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Frontenac State Park, Frontenac

#44 of 141 in Nature in Minnesota
State Park · Nature / Park
Frontenac State Park is a state park of Minnesota, United States, on the Mississippi River 10mi southeast of Red Wing. The park is notable both for its history and for its birdwatching opportunities. The centerpiece of the park is a 430ft, 3mi steep limestone bluff overlooking Lake Pepin, a natural widening of the Mississippi. The bluff is variously called Garrard's Bluff or Point No-Point, the latter name coming from riverboat captains because of the optical illusion that it protruded into the Mississippi River. There is a natural limestone arch on the blufftop called In-Yan-Teopa, a Dakota name meaning "Rock With Opening". Park lands entirely surround the town of Frontenac, once a high-class resort at the end of the 19th century.
The limestone was laid down 500 million years ago as organic sediments settled to the bottom of a shallow sea that covered much of the Midwest. Much later Glacial River Warren carried torrents of runoff from the melting glaciers of the last ice age. Flowing out of Lake Agassiz, Glacial River Warren carved the Minnesota River valley and the Mississippi River Valley, leaving steep bluffs along the latter's banks. At times Glacial River Warren overflowed its bed and Garrard's Bluff would have been an island. The area is near the northern extreme of the Driftless Area of Minnesota, a region that remained unglaciated during the phases of the last ice age.
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Frontenac State Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
72 reviews
  • Great hiking on the Bluffside Trail with beautiful views of the Mississippi River and Lake Pepin further south. There is a upper and lower bluff trail and hiking both in a clockwise fashion involves.....  more »
  • Camper cabin was clean. Needed some maintenance. Door was falling off hinges. Had to use state certified firewood but the wood was always locked up and unavailable. Was a 1/2 mile hike to a so so....  more »
  • Frontenac Park is lovely with a trails for all fitness levels. We spent the afternoon there for Mother's Day and my wife was as happy as can be. There are lots of trail options with mostly great views. There were also some interesting informational/educational signs that were fun to read. We did not camp there, but we could see that plenty of people did so. Nearby Red Wing was a quaint town and had lots of dining choices. Frontenac State Park was fun for the whole family and I highly recommend it.
  • Landscape was stunning, roaring bluffs and prairies and the lake. I would not suggest doing the backpacking campsites as they are 1.2 miles to get to your site, really do your research on the reality of doing a backpack site and the backpack site is beautiful especially at night because lightning bugs, AND there's some cool stuff back there but you can hear the highway so it kind of feels like I'm camping right by the city and I can hear my neighbor as well. The signage needs to be better, there is a section of the parking lot labeled backpacking sites and next to sits an unmarked trail.
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