Whitewater State Park
Whitewater is southern Minnesota’s most popular state park and offers water sports for the whole family. The swimming pond with a guarded beach is usually the first destination for the kids. Parents like to relax in the sun on the big beach or cast a line for trout in one of the park’s creeks.
Whitewater State Park is located about 8 miles north of St. Charles in Minnesota’s Winona County.
Before hiking the park’s 10-mile trail system, stop at the Chimney Rock Geological Center and the new Whitewater Valley Visitor Center to gain some background on the area’s human and natural history.
Trails vary from easy river-valley walks to scenic ridge-top hikes involving steep climbs. The Meadow is a self-guiding nature trail through an area of big bluestem grass that hikers of all abilities enjoy.
Whitewater State Park features several trails that wind upward through dense woods and culminate in broad vistas. Chimney Rock, Ice Cave Point and Coyote Point are nearest the park’s core. Sound carries uphill so well that from the Chimney Rock Trail you’ll easily hear the sound of beachgoers down below.
As you hike toward Inspiration Point, however, the background roar of Trout Run Creek replaces the sound of human voices. Other trails overlook the Whitewater River Valley.
Camping and Lodging
Whitewater has a pair of semi-modern campgrounds with over 148 sites to handle the crowds and the absence of much standing water means mosquitos are a rare species to be spotted here.There are six walk-in sites off one of the loops in the main campground. Organizations can reserve one of three group camps or a group center with cabins, showers, kitchen and a dining hall.
Four year-round and one seasonal cabin have room for five to six each.
On many winter weekends, the park offers naturalist programs that focus on winter survival, animal-tracks identification and wildlife observation. Besides participating in the winter naturalist programs, visitors enjoy hiking and snowshoeing. No groomed ski trails are available at the park.
Find southern Minnesota ski trails.