Your road trip from Minneapolis to Fort Stevenson State Park will take you about a day of driving if you do not make any long stops along the way. However, this stretch of the northern Midwest features a variety of natural and historical treasures. Before these areas were settled by pioneers, there were miles upon miles of rolling prairies, and bison herds blanketed the plains. Today, there are preserves of the remnants of these landscapes and managed herds of bison. By taking the time to explore these areas on your route, you can imagine in a small way how early North America looked to the original inhabitants and to the European settlers.
This Minneapolis to Fort Stevenson State Park RV road trip is only around 500 miles, but it will take you through many beautiful areas of the states of Minnesota and North Dakota. You will also be fortunate enough to be in the close vicinity of two sites in the National Park System.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is named for the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt was known for his support and advocacy of conservation, largely due to his travels as a young man in undeveloped areas of the U.S., such as the Dakota Territory. The park is in western North Dakota at the juxtaposition of the Great Plains and the Badlands and consists of three separate units that are connected by the Maah Daah Hey Trail. It includes the Little Missouri River, the Painted Canyon, and the Maltese Cross Cabin, a former residence of President Roosevelt. The park is inhabited by bison, elk, and prairie dogs. The Painted Canyon Trail takes you into the interior of the Painted Canyon, and the Scenic Loop winds through several overlooks and trails.
Voyageurs National Park
Voyageurs National Park is located in Northern Minnesota near the Canadian border and contains several lakes and islands. The park is a series of interconnected water highways, and you will need to plan on bringing your own boat, taking a park ranger boat tour, or reserving a watercraft. While there, you can see the Ellsworth Rock Gardens, which is a collection of abstract sculptures placed on a terraced rock outcropping. The Kettle Falls area of the park has a dam and a historic hotel. Both were built in the early 1900s.
The states of Minnesota and North Dakota are in the upper north of the Midwestern U.S., and you have several choices of state parks to add to your Minneapolis to Fort Stevenson State Park road trip.
Glacial Lakes State Park
Visitors to Glacial Lakes State Park have the unique opportunity to see some of the few remaining rolling prairies that once dominated the midwestern states. The park is located in the Leaf Mountains of Minnesota and contains both glacially formed hills and open prairies. Only one-tenth of 1% of the original Minnesota prairie remains today. Wildflowers and prairie grasses, such as bluestem grasses, Indian grass, coneflowers, pasque flowers, prairie clover, and goldenrods, are present in beautiful displays throughout the seasons. You can swim, fish, and boat (electric motorized) on Signalness Lake, ride horses and hike on the trails, and camp at either the trail center or at remote campsites. You can frequently see deer, beaver, squirrels, raccoons, wood ducks, woodpeckers, and coyotes.
Maplewood State Park
Maplewood State Park lies along tall tree-covered hills that provide views of small, pristine lakes that are nestled in deep valleys. The park contains a transitional landscape of both western prairies and eastern forests and has wildlife that is natural to each area. The park is a popular destination during the early fall due to the plentiful stands of sugar maple, oak, and basswood trees. There are eight lakes and also several ponds that afford various types of water-based activities, and there is an extensive multi-use trail system inside the park for both summer and winter activities. During the winter months, you can ski cross-country, snowmobile, and snowshoe on several of the trails. The park is home to 150 species of birds and 50 species of wildlife.
Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park
Established in 1907, Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park is the oldest state park in North Dakota. The park contains two main areas of reconstructed buildings and structures: the state historic site of On-a-Slant Village with six reconstructed Earthlodges and the reconstructed Commanding Officer's Quarters, Central Barracks, Stables, Commissary, and Granary of the United States Calvary. The Earthlodges are replicas of the earth lodges of the Mandan Indians, who abandoned their homes and were decimated by smallpox in the late 1700s. The 6th and 17th Infantries and the 7th Cavalry were stationed here in the 1870s, and General Armstrong Custer was the serving commander until his death during the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876. The original fort structures were dismantled by settlers after the fort was decommissioned. Visitors to this park can tour the historic sites, camp in cabins and tepees, and participate in recreational activities, including fishing, hiking, and horseback riding.
Minnehaha Park is a city park in Minneapolis that is home to Minnehaha Falls and the lower cascades of Minnehaha Creek. The park contains the stunning 53-foot Minnehaha Falls, limestone bluffs, and river overlooks and was designed by Horace Cleveland in 1883 as part of the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway. At that time, it was a part of the steamboat Upper Mississippi River "Fashionable Tour" of the 1880s. There are historic buildings, like the John H. Stevens House and the Minnehaha Princess Station train depot, and the Longfellow House is a constructed replica of the poet's home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Bison Monument and Frontier Village
This exciting venue is located between Fargo and Bismarck and contains much of interest. You can view the Bison Monument and tour the Frontier Village and the Bison Museum, and you can see real bison as well, including a rare albino bison. The Frontier Village contains many historic buildings that have been relocated here from other parts of the country, including a drugstore, barbershop, schoolhouse, jailhouse, church, and post office. The park also contains the writing shack of Louis L'Amour and the first railroad depot in the city of Jamestown. If you are visiting during the summer, don't miss the Saturday showing of a wild west shoot out.
The North Dakota State Capital
The North Dakota State Capital is a popular site to explore, and it is one of the more unique capitals in the U.S. The art deco building affords a great view of the city of Bismarck from the 18th-floor observation deck. The building is 241 feet tall and was constructed in the 1930s.
The areas of the two states you will be driving through are not the most populated, but there are several fairly large cities where you can stop and catch a break from the road on your journey.
St. Cloud is the 10th largest city in Minnesota and contains plenty of things to do. The Beaver Island Trail runs along a section of the Mississippi River and features the Beaver Islands, which were named for the large number of beaver dams on all the islands. The trail is five miles long and takes you through views of the Mississippi River, wooded areas, and downtown St. Cloud. The Munsinger Gardens and Clemens Gardens are two beautiful gardens that are located on the banks of the Mississippi River in the city. If you are looking for a campground, the St. Cloud Campground & RV Park is a large RV park that has propane and groceries for sale at the camp store. You can find various dump stations in the nearby localities.
Fargo is a well-known city in North Dakota. Visitors can tour the Plains Art Museum to see contemporary, Native American, and regional artworks in a renovated former warehouse. You can see both modern and vintage airplanes at the Fargo Air Museum and watch college football, theatrical shows, and concerts inside the Fargodome. The Red River Zoo has exhibits of red pandas, gray wolves, and other cold-climate species. The Governors' RV Park & Campground has a pool and a hot tub and is a quiet site that is still near the city of Fargo. If you need a dump station, there are several options for your convenience.
Bismarck is the capital city of North Dakota. It is a bustling city that contains several sites of significance, including the State Capital. You can visit the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum, the Former Governor's Mansion, and the Dakota Zoo. The KOA in Bismarck is a dependable KOA park, and the managers here plan many social events throughout the year. You can easily find dump stations around Bismarck.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Minneapolis to Fort Stevenson State Park, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Minneapolis to Fort Stevenson State Park.