Moose Lake State Park
There is a Moose Lake nearby, but the focus of Moose Lake State Park (218/485-5420, www.stayatmnparks.com for information and reservations), both geographically and recreationally, is Echo Lake, with its picnic area and small swimming beach. Fishing is principally for largemouth bass, northern, and panfish. Rowboats and canoes can be rented from the park office.
The campground, just east of the lake, has 33 mostly shady drive-in sites (20 electric), plus a pair of secluded walk-ins.
This area is known for its abundance of agates, and the Moose Lake Agate and Geological Interpretive Center discusses and displays them. Collecting is not permitted in the park, but the office can direct you to some bounteous sites nearby.
Five miles of seldom-used hiking trail and seven miles of groomed cross-country-ski trail lead over the gently rolling hills covering the rest of the park’s 1,194 acres. Tops is the westernmost of the 2.5-mile Rolling Hills Trail’s three loops. It circles a pond and is the best spot to look for wildlife, including beaver and bald eagle, which have nested along it in recent years. With almost no development along the shore, the two-mile Echo Lake Trail also has its moments.
Unfortunately you can’t escape the hum of interstate traffic on any of them. For bikers, a paved spur of the Willard Munger State Trail leads 2.5 miles down to the park.
© Tim Bewer from Moon Minnesota, 3rd Edition