visit Minneopa State Park. The paved Minneopa Trail will take you into nearby Mankato where you’ll have access to an extensive system of bike trails, including the scenic Red Jacket Trail with its historic trestle bridges and the Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail all the way into Faribault.
Birdwatchers visit Minneopa State Park in the winter to observe the year-round residents as they hunt for food in the river valley. Snowshoeing is allowed throughout the park. There are no groomed ski trails.
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