Rules

This is a partial listing of state park rules and regulations. Visit the Minnesota State Legislature website for the complete rules.


Park hours

8 a.m. to 10 p.m., 365 days a year. Office hours vary by season.

State park permit

All vehicles entering a state park must display a valid Minnesota state park vehicle permit affixed to the lower right hand corner of the windshield. Annual and day permits can be purchased at a park. Funds from state park vehicle permits and fees are used to help manage park resources and facilities.

Accessibility

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, state parks are working to make facilities accessible to people of all abilities. Learn more. Call the specific state park you are planning to visit for up-to-date information on accessibility. Discounted or free vehicle permits are available to some people with disabilities, disabled veterans, and active duty personnel.

Alcohol/drugs

It is unlawful for any person to consume intoxicating liquors, or to display liquor containers in public. State laws apply to possession and use of drugs.

Biking

Biking is permitted only on designated trails or park roads where motor vehicles are allowed, unless otherwise posted.

Campers

Campers must register at the office or self-registration station. Only registered campers are allowed in the park after 10 p.m. Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Cancellations

The policy for canceling or making changes to a reservation varies, depending on what specifically the reservation is for, and how many days are left before arrival. Read the details about cancelations.

Check in/check out

Overnight guests must check out by 4 p.m. If you choose to stay another day in the campground or park lodging, you must re-register by 11 a.m.

Firewood

Gathering firewood disrupts the forest and soil cycle and is not permitted. Firewood may be purchased at the park office.

Fireworks

Fireworks are not permitted in state parks.

Fishing

When fishing in waters entirely within state parks, anglers must comply with Minnesota fishing laws and rules. Minnesota residents can fish without a fishing license in most Minnesota state parks, including ice fishing. Learn more.

Flotation devices

In a state park, while in the water, use of air mattresses, inner tubes or other flotation devices that are not approved by the Coast Guard is prohibited except when used in an area specifically designated for that use.

Geocaching

Geocaching is allowed in Minnesota state parks, state recreation areas and waysides managed by the DNR. All caches placed in these locations require a signed permit prior to placement. Permit applications and geocaching guidelines are available at the park office or on the geocaching page.

Harvesting

Harvesting edible fruits and mushrooms is allowed in Minnesota state parks, as long as they are for personal consumption. Commercial harvesting is not allowed. It is not allowed to pick wildflowers or other plants (edible or not), even for personal use.

Horses

Except on state forest roads or forest road right-of-ways, anyone riding a horse on land managed by the DNR—including state parks, state recreation areas, state trails, and state forests—must have a valid horse pass in their possession.

Hunting

Hunting is prohibited in Minnesota state parks unless authorized by the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources. Learn about special hunts held in state parks.

Metal detectors

Use of metal detectors is prohibited.

Parking

Parking on the grass is not allowed. Park only in designated areas and spaces provided in the campground.

Pets

Pets are welcome in Minnesota's state parks but must be kept on a leash of not more than six feet and must be personally attended at all times. No pets other than hearing or seeing-eye dogs or other service animals are allowed in state park buildings, lodging, cabins, camper cabins, on tours, or in beach areas.

Research

Easy access and abundant natural features make Minnesota state parks perfect for a variety of resource-related research projects. Research permits are required before studies can be undertaken in state parks. For more information on doing research in state parks, e-mail Ed Quinn at Edward.Quinn@state.mn.us. Download an application for a state park research permit This link needs Microsoft MS Word to open. or read more about research in state parks.

Reservations

Camping and lodging reservations can be made from one day to one year in advance. A number of campsites may be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Camping reservations are not needed from November 1 through March 31, when all campsites are first-come, first-served. On the first day a facility becomes available, reservations can be made beginning at 8:00 a.m. CST.

Cave and mine tours in the current calendar year can be reserved beginning April 1.

With all reservations, if you are paying by check or money order, you need to make your reservation a minimum of 15 days in advance.

The reservation fee is $8.50 to make an online reservation and $10.00 to make a reservation by phone. In the event of cancellation, these fees are non-refundable.

Rock climbing

Rock climbing in state parks is allowed only in designated areas and only by permit. Permits are available at the park office.

Skiing

When using groomed trails in parks, skiers 16 years of age and older, must have a valid Minnesota Ski Pass in their possession.

Snowmobiles

Snowmobiles in state parks can be operated only on designated trails or posted areas. A snowmobile state trail sticker is required for all snowmobiles operating on state or grant-in-aid trails.

Snowshoes

Snowshoeing is allowed anywhere in state parks except on groomed trails or where posted.

Weapons

It is unlawful for any person to possess explosives of any kind. It is also against the law for any person to possess a firearm (including an air gun) unless the firearm is unloaded and completely contained in a fully enclosed gun case or unloaded and contained in the closed trunk of a vehicle. A person who is legally permitted under MS 624.714 to carry a handgun in the State of Minnesota may legally carry that handgun in state parks.