Minneopa State Park is located on Minneopa Creek about 1 mile from the Minnesota River near Mankato. It not only features a beautiful waterfall but it also has a bison conservation area and a historic mill. In 2016 we saw close to 10 bison in the middle of the large field.
Minneopa means ‘water falling twice’ in Dakota and just above the main falls (40 feet) there is a smaller falls. The loop trail is closed due to erosion so you will have to return over the bridge.
Rating and length – easy – 15 minute round trip
Accessibility – main viewing areas are wheelchair accessible
How to get there – Take Hwy 169 from Mankato and turn onto county road 69 (Gadwall Road). Minneopa Falls will be on the south side of county road 69. The campground, Seppmann Mill and bison enclosure will be on the north side of Hwy 68.
The hike – It will only take a few minutes to reach the bridge from the parking lot. Immediately upstream of the bridge is the smaller falls and you will be standing directly on top of the main falls. You can continue around on the path to a nice viewpoint of the main. Stairs lead down to the creek and there are dirt footpaths (in poor shape) that can be taken on either side of the creek all the way to the waterfalls. Of particular interest is the sandstone cliff on the south side of the creek where many have carved their names into the soft rock. Please don’t carve any additional names.
Seasonality – It can dry up during the summer if it hasn’t rained for awhile
Cost – State park permit required. $5/day or $25/year
GPS – N44.148513 W94.092672
Date visited – 6/25/2016