Schools of trout happily swim through the lazy Whitewater River and various spring fed creeks of Whitewater State Park. And while it’s known for its fantastic fishing opportunities, the park also boasts year-round interpretive programs, a modern Visitor Center, and an especially appreciated lack of mosquitos, unique for the region.
Whitewater is well seasoned, with a number of historical attractions within and nearby. In fact, 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the park. To commemorate the occasion, local conservationists and naturalists have teamed up to release a special Oral History Project from stories of campers and those native to the region.
Explorers and adventurers will love this park’s diverse selection of attractions and oddities. Home of the park office and interpretive services, the Whitewater Valley Visitor Center should be your first stop. The friendly Park staff are ready to help you plan your visit and load you up on information, and even loaner equipment such as GPS units, fishing kits, discovery kits for kids, and birding kits. Don’t skip the Discovery Room, which showcases nature displays, exhibits and a spotting area to observe the local bluebirds, cardinals, hawks and bald eagles flying about.
The vast expanse of outdoor wilderness is really what you’ll want to check out. If you only have time for a quick visit, check out the Chimney Rock Trail for an awesome view of the Whitewater River. Those searching for a more accessible hike can take the Meadow Trail, which drops off right into a grassy valley, surrounded by dramatic Minnesota bluffs. During the hot and humid summers, go unwind at the beach for a refreshing dip in the cold, spring-fed water. Those more interested in history lovers should visit the famous Elba Fire Tower. Built in 1933, this sturdy tower offers cozy 360 degree views of the entire wetland region below. You’ll be especially grateful for the chance to unwind, thanks to the arduous 500-step climb required to ascend to the top.
Finally, firmly planted atop the land sits Inspiration Point; a beautiful limestone rock outcrop that overlooks the entirety of the Whitewater valley. Known as the most popular attraction within Whitewater State Park, visitors can still discover solace from their troubles. In fact, this is the only overlook in the entire park where there are no signs of civilization anywhere in sight. With just a little imagination, standing atop Inspiration Point on a clear, calm day can make you feel as if you could step down into a deep forested paradise, unspoiled and far from the reach of society.
Camping here is plentiful, with every site having full electric hookups and full-through capabilities. The campground features a full range of amenities including regularly placed shower houses with laundry facilities, and a number of group camping areas as well. Furthermore, there are 5 cabins available with various sleeping capabilities.
Very nice campground!! The area has lots to do.
Campsites are beautiful, each one seems to have unique qualities. We stayed in site 42, it didn’t seem to have very much privacy. I was also hoping for a view of the river but I couldn’t see it from the site. We found a dream catcher in the trees, so we made another one to leave. The tent sites along the river are amazing! Each one has a path down to the river. Site 69 has a private beach and it’s deep enough to swim in. For being a stocked river, we didn’t get a single bite all weekend. I only saw 1 person actually catch a single fish. We did a couple trails while we were there. It says Chimney Rock has “over 100 step” I think it’s 199 each way! We tried using the campground’s GPS units but couldn’t figure them out. Others said the same thing. We drove through the newer campground Minneiska, the pictures online made it look bare, but it was beautiful! It was a prairie full of wild flowers! The trees were newer but old enough to still create shade. There was an abundance of staff always driving around yet there was a bathhouse that had clogged up toilets all weekend long. There is also ZERO cell phone reception. Whether that is a plus or a minus, that’s up to you.
This park has a lot to offer in terms of hiking! Many, many miles of trials from flat prairies, to rocky bluffs, to dirt wooded. And some excellent views from the blufftops! We plan on going in the fall again to take in the colors! Beautiful trout fishing river running through the park, even has a swimming beach!
Overall a wonderful park to day-hike, fish, and camp in!
We stayed here over Memorial weekend and had a blast--there were so many fun things to do! We hiked, took trout fishing lesson, sat at the beach and had relaxing evenings by the fire. If you can give up electricity for a couple days I think the best sites are along the water. Theres a slow flowing spring fed river running behind site 70 (and a couple sites on either side of it) that have paths down to the water where you can sit and fish or just enjoy the sound of the water running past. There are 2 campgrounds at this State Park and the older one where we stayed will unfortunately be closed for the 2020 camping season for renovations.
Such a beautiful place to camp! The park is clean and kept up nicely! Brand new bathrooms, nice beach and fishing, great hiking trails. Lots of pretty wildflowers throughout it. Would definitely go back!
Drinking water had already been turned off for the season, but the bathroom still had running water and flush toilets in mid-October. Easy access to hiking trails. My site was close in distance to adjacent ones, but was on the edge by the creek, so it was pretty quiet. None of the cart-in sites were vacant the night I stayed, but those looked lovely as well.
Pack your hiking shoes and fishing gear! (Don’t forget that trout stamp) we hiked two different trails and had so much fun! Be carful with little ones as it’s very rocky and steep drop offs! We decided to keep our 3 year old in the carrier on dads back (especially hiking the chimney rock hike to insperation peak)
We where campsite 36 with our small camper and it was plenty big! My parents where in 38 with a HUGE camper and also had plenty of room! We visited in October so the campground wasn’t completely full but most sites where occupied and it was still quite. We had a great time!
no phone reception
Whitewater State Park has been one of the best places to camp. Growing up we camped here a lot. There is so much to do here! There is a beach for kids, fishing spots, hiking, and walking! We always see wildlife. There are bathrooms and showers. Dogs are allowed in the campground and on the trails, but not on the beach. There are also programs available for kids! Some of my favorite childhood memories come from camping at Whitewater.
Very pretty setting next to a beautiful steam. Lots of hiking available and biking routes nearby. Seriously, there were no mosquitoes in the campground, day or 🌙.
This campground had a variety of sites. Our site was tucked back into some trees for privacy and the bathrooms had trails leading to them for easy access. The beach was a short walk and we were also able to hike to Chimney Rock.