We took the long way back to the Twin Cities last Monday, wandering through villages and state parks in central Minnesota. Along the way, we stopped (for the first time ever) at Sibley State Park near Willmar.
We were on the hunt for fall colors in the park and found the best color in the prairies beyond the (closed) visitor’s center on the east side of the park, where flowers were still in bloom and the grasses glowed in the afternoon sunshine.
There is an observation deck in a small prairie lake that looked really inviting, but the path isn’t really maintained and was overgrown with poison ivy. 🙁
There was some color in the open meadows around the campgrounds, but most of the trees in that area are oaks and none of them have started to turn.
None-the-less, the camping area and camper cabins looked pretty inviting! We may have to stay here some time.
The view from the Mount Tom look-out didn’t show a lot of color either, although the trees are starting to change.
The lack of color visible from the viewpoint was disappointing after seeing how colorful the prairies were. Adding to the disappointment, a project to eliminate weedy invasives below Mount Tom included burning piles of vegetation on the hillside, making for a rather smoky and unpleasant visit there. No doubt it is needed, but my timing obviously wasn’t very good, as I arrived while piles of charred branches were still smoldering and sometimes even producing a few leaping flames!
We didn’t spend time along or on the lakes. Nor did we tour the west side of the park at all, as there are very few roads or trails through that area and we were too early for good fall color in this more heavily wooded area.
Sibley State Park is open year-round, although many facilities and activities are seasonal.