Split Rock Creek State Park

Split Rock Creek State Park: A Lakeside Retreat

Split Rock Creek State Park, not to be confused with its north shore counterpart. This Park is the exact opposite end of the state, in southwestern Minnesota.

Split Rock Creek State Park is a great place to explore with the family. It has a great hiking trail, picnic spots, and of course swimming. You can even fish along the lakeshore.

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Split Rock Creek State Park

When trying to decide on Split Rock Creek State Park or Camden for the weekend, Split Rock Creek was our day trip location. It ended up working great because of the great swimming beach to cool off at.

The plan was simple, find a parking spot big enough to park our trailer, then treat the day like we would if we were camping.

It worked great, even though there wasn’t an official trailer spot. We were able to take advantage of all the campground amenities, like hiking trails, and historic places.

The Split Rock Creek State Park Hiking Club Trail

Miles: 2.6 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Total Miles Hiked: 98.9 miles

The Split Rock Creek State Park hiking trail is unique in that it takes you through the entire park. Half the trail is in open prairie grass with little cover.

The other half warps around the campground and lakeshore with some cover. The sun was incredibly hot this weekend, so I made sure to grab neck warps for the family.

I couldn’t believe how much of a difference they make while hiking. I highly recommend getting some if you overheat easily. The hike itself was very enjoyable, with great views along the way.

Before you go, make sure to download the Split Rock Creek State Park Map from Avenza. They have free GPS enabled PDF maps for each park. This gives you the peace of mind you are in the right place at all times! Plus they don’t require the internet to work.

Stone Water Tower

Along the hiking trail is a Stone Water Tower sitting on the top of the prairie hill. During the spring this hill explodes with wildflowers.

I must have just missed them, but it still provides a great overlook of the park from the vantage point.

Stone Water Tower Split Rock Creek State Park
Split Rock Creek Bench

Walk across the Dam

At the South end of the parks is the Dam Overlook. The dam was erected to create a recreational water source in a part of the state that doesn’t have much. It was built in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration.

It’s constructed of Sioux Quartzite that was quarried locally.

On the other side of the dam, is a stair-step structure that the water cascades down. This is one of the most stunning areas of the park. The structure is massive. At the far end of the dam, is a small loop trail.

Bridge near the Dam at Split Rock Creek State Park

Other Things to Do At Split Rock Creek State Park

Time for a Swim?

After a day of hiking, its steamy weather, there is no better way to cool off than to jump in the lake. In this part of the state, there are only a few places to go for lake access. Split Rock Creek State Park sits alongside Split Rock Lake.

A favorite thing that visors like to do is swim in its cool waters. And that’s exactly where I was after the hike. This year, we have started to embrace camper life.

Pulling the travel trailer, we parked at the far end of the State Park and used it to make lunch in for a picnic. Then as our own private changing area for swimming.

The swimming beach had all the amenities anyone could need. There was a changing area, shower, and roped-off swimming section. It seemed everyone in the area was taking advantage of it.

The roped section is shallow enough for just about everyone and weed-free.

Split Rock Creek Swimming Beach

Find a Private Fishing Spot

Split Rock Creek State Park has multiple fishing docks as well as ramps for lake access at the visitors center, paddle boats you can pick up, and loaner equipment to get you started.

Fish For Free in Minnesota State Parks
Did you know if you have a Minnesota driver’s license you can fish for free in Minnesota State Parks? The only expectation is if the body of water requires a trout stamp, or if you are in a Recreation Area. To fish for free you must be:

1. Fishing from shore or wading in water within the state park; or
2. Fishing through the ice, from a boat or a float on a designated lake that is completely encompassed within a Minnesota state park.

Click here for the official statue.

Fishing Peir

Paddle the Lake

Split Rock Lake is a small lake, making it a great place for water recreation. Take full advantage of it size with small watercraft like a paddle boat, canoe, or kayak.

Split Rock Creek State Park rents them for visitors from the front office if you want to give it a try. Or bring your own watercraft and explore the lake on your own. The calm waters make it perfect for beginners.

Due to the size of Split Rock Lake, try out Paddleboarding. If you are looking for an inexpensive inflatable board, check out my review on Goosehill Inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboard. They are one of the best-rated affordable options out there.

Paddling Beach

Quick Answers about Split Rock Creek State Park?

Does Split Rock Creek State Park have showers?

Yes, both at the beach and in the campground. The showers are accessible and opened seasonally

How much does it cost to visit Split Rock Creek State Park?

All Minnesota State Parks are free with an annual permit. You can buy them in person or online for $35. If you are planning to visit for the day, expect to pay around $7.

Throughout the year, there are a few free days and other discounts you can check out too.

Camping costs anywhere from $25-35 a night.

Pro Tip: Visit any State Park during one of their free days. Check out Minnesota State Park Pass Hacks, Tips, and Free Days to find all the days

What else is there to do near Split Rock Creek State Park?

Split Rock Creek State Park is nearby Pipestone National Monument. This is a great National Park in Minnesota that you have to visit. Free to enter and dogs are allowed on the hiking trails. We’ve gone back a few times to enjoy it.

Check out Visiting Pipestone National Monument: What to Expect for more information.

Would I go back to Split Rock Creek State Park?

If I am in the area again, I would love to stop by the beach and even get on the water with a kayak. I would not want to get on the water until it’s a few degrees cooler out. Topping out the day at 97 is a killer to hike on.

It was definitely a popular destination for the locals. While in the area, make sure to stop by Pipestone National Monument. The park has a breathtaking walk through the prairie, along the cliffside, and by a waterfall.

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