Chimney Rock


Trip Date: Friday, May 15th, 2020
Last Updated: Monday, May 18th, 2020
By Ricky Holzer

Hike Information

Rating ★★★☆☆(3/5)
Overall Difficulty Easy
Navigation Difficulty     Easy
Distance 0.2 miles roundtrip
Time 15 minutes
Terrain A few hills
Best Seasons All
Family Friendly Yes
Dog Friendly No
Accessible No


Hike Summary

Standing almost 30 feet tall, Chimney Rock is a unique sandstone formation -- the only remaining rock column in Dakota County after Castle Rock and Lone Rock have eroded away. Efforts to preserve this landmark are relatively recent, and the land here was purchased by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in 2011. It is now a Scientific and Natural Area (SNA), one of the few in Minnesota that preserve a geologic feature. Stop by and see the unique rock formations pictured below!

Chimney Rock poking through the forest

Chimney Rock poking through the forest

Unlike state parks or forests, the land in SNAs is usually undeveloped with no established trails. Usage is pretty much limited to hiking, and dogs are prohibited. Chimney Rock SNA surrounds a private home, so be respectful and avoid crossing onto their property.

While you can see Chimney Rock from the road, there's more than just this one column to see! Follow a use-trail up the hill for a closer view, then continue on that trail as it circles some more sandstone formations, as pictured below.
Years of erosion sculpted these sandstone formations

Years of erosion sculpted these sandstone formations

After glacial ice exposed the underlying bedrock, years of erosion by wind and water created these formations. As evidenced by the many names carved into the rock, sandstone is very soft and fragile. This also means it is terrible for rock climbing!
A red sandstone formation on the backside of the hill

A red sandstone formation on the backside of the hill

At one point during the loop, you can take a use-trail to the top of these shorter formations. There isn't much of a view, however.
This formation looks like a stack of stone blocks

This formation looks like a stack of stone blocks

After circling the rock formations, feel free to explore the untouched nature in the surrounding area. Wander trail-free and enjoy this special place. Connect with me using the social media links below and share your adventures!

Important Information

Dogs are not allowed in Minnesota Scientific and Natural Areas in order to protect the fragile environments they preserve. You can visit any time of the year with no restrictions. Given its out of the way location, it's unlikely you'll see anyone else while visiting Chimney Rock.


From Minneapolis, take Interstate 94 east to St. Paul. Take the exit for U.S. Highway 61 heading south. In Hastings, turn right onto County Road 47, then turn left onto Jorgen Avenue. Turn left onto Joan Avenue. Continue straight as the road becomes unpaved, and watch for an open prairie with a sign for Chimney Rock Scientific and Natural Area on the right. After the sign, look for a pullout on the left side of the road, and you should be able to see Chimney Rock through the trees.

Google Maps Directions

Parking, Fees, and Facilities

Parking is free! There are no facilities here.

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External Links