Ottawa Bluffs


Area and County

    Le Sueur County
    Southwest Minnesota

Driving Directions

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62 acres


 Printable Maps with GPS coordinates

Printable map    

N44 21.788, W93 56.062

Hiking Trails

There are no maintained trails.


No hunting

Ecological Classification Province  

Eastern Broadleaf Forest Province

Ecological Classification

Minnesota & NE Iowa Morainal


Big Woods

Land Type Association(s)

Cordova Moraine
Le Sueur Alluvial Plain

Native Plant Communities1

Dry Hill Prairie (Southern)

Pin Oak - Bur Oak Woodland

Natural Features

Prairie, oak savanna, oak woodland

Ownership The Nature Conservancy logo    

The Nature Conservancy

Minnesota River Valley National Scenic Byway


The 62-acre Ottawa Bluffs Preserve consists of a patchwork of dry hill prairie and oak woodland on a steep bluff of the Minnesota River Valley. Visitors who undertake the steep and strenuous climb to the top of the bluff will be rewarded with an expansive view of the Minnesota River Valley and the town of St. Peter. An American Indian burial mound is at the top of the bluff. Western harvest mouse and a species of jumping spider, both species of special concern, and five state listed plant species have been found on the preserve.

The site has been owned since 1975 by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). The hill prairie, unsuitable for farming or pasture, remains mostly undisturbed by man. The previous owner began building a road from the bluff top to the base, but abandoned the effort less than half completed. The former roadbed is now grassy prairie and an eroded ravine. Decades of fire suppression have allowed woody species to encroach on and eliminate parts of the native prairie. Since 1989, volunteers for TNC have been working to remove juniper and other invasive woody species; check further erosion of the ravine; and restore a small part of oak woodland to its pre-settlement condition, oak savanna.









Visitor Photos

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  Ottawa Bluffs   Ottawa Bluffs
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East Wood Routed Sign

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West Wood Routed Sign

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Nature Conservancy Mailbox with Visitor Log

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Information Sign

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View from the Top

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Oak Savanna Restoration

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Dry Hill Prairie (Southern)

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  Ottawa Bluffs   Ottawa Bluffs
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Pin Oak - Bur Oak Woodland

  Ottawa Bluffs   Ottawa Bluffs









Visitor Videos

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Other Videos

  Minnesota River Final Draft 4112.wmv

Published on Apr 5, 2012

A 26 mile journey from Mankato to the Ottawa Bluffs





Visitor Observations

Share your sightings, observations, or impressions of this destination. Observations


Amphibians northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens) northern leopard frog


American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

Northern Cardinal

Fungi and Lichens Fan-shaped Jelly Fungus (Dacryopinax spathularia) Fan-shaped Jelly Fungus

Insects and Arachnids

One arachnid species with conservation status in Minnesota has been seen here:


Special concern

a species of jumping spider (Habronattus texanus)


monarch (Danaus plexippus)



One mammal species with conservation status in Minnesota has been seen here:


Special concern

western harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys megalotis)


In early April American pasqueflower can be found on the south-facing slopes of the prairie.


Five plant species with conservation status in Minnesota are found here:



butternut (Juglans cinerea)


Special concern

beaked spike-rush (Eleocharis rostellata)

hair-like beak-rush (Rhynchospora capillacea)

sterile sedge (Carex sterilis)

whorled nut-rush (Scleria verticillata)


Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Plant List


Plants frequently found in:

Dry Hill Prairie (Southern) UPs13d

Pin Oak - Bur Oak Woodland FDs37b


black-eyed susan

Canadian woodnettle

common mullein


prairie rose

silky aster

white snakeroot





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