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ashbourne, United Kingdom
January 21, 2013
From journal Exploring Minnesota
July 12, 2005
Itasca State Park is a lovely state park. It's Minnesota oldest state park and covers 32,000 acres of northern woods. In this park alone are 100 lakes!
Most people come here to see where the Mississippi begins. It's impressive and a bit overwhelming and underwhelming at the same time. The river spills out of Lake Itasca and is little more than a large brook at this point. You can walk across her here on some stepping stones. The water is less than waist deep here. Folks love to go home and brag that they walked across the Mississippi River.
The place were the river is born is simple. There is one rather plain marker sign, stating that this is the birth place. There is little other fanfare, just the rocks to step over the river. Here the river is crystal clear, soon it will be a dirty, muddy river. You are struck at how important this spot is.
When I was here the main parking lot was closed as this area is being redone for a new parking lot and a new interpretive center. The new center should be opened later this year. Throughout the park of gift shops, dining rooms, and interpretive centers. None of these commercial areas are overdone and they keep these facilities very low-key and understated.
Most people come to the park to walk across the river. But the park has so much more to see and do. The first thing you will make note of is how clean and well groomed this park is. The paths are cleared and very well maintained. It's easy for even an elderly visitor to get around here.
You can rent boats, bikes, kayaks or canoes. You can take a boat tour of Lake Itasca or you can take a hike with Naturalists. The park has over 230 camp sites and a rustic lodge to stay in. While I was here, I saw loon, deer, chipmunks, and turtles.
This park is a gem of Minnesota and should not be missed by any visitor to the state.
The park lies 30 miles outside of Bemidji. You can by an annual car pass of $25 or your can enter the park on a daily basis for just $7 per vehicle. I cannot think of a better value.
From journal Paul Bunyan and Japanese Camp - Bemidji, Minnesota
July 16, 2003
Douglas Lodge is a restaurant and, I believe, a hotel. We enjoyed a bowl of ice cream to cool off after the 85 degree boat ride. The park built a new visitor center in 2002 and it explains the history and current attractions at the park. There is a gift shop at the Visitor Center and another at the headwaters. We were hit with a severe, but short, thunderstorm that unfortunately toppled a tree onto the scenic wilderness road going around the west side of the lake, closing that road to traffic. We got a couple pictures at the Mississippi River headwaters and decided to head back to the resort since the mosquitos were getting nasty.
I'd like to go back when the bugs aren't so bad. Many people recommend during fall leaf change.
From journal Fun & Sun in Detroit Lakes
January 23, 2006
I mean to return next year just to watch the animals from the coziness of the welcome center...with my digital camera in tow.
From journal Road Trip! (by dogsled?)
New York Mills, Minnesota
March 5, 2006
From journal Itasca State Park