- Minnesota encompasses a diverse landscape with glaciated lakes, dense woodlands and shortgrass prairies. It can be split into four regions: northern, central, southwestern and southeastern. Northern Minnesota is comprised of heavily glaciated region of intricate waterways. This region borders Ontario and Manitoba, Canada. It includes the vast acreage of Superior National Forest in the east, Voyageurs National Park and four Minnesota State Forests. This region also include the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Grand Portage National Monument.
Copyright: National Park Service
Voyageurs National Park
The central portion of Minnesota contains the lakes region, which is slightly more developed than the northern reaches of the state. It contains several state parks and forests, including Itasca State Park where the source of the Mississippi lies. The 650,000 acre Chippewa National Forest can be found in this area, as well as the 100-mile Paul Bunyan multi-use trail, which extends from Brainerd to Bemidji. Minneapolis and Duluth are population centers within this region.
Southwestern Minnesota contains vast farm and prairie lands. Small state parks dot the landscape here and the Minnesota River crosses the northern stretches of the area. Pipestone National Monument, portrays the Indian heritage of the prairies and preserves 283 acres surrounding a cherished quarry.
The southeastern corner of the state is contained on the east by the Mississippi. The Great River Road is a scenic drive, which lies on both sides of the river. It passes through several river communities and affords excellent glimpses into the character of the region. The Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood Forest covers the eastern portion of this region. Interspersed within the forest are smaller parks and facilities which interpret natural and historical attractions.
Recreation - Minnesota is well known for its diverse fishing terrain. The northern and central regions boast over 11,000 lakes many of them navigable. The southern regions of the state support many hiking, biking and camping facilities.
Climate - Minnesota lies so far north that winter is the longest season of the year. There are many recreation pursuits to enjoy during this season, but be sure to dress appropriately so that you can enjoy them. Temperatures often dip below freezing during winter and the state receives an average of 50 to 60 inches of snow. Spring, summer and fall can be very wet and rain gear will be necessary for travel during these seasons. Spring and fall tend to be shortened with variable weather, due to long winters, but offer less crowded trails and campgrounds. Summer temperatures average between 70 and 85 degrees F. Night time temperatures dip near 55 and a light jacket is recommended. July and August are the height of the tourist season.