Whether you have one hour or one weekend, the Flandrau State Park is well worth visiting with your canine companion. Setting foot and paw on this 1,000-acre site will make you feel like you're out in the middle of nowhere, when you're still in the city—just minutes from downtown, in fact!
Located in southwest New Ulm, this very pawpular state park comprises a variety of terrain, including oxbow marshes, wooded river bottoms, and open grasslands along the Big Cottonwood River. One of its main attractions during the summer is a unique, chlorinated, sand-bottom swimming pond. Unfurtunately, doggos are not permitted in this area and must stay outside of the pond sidewalk. But don't worry, there are other Fido-friendly activities that you and your pupper can enjoy!
Flandrau State Park offers 8 miles of hiking trails in the summer, and 2 miles of ungroomed snowshoeing trails in the winter. Snowshoes may be rented from the park office in case you left yours at home. Enjoy the site's varied landscapes as you and your pooch tackle the trails, which range from flat to challenging. Be sure to pawse at the scenic overlooks to take in all the sights and sounds around you. After your hike, stop by the picnic area near the swimming pond to share a packed lunch under the trees.
Aside from nature, Flandrau features historic buildings that were built in the 1930s and 1940s by the Works Progress Administration. During World War II, part of the park was used as a German prisoner-of-war camp. Today, it is a modern group center that contains eight bunkhouses. If you and Fido plan to extend your adventure for a few days, you may set up camp at one of the park's three campgrounds (electric, non-electric, and rustic). Note that camping fees are separate from the daily entrance fee of $7.
As always, keep your doggo on a leash and pick up after them! For a nature getaway that doesn't require driving out of town, you can't go wrong with Flandrau State Park!