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Things to See and Do in West Central Minnesota

Recently, I went on a road trip traveling through west central Minnesota. It is fun and interesting to see and learn about other parts of the state you live in. From the Northwoods to lake country to agricultural land to the southeast\’s karst region to rolling hills and flat land to rocks and areas that look like the Flint Hills of Kansas, Minnesota has it all.

Pipestone National Monument

\”For over 3,000 years, indigenous people have quarried the red stone at this site to make pipes used in prayer and ceremony – a tradition that continues to this day and makes this site sacred to many people.\”

This has always been on my to-do list. I didn\’t know what to expect when I visited a Minnesota U.S. National Park — Pipestone National Monument. So what is the basis for the park?

It\’s about the dedication and acknowledgment of the indigenous people in extreme western Minnesota and how this area of the state is unique with the red stone.

The place to start is the visitor\’s center. I loved the displays and the gentleman that was carving from the red rock located in the quarry. He explained what he was doing, gave us a brief explanation of the quarries and that he had been carving for well over 40 years.

There is a 3/4 mile paved trail to give you an up close visual of the quarries. Visiting the Pipestone National Monument reminded me of my visit to the Jeffers Petroglyphs.

Blue Mound State Park

Not far from the Pipestone National Park and located north of Luverne, MN (extreme southwestern Minnesota) is Blue Mound State Park. The topography, rocky terrain, makes this area unique. Another interesting note is Blue Mounds State Park has one of the last remaining roaming herds of purebred bison.

To see the bison, I would suggest taking a hike on the Western Loop Trail that will take you to an observation deck. You can also book a 90-minute educational drive through the bison habitat. The day I was there, I did not see any bison. This will be put back on my to-do list so I can come back to see them roaming.

So what will you find at Blue Mound State Park?

  • Sioux Quartzite Cliff
  • Grazing bison herd
  • Blooming prickly pear cacti during June and July
  • Native prairie grasses and flowers
  • Birdwatching such as nesting blue grosbeaks
  • Camping and hiking

If you love nature and history, this is a great place to visit

Bitton\’s Roadhouse

Another stop we made was Bitton\’s Roadhouse located in Garvin, MN, just south of Marshall, MN on highway 59. It was lunch time and we were hungry. So glad we stopped here! Gavin is a small, laid back town in west central Minnesota.

I ordered some comfort food, Creamy Mac and Cheese. My husband ordered the Sunrise burger and he said it is one of the best burgers he has ever eaten. If we are in the area, we will definitely be back.

While we were eating, we met David, one of the owners. He told us he makes his own BBQ sauce and they have the best BBQ ribs and prime rib in the state. I do not doubt that. He even sent us home with a sample of his BBQ sauce. So good!!!

I love how they embrace the history of the town and restaurant by the pictures and information they display. Here are a few pictures:

Minnesota\’s Ever Changing Topography

I think what surprised us the most is how much the topography changes. We saw everything from flat agricultural ground to hills to cliffs and everything in between. This was a trip we enjoyed and we will be back again!

Other Minnesota Sites to Visit

How to Enjoy Crosby-Cuyuna Minnesota

Exploring Minnesota\’s North Shore

8 Best Things to do in Blue Earth, MN

10 Best Things to do in Fairmont, MN

Stories Behind the Soudan Mines

5 Best Things about FarmAmerica

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