On our way out of Pelican Rapids on Sunday, we saw a sign that said Maplewood State Park was only six miles away. Even though the weather was gloomy and at times rainy and at times blustery, we jumped at the chance to see this park during its peak season.
As a master naturalist, I loved seeing all the signs marking restored prairies planted in 2011, 2009, 2002, and 1999.
Our original plan was to simply take drive through the park on Park Drive. But when we saw the sign for the Hallaway Hill overlook, we parked the car and headed up the former ski hill. It’s only a 196-foot vertical climb, but the last part especially gets the blood pumping.
At the top we learned that this park has a wealth of geological features: lakes, an island, kames, kettles, moraines, eskers, and even goat prairies (areas on the hillside that were thought to be too steep for anything but goats). Nice views of the woods and Lake Lida, even on a cloudy day.
After descending, we walked out to the swimming beach, where there were actual (small) whitecaps
and then got back in the car for the driving tour.
We pulled over for this big tree.
And pulled over again at this overlook on Field Lake.
And then, just as we were thinking about wrapping up our visit, the clouds started to thin and the sun came out, just before sunset.
And it set the trees on fire. See the difference one second made?
We walked back down the one-way road to the overlook to see the change:
For fall color, this is a good weekend to visit Maplewood State Park.
More information about Maplewood State Park
- Maplewood State Park overview (Minnesota DNR)
- Park details, including wildlife, history, geology
- All of my photos from Maplewood State Park
Full disclosure: Some of these photos were taken by my husband, since we were trading cameras during this trip.