Off the Beaten Path Series, Small Footprint ~ Big Impressions, Travel Destinations & Stories

Crossing the Mississippi in 21 Steps. Exploring the Mississippi Headwaters.

Did you know?

The Mississippi Headwaters is actually in the state of Minnesota?

There is a Mississippi Headwaters State Park … and that is NOT where the Mississippi Headwaters is really located? 

These are geography mishaps in my book. Ha!

Itasca State Park – Minnesota

We came upon this area purely by mistake, and we think it’s such a great area, that we wanted to share the information. 


Their visitors center is set up really well, with a lot of historical signs to read. Justin loves history! There is a small entrance fee to the park of $7. It’s all self-service at a small kiosk at the front. There is a campground inside the park as well. When we were there it was $31 per night. We are more into boondocking (disbursed / Free camping) and usually do not stay in paid campgrounds, but from what we saw it looked pretty nice. We weren’t allowed beyond a certain point since we weren’t camping there.

The walk from the visitors center to the Mississippi Headwaters is only 800 feet. This is wheelchair accessible and easy. There are some longer hikes and a lot of short hikes through their nature trails.

Live Cam!

Click Here to Visit the Live Webcam

Fire Tower Hike


If you’re able to do longer hikes, we highly recommend the 1-mile round trip hike to the fire tower. The sign just below the tower is quite comical, and I won’t ruin the chuckle by posting a picture of it. See for yourself! We climbed to the top and the views are breathtaking. You are completely caged in at the top so don’t worry!


We spent the entire day driving around, hiking short trails, and enjoying the beautiful fall weather. 


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