Pipestone Journals

Pipe Dreams and Stone

A September 1992 trip to Pipestone by Casual Tourist

Pipestone Photo, Pipestone, Minnesota More Photos
Quote: Come with us to a mystical, magical place, sacred to the Plains Indians and now a National Monument. Take the Circle Tour, see the Oracle, and smoke a genuine peace pipe.

Pipe Dreams and Stone

Overview

Quote:
Walking the Circle Tour past the Oracle and Winnewissa Falls was a joy, as was standing in the stone quarry and learning about the medicinal use of the native plants.

Quick Tips:

Pipestone is located the the North and East of Sioux Falls, SD. There is a historic district in the town of Pipestone, though we did not visit it.

Best Way To Get Around:

The Circle Trail

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Story/Tip

Pipestone Photo, Pipestone, Minnesota
Quote:
This trail traverses 3/4 miles of fascinating rock passages, woods and prairie land. It winds past Winnewissa Falls, a beautiful spot to stop and reflect on the wonder of this unique place set on the edge of the prairie.

Along the way, there are stone stairways and narrow passages through the beautiful pipestone rock. It's a simply fascinating trail. Coming out of the rocks you walk along the prairie where many of the plants are identified for you, as well as their usage.

The Oracle

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Story/Tip

Pipestone Photo, Pipestone, Minnesota
Quote:
Along the Circle Tour you will find the Oracle. It is a natural rock outcropping that resembles an old man. If you stand quietly you will hear the old man speak to you, just as the Native American people did for ages before the coming of the European settlers. I found it absolutely uncanny how much this natural rock resembled an old man in profile. Shadows from the trees played across the face trying to disguise it, but there it was -- bigger than life.

The Pipes and Quarry

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Story/Tip

Pipestone Photo, Pipestone, Minnesota
Quote:
The rock at Pipestone is extremely hard and standing in the quarry you wonder how the Native Americans cut and shaped this stone. The stone in this quarry has been used for many, many years by the Plains Indians for their peace pipes. Pipes can still be purchased at the Visitor Center gift shop. There were so many intricate pipes there that I truly wished I was independently wealthy so that I could have purchased them all. I did buy a modest pipe along with some Knickknick to put in the pipe for smoking.

Visitor Center

Story/Tip

Pipestone Photo, Pipestone, Minnesota
Quote:
Like all good National Monuments, Pipestone has a great Visitor Center. Here can be found peace pipes made by Native Americans, as well as many other articles produced by Native Americans. From April through October there are cultural demonstrations at the Upper Midwest Indian Cultural Center to watch. Books on the Plains Indians and their culture can also be purchased at the Center.