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Split Rock Creek State Park

By Jim Umhoefer
Split Rock Lake, formed in 1938 by a dam on Split Rock Creek, is the only lake in Pipestone County and it attracts visitors from Iowa, South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota because of the water sports and park facilities. As Pipestone County’s largest body of water, the lake attracts aquatic birds, too. During spring and fall migrations, you’ll have a chance to observe almost every species of waterfowl found in the Midwest.

Split Rock Creek State Park is located 6 miles south of Pipestone just off the King of Trails Scenic Byway in Minnesota’s Pipestone County.

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The damming of Split Rock Creek created Split Rock Lake at Split Rock Creek State Park

The damming of Split Rock Creek created Split Rock Lake

Quartzite rock outcroppings near the dam at Split Rock Creek State Park

Quartzite rock outcroppings near the dam. The historic stone arch bridge in the background

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Trails
The 4.5-mile trail system in the 1,926-acre recreation area stretches along the lake’s western shoreline, linking the beach and picnic ground with the campground and other park facilities. One trail climbs a hilly slope that remains native prairie. All trails are shared with equestrians. An interpretive center on the hillside features exhibits relating to the prairie and other park resources.
Camping
Split Rock Creek’s well-shaded campground has 34 sites. The primitive group camp is available by reservation and has room for up to 75 people.
Park History
The Works Progress Administration (WPA) has left its mark on the area: The dam the park is named after, is constructed of locally quarried rock, Sioux Quartzite. Near the dam, the WPA also constructed a small highway bridge. It’s the only stone arch bridge open to traffic in the United States and is listed on National Register of Historic Places.

Quartzite rock outcroppings near the dam at Split Rock Creek State Park

Quartzite rock outcroppings near the dam. The historic stone arch bridge in the background

Winter
The lake offers winter fun at this park. Ice-skating is popular, and so is a riding toboggan down the sliding hill. Stop at the interpretive center/warming house for breaks. Snowshoeing is allowed throughout the park.

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