From Pipestone, MN we traveled South 30 minutes to Blue Mound State Park. This is another fine example of the wild beauty that nature has provided for us. Situated minutes North of Luverne, MN in Rock County, Blue Mound State Park is touted in local folklore as the mound that was used as a buffalo jump before European settlements – no archaeological evidence exist however. That would be quite the sight.
The “mound” definitely sticks out of the landscape with cliffs up to 100 feet high. The Sioux Quartzite bedrock can been seen from quite a distance; even though it is pink in color, it appeared to early settlers as a blueish mound – hence the name. There are well maintained trails all about the park, but be sure to wear suitable shoes – seems like common sense, I know – however we ran out of that when we pulled into the park. The excitement to get out and see the huge rock formation had us on a 5+ mile hike with no water and I with dead batteries in one of the two cameras I was lugging along for the excursion. We should have turned back and dropped my one camera off and acquired some portable H2O, but that didn’t happen (my fault). It didn’t seem like the hike was going to be that far until it was….ever been there? Beware of a small creek crossing on the South end of the park on Bur Oak Trail. The big hunk of wood in the middle of the stream that appears to be a worthy stepping stone is an invitation to get acquainted with the muddy banks of this innocent looking creek crossing. Thankfully the interpretive center, on the opposite end of the park from where we parked, was not far. It was a welcomed oasis. Some water to wet your parched whistle was just the ticket.
The lower path provides nice views of cliffs where the upper provides sweeping views from atop the mound to the surrounding farm land. There were lots of Western Prickly Pear and some Prairie Smoke, but with the odd Spring weather we had, it was still pretty early and nothing much was in bloom. There were plenty of birds, butterflies and other critters to hold our interest. We spied a very interesting bird; it looked like it had a yellow helmet on. I have never encountered anything like that before. If anyone knows what it is please comment below. We saw the buffalo heard on the way in close to the road, however, when we were done with our hike they were way off away from any photo opportunity. Oh well, perhaps another time.
Cyn and I very much enjoyed this wonderful state park despite being prepared to really enjoy it. Next time there will need to be more time, comfortable footwear and plenty of aqua. We are very lucky in Minnesota to have so many great state parks. Get out there and explore a state park near you! You may be surprised with what you find and maybe stumble upon other interesting things in between.