Making the journey to the headwaters of the Mississippi has been on my list for several years, as Colette had visited as a child – mandatory for all Minnesotans.
Itasca State Park is Minnesota’s oldest state park, established in 1891. From here, the Mississippi River begins its 2,552 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico.
The story is that a drop of water landing at the headwaters would make it to the Gulf of Mexico in roughly 90 days.
One of the highlights is stepping across the Mississippi River, a knee-deep 18 feet, compared to 11 miles wide at its widest point in Lake Winnibigoshish (Lake Winny) and 2 miles wide at its widest navigable point in Lake Pepin.
Boating, canoeing, hiking, the historic Douglas Lodge, and a nice 220 site campground – plenty to do within the park once you’ve done the mandatory headwater crossing.
Mississippi River Facts from the National Park Service.
Itasca State Park
On a quest to find the source.
Through the Woods
Tall pines in the Preachers Grove in Itasca State Park
A typical Minnesota lake view.
Colette gazes out at the blue waters of Lake Itasca in Itasca State Park.
The Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center.
The Ojibwe Indians believe that women are Caretakers of the Water. The sculpture is releasing a clutch of small turtles from a basket. Her flowing hair symbolizes flowing water, and the turtles symbolize the cycle of life.
The source of the Mighty Mississippi.
Not So Mighty
The Not-So-Mighty Mississippi River starts here in Itasca State Park. It’s a far cry from the Mississippi Delta that we drove past a few weeks back!
The steps up the Aiton Heights Fire Tower are worth the effort with views to the horizon.
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