Minneinneopa Falls Letterbox

 
Terrain: Easy
Difficulty: Easy
Placed: July 29, 2005
By: The Dragon
Location: Blue Earth County, MN
Nearest town: Mankato, MN

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Part of the New Ulm Series - Click here for more information

 

As students in New Ulm, we often took trips over to the "big city", otherwise known as Mankato.  In my senior year, I took a trip over to Mankato with my friends and we discovered "the falls."  The falls are not too difficult to discover as long as you notice the large sign pointing to their existence on Hwy 68 just outside of Mankato (duh!), but as college students I suppose we had more important things on our minds and didn't notice the sign until that year.

As it turned out, the day we discovered the falls turned out to be one of the days we best remember from those days.  For some reason, we pretty much had the park to ourselves that day, and spent the hot day splashing in the
pool at the bottom of the lower falls.  You might want to bring a swim suit to do the same, or do it in your shorts and shirts like we did.  Today, however, unlike back then, there is a warning sign that might change your mind:

Oh, how simpler life was back when we didn't care about such things!  Then again, this may explain some of the weirdness amongst my friends and I......

 

Minneopa Falls are located in Minneopa State Park just west of Mankato, MN on Hwy 68. You will need to purchase at least a day pass to visit the park, but you should be able to use the day pass you may have gotten at Flandrau State Park (or vise versa) as long as you visit on the same day.  If you need to purchase a pass, the falls area is where the park office is.  Hwy 68 actually splits the state park in two.  The falls are south of Hwy 68, while the Sepmann Windmill is in the part north of Hwy 68.  You can go here to print a map of the park.

The name "Minneopa" comes from the Dakota language: minne(water), inne(falls) and nopa(two). During the early settler period it was called "Minneinneopa" and was eventually shortened to its present name.  (Hence the apparent misspelling on the stamp.)  For more information about the Minneopa area visit http://www.mnriv.com/minneopa.html

Clues:

From the picnic area, take the path that makes its way down to the lower falls.  Before you descend the steps to the lower falls, you will cross over a bridge between the two falls which gives you a great view of the upper falls.  Next you'll walk along the side of the river for a good view of the lower falls from above.  Then you will take the steps down into the gorge carved by the river.  Cross the wooden bridge.  Ascend the next set of stairs.  At the top, stop at the very obvious rock.  Watching out for poison ivy, proceed due south for 33 steps.  The letterbox is hidden in the south-side hollow of a maple tree.
 

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