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Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Park Info

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park is located in Onamia, MN and is a historical landmark that has so much to offer. There’s even a fire tower to climb! If you’re the climbing type, go to the top and take in the beauty of the lake. The park offers hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sledding, ice fishing, canoe/kayaking, swimming, and camping. There is also a picnic area, picnic shelter, canoe access, warming house, sliding hill, park office, visitor center, interpretive exhibit, naturalist programs, gift shop, equipment rentals, firewood/ice sales, and pay phones. If you’re into golf or looking for places to refuel after your outdoorsy activities, there are several options nearby.

Hiking

If you’re looking to hike, there are 35 miles of wooded trails to explore. About one mile of it is wheelchair accessible and 1/2-1 mile is self-guided in the boardwalk area. There is also 27 miles of horse trails that are open in every season, except winter.

Winter Activities

Speaking of winter…the park has 19.8 miles of cross-country skiing with trails ranging from easy to difficult. If you’re a skier, you probably have an idea of what that entails. I am not a skier, so I have no clue. Snowmobilers have 19 miles of wooded trails, which connects to the Grant-In-Aid statewide trail. There are three trails specifically for snowshoers, but they can go anywhere in the park that isn’t a groomed trail.

Camping

If you’re wanting to camp here, there are 70 drive-in sites, 3 pull-through sites, 22 electric sites, 2 wheelchair accessible sites, 4 backpacking sites, 3 walk-in sites, 10 horse camp sites, 2 group camping sites, and 5 camper cabins. There is also accessible showers, accessible flush toilets, vault toilets, and a dump site.

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

Parking for the trail I did was on a gravel pad that resembled a giant cul-de-sac at the visitor center. There were no marked spots, so I parked in a considerate way and went from there.

Bathrooms

I used the bathrooms in the visitor center. They were modern flush toilets and were accessible for those with mobility devices. The flushers were large buttons on the wall and they required a good amount of force to get them to work. I ended up using my foot, tbh. There were grab bars in the handicapped stall, motion sensor hand dryers, and the sink had lever style handles for both hot and cold. There were no door buttons, however the door did swing out, so keep that in mind.

Getting to the trail

To get to the trail, I followed the signs as well as used AllTrails. This one is located down a dirt road and was marked with a sign. It was unclear if I could park on the side of the road, so I walked from the visitor center to the trailhead. It wasn’t far, but it was on a slight incline.

Trail Info

I hiked Tower Trail Loop. It is about 1.20 miles and had an elevation of 59 feet (outside of the fire tower, if you decided to climb it.) It took me a total of an hour to complete the loop plus the fire tower because I decided to give it a shot. I took my time and rested at every landing in order to make it. That being said, the inclines of the trail and the 113 steps left me with shortness of breath and shaky quads.

This trail is a dirt nature trail, so it had leaf cover, rocks, sticks, and mud to maneuver around. The inclines start at the beginning of the trail and are spread throughout the whole thing, so keep that in mind if you struggle like I do. I visited here in April, so things were pretty wet, especially in the lower areas. Bringing your sticks (I finally remembered to grab mine) and wearing solid shoes, like hiking boots or something that isn’t mesh so your feet stay dry would be a great idea.

I did wear something mesh…and white, so don’t be like me if you can help it. Thankfully, I was able to keep my feet dry and shoes as white as there were coming into it because I went slow and have increased my stick using skills.

There was no where to stop and sit on this one–aside from the ground, so keep that in mind too. Picnic tables are aplenty at the visitor center, so you can rest there before and after.

I didn’t see any wildlife this time, but I did hear frogs chirping and small rodents running through the leaves. I also did not see a soul outside of the park office, which was okay with me. It’s been a long month or so and quiet was nice.

As for my rating, I would classify what I did as moderate, especially if you’re going to do the fire tower climb. Personally, I don’t think the view was worth the climb, but it could be different when things aren’t dormant. It was said to be spectacular and I didn’t find it to be. But see for yourself and make the call.

For the sake of transparency, I am currently tapering my prednisone (on 7mg now!) and have not been training like I’d planned to prepare for this season (personal life struggles), so those are factors in this decision. I am in pretty typical shape for me though, so I doubt my rating would change if these things weren’t the case.


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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