State Park Information
Father Hennepin State Park
  3.5 Stars (4 Ratings)
  41294 Father Hennepin Park Road
      Isle, Minnesota 56342
  United States
  (320) 676-8763
  Unknown
Description

Father Hennepin State Park is located on the southeast shore of Mille Lacs Lake. Visitors enjoy a large sandy beach for swimming, two boat accesses, fishing piers and picnic sites with a panoramic view of the lake. The park's 320 acres include two campgrounds and hiking trails that wind through a hardwood forest and along the rocky shoreline of Mille Lacs. The park's original vegetation was northern hardwoods mixed with marsh areas and pines along the lake. The hardwoods provide shade during the summer and spectacular color in the fall.

Wildlife
Father Hennepin State Park is home to a variety of wildlife. Hawks, ospreys, owls, and eagles are common. The tracks of beaver, raccoon, mink and deer are often seen in the soft earth or snow. Northern pike, walleye, bluegills, sunfish and bass are found in the lake. The aspen stands and small clearings are excellent for ruffed grouse. Squirrels and chipmunks thrive in maple and oak stands. The small ponds and streams provide homes for amphibians and insects, which in turn attract larger fish, birds and mammals.

History
The park is named after Father Louis Hennepin, a priest who visited the area with a French expedition in 1680. Hennepin is not thought to have been in the exact location of the park, but the park is named after him because he was the first to write extensively about the Mille Lacs area. In 1938 land became available along the shore of Lake Mille Lacs, and in 1941 a bill was passed to establish Father Hennepin State Memorial Park.

Geology
About 20,000 years ago, during the peak of the last glacial period, a glacier called the Rainy lobe advanced from the Ontario region through what is now the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and covered most of the Lake Mille Lacs region. As it moved, the Rainy lobe picked up, crushed, and deposited fragments of the underlying bedrock. As the glacier receded, streams of meltwater carried sand gravel from the ice and dropped it in front of the glacier, a deposit called an outwash.

About 15,000 years ago, another glacier, called the Superior lobe, advanced from the Ontario region through the Lake Superior basin and into the area of central Minnesota. It crossed over the outwash that the Rainy lobe had deposited and pushed up the sand gravel into a formation of big elongated hills called a moraine. When the Superior lobe finally receded it left a layer of reddish sediment over this moraine and buried some stranded blocks of stagnant ice. The reddish color comes from iron oxide in the sediment that the glacier eroded from bedrock in the Lake Superior basin.

The enlarged moraine acted as a natural dam, blocking rivers and streams from draining glacial meltwater to the southwest as before. As a result, the meltwater from the receding ice collected behind the moraine and formed the early Lake Mille Lacs. Water from the growing glacial lake spilled over the moraine into the Rum River through an outlet about five meters higher than the present outlet. The original outlet ceased to flow when ice blocks, buried in the moraine, melted enough to open a lower outlet, causing the lake level to drop and create the lake you see today. The lower outlet, which also found drainage via the Rum River, is the one flowing today.

Landscape
Father Hennepin State Park is in the Mille Lacs Uplands subsection. Visitors enjoy the diversity in this park: aspen-birch and mixed hardwood forests, pines, conifer bogs, and swamps. The terminal moraine dam, responsible for the formation of Mille Lacs Lake, is found here.

Park Stats
Campgrounds: 3 Campsites: 109
Photos: 21 Reviews: 4
Views: 171 Likes: 0
   

   Amenities
No information available.
    Profile Photo
Photo of Father Hennepin State Park, Minnesota, United States
   Reservations
Make Reservations Online
or Call 866-857-2757

   Location
Driving Directions
From the town of Isle, go one mile west on Highway 27 to the park entrance.

   Documents & Files
  No documents available.
   Father Hennepin State Park Photos
There are 455 total photos at this park. View All Park Photos
   Father Hennepin State Park Reviews


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Unknown
3 Star Rating3.0 out of 5 stars
  Small, but nice
Reviewed on June 19th, 2020
Just got back from 3 days at Father Hennepin. If it's hiking you're looking for, this is not the park for you. I covered the entire park my first afternoon. Much better hiking can be found at nearby Mille Lacs Kathio State Park, about 5-8 miles away. That being said, the park is well cared for, has a good beach if lake swimming is your thing, sand volleyball, swings and such, fishing pier and 2 boat launches. In my opinion, this is place is mostly for families with kids, which I am not, so it wasn't my favorite. But if you're looking for a manageable state park with things to keep the kids from screaming, this could fit for you. I stayed at Maple Grove campground. It's a bit more rustic than Lakeview, with reminded me of a field with RVs strewn about. I'm a tent camper and enjoy more privacy. Maple Grove sites offer some privacy, but there's not much understory to speak of so you can see and hear your neighbors pretty easily. All-in-all, this park is fine, but not one I would visit again.
Unknown
3 Star Rating3.0 out of 5 stars
Reviewed on June 19th, 2020
I went on camping here a few years ago and it was a lot of fun. The site was private, trails were fun and the lake was awesome. The kids loved swimming and looking for shells.
Unknown
4 Star Rating4.0 out of 5 stars
Reviewed on June 19th, 2020
Unknown
4 Star Rating4.0 out of 5 stars
  Nice for families
Reviewed on June 19th, 2020
We took a fall trip here last week with our 8 and 6 year old daughters. The sites are nice and well maintained. The bathrooms aren't as nice as other state parks we've visited. The kids enjoyed geocaching and the fall weather was great. This park is probably a 1-2 day visit max before running out of things to do. We'll be visiting again in the future.
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