Itasca State Park is in northern Minnesota, in the United States. It is the oldest and largest of Minnesota's state parks, and is considered the "jewel" of Minnesota's state parks system. Itasca offers the classic northwoods experience, with an old growth forest, diverse and plentiful wildlife, fishing, swimming, and crystal-clear streams and lakes, including Lake Itasca, which is the source of the legendary Mississippi River.
Itasca's 32,690 acres include lakes, streams, old growth forest, and hundreds of miles of hiking trails. No visit to Itasca is complete without seeing the headwaters of the Mississippi River, at the outlet of Lake Itasca.
Itasca's landscape is a glacial moraine, sometimes referred to as "knob and kettle." The land was shaped by advancing and receding glaciers, and the lakes are the residue of glacial melt.
Flora and fauna
Typically for northern Minnesota, the park is home to a great diversity of songbirds, predatory birds, freshwater fish, amphibians, and mammals. Observant visitors have a good chance of seeing deer, beavers, porcupines, black bears, and maybe even wolves.
The grand forests of Itasca State Park include red pine, white pine, cedars, aspen, birch, and much more. In undisturbed areas, some of the old growth trees have been determined to be more than 500 years old.
Fees and permits
- 1 Mississippi Headwaters Hostel (HI-Itasca State Park), 27910 Forest Lane, Park Rapids, MN, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Operated by Hostelling International through a partnership agreement with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Beds start at $16 per night with HI membership (non-members will be charged an additional $3 per night).
|Routes through Itasca State Park|
|International Falls ← Bemidji ←||N S||→ Wadena → Sauk Centre|
|Hillsboro ← becomes ← Jct N S ← Jct N S ←||W E||→ Walker → Jct W E|