Minnesota Destinations


These are locations in Minnesota where native plants, birds, and other wildlife can be viewed. With very few exceptions, these destinations are open to the public.

Each destination includes driving directions, photos, and lists of plants and wildlife found on the site. Many include a printable map with GPS coordinates. Many also include videos.

More than 300 printable maps show GPS coordinates of site boundaries, trails, streams, and significant landmarks. Most also include a map of native plant communities.

Visitors can share their own photos, videos, plant and wildlife sightings, and other observations.

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Recent Additions/Updates

Terrace Oaks West


Terrace Oaks West

At 230 acres, Terrace Oaks West is the largest park in the City of Burnsville park system. The entire park is oak woodland. There are 3.8 miles of summer hiking trails, 2.5 miles of mountain bike trails, about 6.8 miles of winter ski trails, and about 1.7 miles of winter hiking trails.

With the help of Great River Greening, 19 acres at the northwest corner of the park are undergoing restoration to oak savanna. The project began in 2014 and is expected to be completed in 2017. Invasive woody species, including buckthorn and boxelder, have been cut, reduced to wood chips, and carted away. The area will undergo a controlled burn to stimulate the growth of understory vegetation. Following that, it will be seeded with 6 to 8 species of prairie grasses and 20 to 30 species of wildflowers.


Pilot Knob


Pilot Knob

Pilot Knob is an historic site in Mendota Heights on the east bank of the Minnesota River. Two overlooks provide spectacular vistas of Fort Snelling, the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, and the Minneapolis skyline. A half-mile of paved and mowed trails include interpretive signs that describe the history of the site. The trail connects to Dakota County’s Big Rivers Regional Trail, a paved bike trail. Bald Eagles and migrating raptors are often seen flying overhead.

Pilot Knob is known to the Dakota as Oheyawahi, or “a hill much visited.” It served as a burial site for for Dakota Villages along the Minnesota River. It is here that the Dakota signed a treaty in 1851 that transferred millions of acres of land to the United States. The City of Mendota Heights acquired 25 acres on the hill in 2006. Overhead power lines were buried underground, brush was cut and removed, prairie was restored, and wildflowers and oak trees were planted.

Photo by Kirk Nelson

Tamarack Nature Center


Tamarack Nature Center

Tamarack Nature Center in White Bear Township is one of three units that make up the 862-acre Bald Eagle-Otter Lakes Regional Park. Its 320 acres encompass oak-aspen woodland, restored prairie, and marsh and other wetlands. It has four miles of hiking trails that include an interpretive trail and boardwalks over wetlands. In the winter, some of the trails are groomed for cross-country skiing. Osprey and Bald Eagle have been seen flying overhead. For the kids it has Discovery Hollow Nature Play Area & Garden and many programs offering educational opportunities.


Leif Mountain


Leif Mountain

Leif Mountain is a The Nature Conservancy preserve in Kandiyohi County. Its 801 acres protect a diverse mix of habitats including wet, mesic, and dry prairies, oak forest, cattail marsh, and three lakes.

There are three parking areas on Leif Mountain giving access to three very different areas, and visitors should consider exploring all three. The south area is 47 acres that includes about 20 acres of wet and mesic prairie, a lake, 2 ponds, and cattail marsh. A narrow dry land bridge leads to a wooded peninsula jutting into the marsh.

The southwest area is 27 acres. It includes dry, mesic, and wet prairies, a small woodland, and cattail marsh.

The west parking area is about 340 acres. It includes two unnamed lakes, 80 acres of dry prairie, 13½ acres of oak forest, and a mix of mesic prairie, wet prairie, and cattail marsh. The high quality forest has common and rare woodland species not found other places on the preserve.

Several species with conservation status in Minnesota have been seen on Leif Mountain, including American White Pelican, Bald Eagle, Red-shouldered Hawk, regal fritillary, and American ginseng.


Tympanuchus Prairie


Tympanuchus Prairie

Tympanuchus Prairie is a The Nature Conservancy preserve in Polk County. It was acquired with funds provided by the Outdoor Heritage Fund, which was created by the 2008 Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. Its 160 acres of mesic and wet prairie protect habitat for the Greater Prairie Chicken, a species of special concern in Minnesota. is bordered on the east and in part on the north by Tympanuchus Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The southeast corner is adjacent to Thorson Prairie WMA.

Visitors to Tympanuchus Prairie this week (8/28 to 9/3/2016) will see many prairie plants at or near their peak blooming time. These include flat-topped, New England, smooth blue, white heath, and white panicled asters; Maximillian and stiff sunflowers; bottle and lesser fringed gentians; and giant, grass-leaved, late, Riddel’s, and stiff goldenrods. If they are lucky, they may even see a Great Plains ladies’ tresses in full bloom.


Other Recent Additions/Updates



Pelan Prairie

Belgium Prairie

River Warren Outcrops SNA

Mississippi National River & Recreation Area
Coldwater Spring

Spring Lake Regional Park

Greenwater Lake SNA

Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo

Brownsville Bluff SNA

  Margherita Preserve-Audubon Prairie
Margherita Preserve-Audubon Prairie

Coming Soon


National Wetlands Inventory maps









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