Kathio State Park

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15066 Kathio State Park Rd, Onamia, MN 56359, United States

Opening Hours

8:00am - 10:00pm



Introduction of Kathio State Park

You may ascend a 100-foot fire tower in Mille Lacs Kathio State Park to get a view of the area’s rolling oak, maple, birch, and pine woods. Even today, you may see Lake Mille Lacs from above like Paul Bunyan once did. You won’t soon forget the pleasure of hanging out where eagles fly.

Hike one of Kathio’s more than 30 km of trails after descending the tower stairs. There are 71 campsites available, ranging in style from rustic to sophisticated, with options for groups, backpackers, and even horses. The season is available for camper cottages.

Visit the year-round interpretive centre for entertaining presentations on nature and interesting activities for children of all ages. Take a swim, rent a canoe, kayak, or rowboat, go fishing, and more!

Enjoy cross-country skiing on Kathio’s woodland paths and sliding down their fantastic sledding slope when you travel up to Lake Mille Lacs in the winter. Take a pause and warm yourself at the trailhead’s flushing restrooms, which are open all year.

You’ll discover when you get to Kathio that the glaciers created some of the most beautiful natural artwork on this area.

And Lake Mille Lacs has it all ready for you!

fire tower view Kathio State Park
CC: Social Channel of park

Campsites in Kathio State Park

Mille Lacs Kathio Petaga Campground

The park’s primary contemporary campsite is located here. You may pick from 70 sites, 12 of which have electricity hookups. Within the park, restrooms are available. Additionally, you’ll have quick access to the park’s network of hiking trails, the swimming beach, and the picnic areas.

Online reservations are accepted for the sites at the campsite, which is open all year. Showers, however, could only be accessible from May to October.

All of the campsites allow reservations up to 12 months in advance, although reservations should be made at least one day prior to your arrival. If you intend to visit the park during the summer months, you should make reservations as soon as you can.

Lake Ogechie Campground

There are just 26 available sites at this relatively smaller campsite. However, you’ll be situated directly on Ogechie Lake, which is fantastic for anyone who wish to enjoy beautiful water views.

The sites lack any form of connections, as well as access points for bathrooms and drinking water. Don’t forget to bring a lot of fresh water with you. The Landmark Trail loop, which includes the majority of the historical sites in the park, is just close to the campsite.

Equestrian Campground

A ten-site horse campsite is also there. Since all of these locations are rustic, there won’t be any form of connections available. There are bathrooms, but there are no showers. You’ll get access to the park’s viewing tower as well as its network of horse paths.

Kathio State Park Activities


From ice out to freeze up, weekends provide boat and canoe rentals. Daily rentals are offered from the summer through the fall. Canoes and kayaks may be launched at the Rum River Public Access.


The self-guided Touch the Earth nature trail, which is one mile long and includes a boardwalk, leads visitors through a variety of forest types as well as a tamarack swamp. The 1.5-mile Landmark Trail honours Kathio as a National Historic Landmark District and provides a lovely wooded stroll along the edge of Ogechie Lake. Hikers may travel 35 more miles of forested paths to views of rivers, lakes, and beaver ponds as well as along the sloping glacial moraines of Kathio. During the warmer months, many trails require little upkeep. The 3.2-mile Hiking Club trail runs through some of the most beautiful backcountry in the park, including Lake Ogechie and a historic monument. You will pass by several locations along the Heron Lake Trail’s quarter-mile length that are often hidden from the average tourist.


The forest canopy provides privacy and shade for each location. Showers and flush toilets are within walking distance of the 19 semi-modern campsites in the park. The 26 rustic sites at Kathio include on-site vault toilets and water, but it is a mile and a half reach the showers. Kathio has 22 locations with electricity (3 sites are pull-through and 2 are handicapped accessible). The park also has three walk-in spots. Mt. Lacs There are four backcountry campsites at Kathio State Park. The campgrounds include Glacial Ridge Campground, which is situated next to a sizable beaver pond on a glacial ridge covered in trees; Kanketanka Campground, which looks out over a woodland pond; Black Bass Campground, which is situated on the south shore of Black Bass Lake; and Sunset Meadow Campground, which is situated in an oak and maple forest on the edge of a meadow. Ten places are offered at a horse camp on a first-come, first-served basis. There are two group camps that can hold between 15 and 45 individuals.


Fishing is available all year long at Minnesota’s most well-known walleye lake.

evening at Kathio State Park
CC: Social Channel of park


40 picnic spots with picnic tables, fire rings, bathrooms, and a soft drink vending machine are included in the picnic area. Additionally, there is a bathing area and beach, a sizable children’s playground, a visitor centre, and excellent fishing close by at the Buck Moore Dam at the base of Lake Ogechie.

Historic Sites

Exhibits at the visitor centre highlight the park’s natural and human history. Information about interpretive events, demonstrations, school programmes, and other specially designed activities for groups is also centralised at the Center. There are exhibits spread around the park that outline Kathio’s lengthy history from 9000 years ago to the present.

Horseback Riding

Mt. Lacs 27 kilometres of horse paths are available in Kathio State Park. The autumn months of September and October are the ideal times to ride Kathio’s trails. The peak of fall foliage colour is here, and there are hardly any bugs. Summertime upkeep on horse paths is minimal. Trails are muddy in the spring and occasionally in the summer after a significant rainfall. Summertime may bring on a lot of “bugginess” on the trails. When the trails are covered in snow, they must be closed.

Water Sports

The Rum River Public Access offers canoe access. The picnic spot is next to a swimming beach.

Winter Sports

Skiers of all skill levels can use the ski trails. There are 8.7 K of challenging trails, 12.4 K of intermediate trails, and 10.9 K of easy trails in the park. All paths through forested areas. In the park, ski rentals are available. 19 miles of snowmobile trails wind through forested hills and, at various points, join the state’s Grant-In-Aid trail network. For snowshoers, three paths totaling 6.5 kilometres are indicated. These routes go to some beautiful natural settings. Snowshoers can travel everywhere in the park outside these tracks, however they are encouraged to avoid groomed ski trails. In the park, showshoe rentals are offered. There is a fireplace, a picnic table, and contemporary facilities in the Trail Center/Warming shelter. The warming shelter is close to a sledding slope. On Mille Lacs, ice fishing is also a well-liked pastime.


The maximum RV length is 60 feet. At the moment, Kahio lacks a disposal station. Father Hennepin State Park, 15 miles distant, and the village of Onamia, 7 miles away, both provide facilities.

rving Kathio State Park
CC: Social Channel of park

Kathio State Park History of the Area

Mt. Lacs Within the Mille Lacs Landscape Region lies Kathio State Park. The park is mostly a second-growth forest made up of northern hardwoods including aspen, birch, maple, and oak. The eskers on which the park is situated are dotted with wetland areas. A few scattered coniferous remnant stands provide variety to the landscape and offer a glimpse of what the forest may have looked like a century ago.

The geological history of the park is a tale of powerful natural forces at work over a long period of time. Actually, the undulating hills are a piece of a terminal moraine. When a large glacier stopped moving southward around 10,000 years ago, it created the modest yet abrupt hills. Gravel, pebbles, and boulders that the glacier had gathered in its grinding journey were dumped to the north and east when it melted. A terminal moraine is the name given to the ensuing landform. The glacier debris effectively produced a massive dam by partially obstructing the land’s normal drainage pattern and causing a lake of meltwater to form that was much bigger than the current Mille Lacs. The shoreline of this former lake was 15 feet higher than that of the current lake, and it had three exits. Following was a protracted era of geological and vegetational succession. Deep channels were carved by the outflow streams. Ponds and little lakes disappeared. Beach ridges were created by ice and wave action. Lake shapes and drainage systems have changed. Many of the depressions were filled with silt and plants. The soil, vegetation, and animals of the current park were formed over thousands of years of continuous natural development.

Numerous animals inhabit the park. Eagles, owls, hawks, and ospreys are frequently seen. On the path or in the snow, it’s common to observe the footprints of beavers, raccoons, minks, and deer. The lake is home to northern pike, walleye, bluegills, sunfish, and bass. For ruffed grouse, the aspen stands and little clearings are good. Chipmunks and squirrels flourish in maple and oak stands. Small streams and ponds provide as habitat for amphibians and insects, which draw bigger fish, birds, and mammals.



Mille Lacs Kathio State Park, which is situated in northern Minnesota, is accessible by car from Minneapolis and a number of other significant urban centres in the area. If you are coming from Minneapolis, follow US-169 north, and it will take you about an hour and a half to get to the park. Take I-35 north out of Des Moines, and it will take you around five hours to get to the park. Taking I-94 west from Chicago will take you to the park in roughly six hours.

The roads in the park have few tight twists and are generally straightforward to manoeuvre. However, some of the campgrounds have some tricky curves. If you have a big rig, you might want to attempt to get a spot closer to the campground’s entrance.

In the winter, the roadways frequently ice over. Although the park normally does an excellent job of keeping the roads clean, there may still be snow or ice. Consider packing snow chains with your campervan if you want to visit the park when the weather starts to become colder.


Parking is available.

Public Transport

Public Transport is available.

Kathio State Park Photos

Kathio State Park Map