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Father Hennepin State Park

Park Info

Father Hennepin State Park is located on the southeast shore of Mille Lacs Lake in Isle, MN and has 320 acres of hiking, camping, fishing, swimming and picnic areas. The park also offers a playground, volleyball court, snowshoeing, park office, interpretive exhibit, gift shop, and ice and firewood sales.

If you’re here to hike, there are 4.5 miles to explore, with 0.75 miles being wheelchair accessible. Snowshoeing can be done throughout the park during the winter months.

Wildlife more you’re thing? Well, Father Hennepin has a lot to offer. You can find hawks, osprey, owls, grouse, eagles, beaver, racoon, mink, and deer too. As well as smaller animals like squirrel and chipmunks. If you’re into fishing, Northern, Walleye, Bluegills, Sunfish, and Bass are found here so try your luck! Get those fish tales.

The diverse landscape has a lot to offer, especially if you are into trees. Here you will see aspen, birch, hardwood trees, pines, conifer bogs, and swamps. You can also find the dam that created Lake Mille Lacs here!

If you are wanting to camp here, there are several options to choose from. The park offers drive-in and electric sites, wheelchair accessible sites, and group camping. There are shower buildings, flush toilets, and vaulted toilets offered as well as a dump station if you’re using a camper or RV.

There is a lot to see and learn about this amazing park, so please check out the website and check out the visitor center when you go!

All of this info came from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website, so credit where credit is due. Click here to view the original source.

Accessibility of Facility

Parking

I ended up parking in two different spots while trying to decide which trail I wanted to do. The first was a gravel lot with marked spots–handicapped included. It was near a building that was filled with picnic tables (Lakeside Picnic Shelter) and the vaulted toilet pictured above. The second was at the trail I decided to do. It was paved and clearly marked–handicapped included here too.

Bathrooms

The vaulted toilet I used was large enough to use mobility devices inside. It was a pretty basic vaulted toilet.

There was another set of toilets off the trail I hiked. I didn’t use these, so I can’t speak to their condition. However, they are in a building (pictured above) and are near the swimming beach. The website doesn’t specify if they are modern flush toilets or not.

Getting to the trail

I used AllTrails to navigate to the trailhead, since I was not great at reading the map. It starts just off the parking lot at the swimming beach/picnic shelter. It wasn’t marked as Pope Point Trail, but it was the only trail there so…

Trail Info

Pope Point Trail is an out and back trail that is about 1.10 miles long with 16 feet of elevation. It took me about 35 minutes to complete it. This trail starts right off the parking lot and there are stairs (pictured above) to get to it. It is made up of hard packed dirt, so navigating wasn’t too difficult for me. There are uneven spots, so keep that in mind if you’re not as steady on your feet. Overall, the trail is fairly flat.

Along the beginning of the trail, you’ll find the beach, picnic area, and toilets I mentioned earlier. There is a bench partway through the trail, which is a nice place to rest and listen to the frogs. If you’re lucky, you may see some Common Terns floating around. I thought they were ducks at first until I listened closer to their calls.

At the end of the trail was Pope Point–the trail’s namesake. It was a small area of rocky beach/shoreline on Mille Lacs Lake. There were a couple of islands that I found out were nature the smallest nature preserves. The aim of these is to preserve the Common Tern, along with other variations of the species. I had no idea this was here, so it was a cool fun fact for me.

Another fun fact: I was out between weather events. Thankfully, my timing worked out and the majority of my day didn’t leave me soggy. However, I did plan to sit on the beach and get blasted by the cold April wind while eating my orange when I finished, but on my way back the rain decided to come across the lake. I was watching it as I walked so I wouldn’t be caught off guard, which ended up being a good call. I decided to hightail it to the car instead and made it right before it started to rain.

On my rating scale of easy to hard, which you can find here, this trail would fall into the easy category. It was pretty flat and I didn’t need my sticks or anything. I had minimal shortness of breath and was less fatigued on this one than I was on the Mille Lacs Kathio trail, which I did earlier in the day.


Do you spy Currently Unnamed CardyBear? If you spot him, put FOUND in the comments 😊

Be safe out there! REMEMBER YOUR MAPS AND PASSPORT STAMPS!! Seeyalaterbye <3

Also, if you feel called to help a sista out with her travels, check this out!

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