Interstate State Park - Minnesota - Winter
Taylors Falls Travel Blog› entry 1 of 3 › view all entries
Interstate State Park contains some of the most unique geology in Minnesota, and perhaps even the world. About 1100 million years ago, this area was part of the mid-continental rift where the North American plate began pulling apart. This rift stretched from Ontario, through Minnesota and Wisconsin, and into Iowa and Nebraska. As the continent was pulling apart, the area was filled with lava flows which formed the basalt rocks you see in the park. The tough basalt resisted erosion when the area was later covered with shallow seas. And then the glaciers came. Ten thousand years ago, the glaciers began to melt and Glacial Lake Duluth (present day Lake Superior) began filling with the melt water, but could not drain due to glacial ice.
Interstate Park contains the world's most concentrated area of potholes - over 100 potholes in an area of 20 acres. The park also contains the world's deepest known pothole at approximately 60 feet deep and 15 feet wide. Another pothole is suspected of being up to 80 feet deep.
The Minnesota side has a 1/4 mile interpretive pothole trail that winds around the potholes with information signs. The parking lot is closed in winter and I'm guessing its because the trails are a little treacherous in winter. I was up in the area for a funeral and decided to make the day better by hiking in the park. I walked around the potholes area (by myself) and decided it wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done. The trails are not maintained in winter and some of the potholes are filled with snow so it would be easy to fall in one. The paths were very slippery and it could have been disasterous if I had slipped and fallen into a pothole since no one really knew where I was. But that didn't stop me from crawling all over the rocks. At some points I had to pull myself up using the railing - at least then I knew where the potholes were. I spent about an hour crawling around before moving on. This place is incredible at any season - just a little more dangerous during winter ;)