|Distance||1 mile roundtrip|
- Old-growth white pine forest
- Mississippi River views
This state park is a hidden gem filled with giant old-growth white pines and wild rice along the Mississippi River and is definitely worth a stop if you are ever near Grand Rapids. The trail is part of the Hiking Club and you can collect another password while circling the entire park on a short but scenic 1 mile hike (this state park is the 4th smallest by area in Minnesota). The park is named for Henry Schoolcraft, the first European to discover the Headwaters of the Mississippi; he is believed to have camped in this location during that famous journey. Interpretive signs are scattered throughout the park and will inform you more about this history and wildlife of the area.
This hike is perfect for the whole family, and dogs are allowed on leash. I visited early Sunday afternoon and the park was empty -- the only other person I saw was the campground host and his cute little dog.
The trailhead is clearly marked with a blue Hiking Club sign, and the trail begins by following the Mississippi River heading northwest. Openings in the trees on the right side will provide you with pretty views of the marshy river much like the picture below.
This hike is surprisingly fun and scenic. If you agree, be sure to let me know in the comment section below and use #nocoastbestcoast on Twitter and Instagram!
From the south, take Minnesota Highway 6 heading north then turn left on County Road 65. From the north, take Minnesota Highway 6 heading south, then turn right on County Road 65. If you are coming from Deer River or other areas west, take County Road 11 (also called Deer River Shortcut) heading south from U.S. Highway 2, then turn right on Minnesota Highway 6 and right on County Road 65.
Once on County Road 65, turn right onto 88th Avenue, then turn right onto Schoolcraft Lane -- this is a dirt road but it is well maintained and easily passable in a sedan. There will be signs directing you to Schoolcraft State Park at each turn. There will be a kiosk on the right side of the road when you enter. Pay your fee here, then continue straight on the main park road until you reach the parking lot by the picnic area.
Google Maps Directions
Parking, Fees, and Facilities
Vehicle entry fees are $7 per day. Unlike other Minnesota State Parks, there is no park office where you can pay your fees. Instead, you must use the self service envelopes to pay and deposit the money into a slot -- this is one of those situations where purchasing an annual pass for $35 ahead of time comes in handy if you don't have exact change. There is a picnic area, water pump, and pit toilet near the small dirt parking lot.