Myre-Big Island State Park
This southern Minnesota State Park offers a variety of activities from biking and hiking to bird watching, canoeing and fishing and even features a namesake island with a campground to explore. Myre-Big Island State Park is located 3 miles southeast of Albert Lea in Minnesota’s Freeborn County.
The Esker Trail, in the northern end of the park, features part of the area’s glacial history. An esker is a long, narrow ridge of coarse gravel deposited by a stream flowing through a tunnel under stagnant ice. As the ice melted, the sinuous streambed remained. The retreating glacier left ice blocks that formed shallow lakes and marshes as they melted. What today is Albert Lea Lake was formed this way. The Great Marsh Trail is a favorite with bird watchers who come to observe waterfowl.
Some of the hiking trails are shared with mountain bikes and bikers can take the six-mile, paved Blazing Star State Trail into nearby Albert Lea.
The park maintains another campground, White Fox, on the mainland. It’s more open than the one on Big Island and has only about 30 sites If you’d like a private camping experience, backpack to one of the park’s four primitive sites, strung along the shoreline of a large peninsula just off one of the hiking trails.
For a less rustic experience, you can rent a seasonal camper cabin with room for five.