“A Variety of Options for Everyone!”
This park has something for everyone. The trails take visitors around wet lowlands, oak savanna, and grasslands. Albert Lea Lake and park marshes draw hundreds of waterfowl during migration. Oak savanna and prairie landscape, including wetlands, dominate most of the park. One of the more unique aspects of the park is the 116-acre Big Island, covered with maple/basswood forest. Another is the glacial esker located in the northeast section of the park. Long before European settlers arrived, seasonal, and possibly year-round Indian villages were numerous around area lakes. Evidence of human occupation of the area dates back over 9,000 years and encompasses all four identified cultural periods (Big Game Hunters, Hunter/Gatherers, Horticulturalists and Potters, Village Dwellers and Farmers, and Euro-American Contact). Most of this evidence comes in the form of artifacts, including projectile points, axes, other hand-worked stone tools, and pieces of pottery. Today, most of what we know about these early people is what can be discovered by examination of their tools and occupation sites. The Owen Johnson Artifact Collection is one of the largest in the state and is available for research. The collection is not available for public viewing at this time. These locally found artifacts are treasures to assess how the early people of this area lived. The rolling hills, shallow lakes, and marshes of the park were formed as the last major glacier retreated from Minnesota over 10,000 years ago. The glacial features found here include moraines, an ice block lake and an esker. Moraines are made up of irregular deposits of unsorted sand, gravel and other rock debris left by retreating glaciers. As the glacier retreated, a huge block of ice was deposited. It melted behind the moraine and formed Albert Lea Lake. Today, the lake has a surface area of 2,600 acres and over 20 miles of shoreline. An esker - a winding ridge of stratified sands and gravel - is located at the north end of the park.
Entrance was $7.00 for the car. Not too pricey, I don't think.
Campgrounds were nice. And for a Saturday night all was quiet by 10:00.
Bathrooms and showers were much better than expected for a state park. I guess Minnesota does it better than most if this is the standard.
Gorgeous skies at night and a nice pair of binoculars brought the ridges and craters of the moon to a close up view.
The morning hike at sunrise was incredible. Deer were out and "posed" for us to take a few pictures. The view of the lake was beautiful. Steam rising, reflection made it hard to tell which way was up, and the birds that were there to greet us were yellow as the sun.
I would recommend this place to anyone comfortable with car camping.
We had no idea that you have to pay to go into the park. This was not great as it was pretty expensive since we don't live near the area and wouldn't be returning. We did however find a gravel road right by so we parked and walked into the park that way. We hiked for several miles and it was pretty nice, although there isn't anything extremely exciting there, at least on the trials we went on. It was very buggy and there were little toads everywhere. I mean everywhere. It was almost impossible not to step on one. I personally don't think we will go back, but it was pretty with lots of woods and prairie.
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Myre Big Island State Park
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