|Seven Mile Creek County Park|
Nestled in the ravines and hills of the Minnesota River Valley, the fast-moving waters of Seven Mile Creek have cut through the land to form a picturesque valley bordering a fast-moving stream. Lying on the eastern edge of the region, the park is within a transition zone of the grasslands to the ...
Minneopa State Park
|Description: Located along the south side of the Minnesota River, Minneopa was established in 1905 as the third state park. The word Minneopa comes from the Dakota language and is interpreted to mean "water falling twice," referring to the beautiful twin waterfalls of the Minneopa Creek.
The region’s most notable site is Minneopa State Park, whose 2700 acres provide a range of habitats. Woods, prairie and streams with riparian habitats translate into a great diversity of resident wildlife.
The southern part of the park is hilly and wooded, with Minneopa Creek and its waterfalls—the major feature that attracts visitors. The northern sections of the park feature prairie and the Minnesota River. Once, the land was tallgrass prairie, interspersed with marshes, lakes and streams. Today, extensive farming has replaced the prairie with cultivated fields.
But, at this beautiful haven, birds and wildlife abound. You can walk the trail, which encircles the falls, leading down a limestone stairway to the valley below. Ascend the opposite side and enjoy a panoramic view of the valley, revealing the underlying geology of this area. Hike through oak savanna and native prairie grasslands overlooking the scenic Minnesota River Valley.
The Valley, a natural flyway, makes for excellent birding and is part of Minnesota River Valley Birding Trail-Bend of the River Region.
Wildlife to Watch: Many migrants stop here for a short stay on their way to their summer range. It should come as no surprise then that birdwatching is a popular activity. A total of 217 species have been recorded in this park, including 29 species of warbler. Flycatchers, wrens, vireos, warblers, kinglets and many species of sparrow and finch visit as migrants and many remain to nest.
The Kentucky warbler, rarely sighted in Minnesota, and Bell’s vireo are seen at frequent intervals. Louisiana waterthrush may occasionally be found nesting along Minneopa Creek and loggerhead shrike are present in the grasslands.
Wood thrush, blue-winged warbler and orchard oriole are regularly seen in the park. Look for eastern bluebirds, western meadowlarks, tree sparrows, kingbirds, red-winged blackbirds and northern flickers too.
Turkey vultures, red-tailed hawks and bald eagles are common. If your eyes are sharp, you may catch a glimpse of a wild turkey or ring-necked pheasant sneaking through the grass.
Both woodland and prairie animals may be discovered in the park. White-tailed deer are never far away and campers are just may be treated to the call of a coyote announcing its presence in the early evening hours. The Minnesota River Floodplain area is home to various snakes, beaver and waterfowl; the southern wooded part habitat for woodpeckers, squirrels and other woodland animals.
Special Tips: More than 100 potential breeding species have been tallied during June and July.
Other Activities: Visit Seppmann Mill, a wind-driven gristmill fashioned in German style from native stone and lumber. The road to the mill and campground provides excellent birding—loggerhead shrikes and the rare Bell’s vireo are often found along this route.
Ownership: MN DNR
Size: 2689 acres
Closest Town: Mankato
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: