State Park Waysides

The Minnesota state park system includes eight waysides, most of them along Minnesota State Highway 61 on the North Shore.

These are generally parcels of land too small to be full-fledged state parks, but with more cultural or natural resources than those found at highway waysides and rest areas.

Some Minnesota state park waysides are minimalist, with not much more than a parking area and a short trail. Others have sanitation facilities, picnic tables and historic buildings.

Caribou Falls State Wayside

Location: N 47° 28.080 W 91° 01.863; Lake County

Picnic area: No tables

Hiking: There is a 3/4 mile trail within the wayside. A great hike along the Caribou River leads to the base of Caribou Falls (35 foot waterfall), and also provides stunning views of Lake Superior and the Caribou River gorge. The wayside offers access to the Superior Hiking Trail.This link leads to an external site.

Fishing: Caribou River is a designated trout stream.

Sanitation facilities: There are no sanitation facilities at this wayside.

Established: 1947


Devils Track Falls State Wayside

Photo of a visitor admiring the view from the Pincushion Mountain overlook at Devil's Track Wayside.

Location: N 47° 46.634 W 90° 16.843; Cook County

Picnic area: No tables

Hiking: Access to Devils Track is off the Gunflint Trail via the Superior Hiking Trail.

Sanitation facilities: There are no sanitation facilities at this wayside.

Established: 1961

Additional information: It is a two-mile hike, one way, to reach the wayside. From here you can visit Pincushion Mountain, a rock outcrop overlooking Lake Superior.


Flood Bay State Wayside

Photo of a man walking along the Lake Superior beach at the Flood Bay state wayside.Location: N 47° 02.304 W 91° 38.547; Lake County

Picnic area: No tables

Hiking: This area has one of the top beach walks along the North Shore. A long pebble beach leads visitors along the shores of Lake Superior, just outside the city of Two Harbors.

Sanitation facilities: One vault toilet

Established: 1963

Additional information: Flood Bay has a beautiful wetland area that has quite a bit of beaver activity and waterfowl. Visitors get a chance to see ducks, geese, beaver, and in the spring - otters!


Inspiration Peak State Wayside

Photo of the peak known as both
Leaf Mountain and Inspiration Peak.Location: N 46° 08.192 W 95° 34.722; Otter Tail County

Picnic area: Yes

Hiking: A winding trail to the summit passes through a beautiful hardwood forest that opens to an expanse of rolling prairie hills.

Sanitation facilities: Yes

Established: 1931

Additional information: Rising 400 feet above the surrounding countryside, Inspiration Peak offers spectacular views in three directions. The native prairie on the top of the peak has been there for hundreds of years, and showcases many beautiful prairie wildflowers. Nobel Prize-winning novelist Sinclair Lewis shared his passion for this peak with his readers. Learn more. This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.


Joseph R. Brown State Wayside

Photo of remains of the Joseph R. Brown House, the first home built of quarried granite in the Minnesota River Valley.Location: N 44° 41.790 W 95° 19.327; Renville County

Picnic area: One picnic table

Fishing: There are no public fishing areas within walking distance of the wayside, but around the valley there are many access points to the Minnesota River.

Sanitation facilities: There are no sanitation facilities at this wayside.

Established: 1937

Additional information: 2012 marked 150 years since the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. This wayside features the ruins of Joseph R. Brown's three-story mansion, destroyed during the Dakota War of 1862. Who was Joseph R. Brown and why is his house so significant? Find out here. This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.


Kodonce River State Wayside

Photo of a bridge spanning the ice-covered river at the Kodonce River Wayside in winter.

Location: N 47° 47.975 W 90° 09.312; Cook County

Picnic area: There are picnic tables within the rest area off Highway 61.

Hiking: Access the Kodonce River Gorge via a Superior Hiking Trail spur.

Sanitation facilities: There are no sanitation facilities at this wayside.

Established: 1947

Additional information: Off from the rest area, enjoy a walk down to Lake Superior beachfront along the mouth of the Kodonce River.


Ray Berglund State Wayside

Location: N 47° 36.615 W 90° 46.255; Cook County

Picnic area: No tables

Hiking: A 1/2 mile, primitive trail along the bluffs overlooks the Onion River.

Fishing: The Onion River is a designated trout stream.

Sanitation facilities: There are no sanitation facilities at this wayside.

Established: 1951

Additional information: This wayside is a memorial to a St. Paul businessman and conservationist, on land donated by his friends and family. It is at the mouth of the Onion River, and provides public access to Lake Superior.


Sam Brown Memorial State Wayside

Photo of the historic cabin at the Sam Brown Memorial State Wayside.Location: N 45° 35.747 W 96° 50.471; Traverse County

Picnic area: Yes

Sanitation facilities: One vault toilet

Established: 1929

Additional information: 2012 marked 150 years since the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Created to honor Joseph R. Brown's son Samuel J. Brown, the "Paul Revere of the West," who rode 120 miles through a storm on April 19, 1866 to warn of an expected Dakota attack. In the summer, this wayside features a cabin run by the Browns Valley Historical Society - open Friday, Saturday, and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Times may vary, please check with the museum before visiting: 320-695-2316 (evenings and weekdays only).