State Park Information
Itasca State Park
  4 Stars (8 Ratings)
  36750 Main Park Drive
      Park Rapids, Minnesota 56470
  United States
  (218) 266-2100
  Unknown
Description

Established in 1891, Itasca is Minnesota's oldest state park. Today, the park totals more than 32,000 acres and includes more than 100 lakes. Walk across the mighty Mississippi as it starts its winding journey 2,552 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. Stand under towering pines and visit landmarks of centuries gone by throughout the park. Camp under the stars or stay the night in one of our 45 overnight units. Explore Wilderness Drive past the 2,000-acre Wilderness Sanctuary, one of Minnesota's seven National Natural Landmarks.

Wildlife
The diversity of vegetation in the park supports many wildlife species. Birding is excellent and visitors are encouraged to help spot and record the bird life they see in the park. Some birds you can expect to see include loons, grebes, cormorants, herons, ducks, owls, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches, kinglets, vireos, tanagers, finches, and warblers. Trails in the park are shared with deer, chipmunks, and squirrels. Beaver, porcupine, black bears, and wolves also reside in the park.

History
In 1832, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft was led by Anishinabe guide Ozawindib to the source of the Mississippi River. It was on this journey that Schoolcraft, with the help of an educated missionary companion, created the name Itasca from the Latin words for 'truth' and 'head' by linking adjoining syllables: verITAS CAput, meaning 'true head.' In the late 1800s, Jacob V. Brower, historian, anthropologist and land surveyor, came to the park region to settle the dispute of the actual location of the Mississippi Headwaters. Brower saw this region being quickly transformed by logging, and was determined to protect some of the pine forests for future generations. It was Brower's tireless efforts to save the remaining pine forest surrounding Lake Itasca that led the state legislature to establish Itasca as a Minnesota state park on April 20, 1891, by a margin of only one vote. Through his conservation work and the continuing efforts of others throughout the decades, the splendor of Itasca has been maintained.

Geology
The landscape region in which the park is located was formed at the leading edge of repeating glacial advances. This northern pine moraine forms ranges of hills containing coarse, gravelly materials and boulders pock-marked with countless lakes, ponds and bogs. This terrain is sometimes referred to as 'knob and kettle.' The knobs are mounds of debris deposited directly by the ice near the glacier's edge or by melt-water streams flowing on or under the glacier surface. The kettles are depressions, usually filled with water, formed by stagnant ice masses buried or partially buried under glacial debris. The retreat of the ice left many lakes of varying size.

Landscape
At Itasca State Park, the mighty Mississippi River begins its 2,552-mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. Established in 1891 to preserve remnant stands of virgin pine and to protect the basin around the Mississippi's source, this park has become a famous natural and cultural landmark in North America.

Park Stats
Campgrounds: 7 Campsites: 241
Photos: 116 Reviews: 8
Views: 270 Likes: 1
   

   Amenities
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Photo of Itasca State Park, Minnesota, United States
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   Itasca State Park Photos
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   Itasca State Park Reviews


Have you been here? What did you think of this Park? Submit a Review and Earn $$! Learn More >>
Jeff P.
5 Star Rating5.0 out of 5 stars
Reviewed on June 19th, 2020
Itasca is a good sized park with lots of interesting things to do. The main attraction is the Mississippi headwaters. This is where the river starts and flows all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. It's a meer babbling brooke which you can walk across over rocks, or on a wooden plank. They have a very nice visitor center and a couple museums. There is an Inn, cabins, a historic cemetary, beach, logging sled, playground, the Wegmann Store Replica and ruins, and a bike rental area.
Erin R.
5 Star Rating5.0 out of 5 stars
  Bring your bike
Reviewed on June 19th, 2020
What a great park to visit. Lots to do. Lots of paths to walk and bike. Definitely bring your bike, as you will be disappointed if you don't. It is a well ran park. The campgrounds are big and busy, but well kept.
Lisa J.
4 Star Rating4.0 out of 5 stars
Reviewed on June 19th, 2020
Love this park. There are tons of things to do. We always go to the headwaters of the mississippi and the fire tower. Many hikes available throughout the park. Many backpacking sites available as well.
Sheri P.
5 Star Rating5.0 out of 5 stars
  One of the Most Amazing Places to Visit
Reviewed on June 19th, 2020
The park has such beauty it is breathtaking. The history of this park and the area it is in just makes you feel honored to be there! I wish I could spend more time here and would recommend it to anyone. There is so much to do and see, or you can just relax and soak in the amazing scenery. Wildlife is everywhere and going out birding is fantastic. No matter what you like to do , hike, bike, canoe, bird watching, fishing, or viewing amazing forests you will not be disappointed. Except when you have to leave :) And if you are not into being very "rustic" they have exceptional lodging choices with a restaurant and wifi is available. Enjoy:)
Unknown
3 Star Rating3.0 out of 5 stars
  Bear Paw Camp ground
Reviewed on June 19th, 2020
The camp site that we stayed at 19E, was right next to the showers and restrooms. The shower/restroom facality is the best I have seen while camping in my lifetime. The only complaint we have is the aggressive raccoons. We stayed at Bear Paw for 3 nights, and either the same raccooon approached us each night or a different raccoon did. A raccoon opened the zipper of our tent, came in and ate the only food we had in our tent, an unopen bag of chips. I do have pictures of the raccoon feast.
Unknown
4 Star Rating4.0 out of 5 stars
Reviewed on June 19th, 2020
Itasca is a wonderful park with many things to keep you busy. Pontoon and Bike rentals are wonderful. Bathrooms are very clean and water was warm. Our site was very wooded and very private. Main lodge area was historic and beautiful for photos
Unknown
3 Star Rating3.0 out of 5 stars
Reviewed on June 19th, 2020
Loads of trails and hiking, biking. Very well maintained facilities. Please staff too. Bear Paw campground is more rustic.
Unknown
5 Star Rating5.0 out of 5 stars
  Love this park!
Reviewed on June 19th, 2020
It's a wonderful place to visit. So much to see and do. Don't forget your bikes! Fall is beautiful. Campground is busy, but clean, as are the showers and bathroom facilities. You will be happy you made the drive!
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   Bear Paw Campground - Cabin Loop
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   Pine Ridge Campground - Maple Loop
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   Pine Ridge Campground - Oak Loop
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   Pine Ridge Campground - Pine Loop
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   Pine Ridge Campground - Poplar Loop
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   Pine Ridge Campground - Spruce Loop
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