Discover the natural beauty of the Mille Lacs area with Fido at the Father Hennepin State Park! Nestled on the southeast shore of the Mille Lacs Lake, this 320-acre site is composed of hardwood forest and sandy beach, offering various recreational opportunities for two- and four-legged visitors alike!
The state park is named after Franciscan Recollect priest Father Louis Hennepin, who was the first to write extensively about the area in 1680. One of the park's most pawpular features is the quarter-mile natural sand beach, which is considered the best designated beaches on the lake. Unfurtunately, doggos are not allowed on the beach (or in buildings), but they're welcome to tag along anywhere else as long as they remain on a 6-foot leash and are cleaned up after.
You and your furry pal can still enjoy the water by hitting the Pope's Point Trail. This half-mile, gravel path follows the shoreline of the Mille Lacs Lake and leads to the Pope's Point Overlook, where you and Fido will be treated to a panoramic view of the water. Keep your eyes peeled for rare common terns flying above the lake, too. To see the park's wildlife and spring wildflowers, tackle the Hiking Club Trail, a 2-mile loop that weaves through the woods and along the lake. Some of the birds and mammals that you and your pup may encounter include ruffed grouse, ospreys, owls, beavers, raccoons, squirrels, and albino deer. Be sure to check your pooch thoroughly for wood and deer ticks after your hike.
If you need to rest your feet and paws, stop by one of the two picnic areas to recharge while taking in peaceful views of the water. Two dog-friendly campgrounds are also available should you wish to stay for a few days. Remember to bring food, water, doggie waste bags, insect repellent, sunscreen, a camera, and cash for the vehicle permit, so that you and Fido can have an unfurgettable time at the Father Hennepin State Park!