Itasca State Park – Mississippi Headwaters

July 2018 — Our thanks to cousins Jean and Ray for alerting us to this little gem in North-central Minnesota. Why you ask? It’s where the headwaters of the Mississippi are located, and you can walk across the Mississippi River in shin-deep water here.

The state park campground has spacious, gravel sites with lots of grass in-between. It was very hot and humid when we arrived early afternoon, so we were thankful for lots of trees.

About 4:00 p.m., we hopped on our bikes to ride north a couple of miles to the Headwaters, which is indicated by a cool sign. Lake Itasca leads right into the Mississippi Headwaters, and we walked back and forth a few times, of course capturing the event on video!

This is a quick place to visit, so we then hopped on our bikes and rode all the way to the other end of the bike trail at Douglas Lodge (several miles), where we were greatly refreshed by some ice cream bars. The bike trail is dedicated and well-paved, though up and down and quite challenging in places. 

We also stopped at Preachers’ Grove for a lovely view of Lake Itasca (shimmering in the late afternoon sunlight) and an old-growth stand of red pines. You only need one night here, but it’s worth a stop if you’re in the area.

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