Banning State Park

Quick Facts

Banning State Park

Minnesota

(320) 245-2668

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Treat yourself to a visit to Banning State Park, just minutes off I-35 near Sandstone. In the spring, watch daring canoeists and kayakers shoot the turbulent rapids at Blueberry Slide, Mother's Delight, Dragon's Tooth and Hell's Gate. In the summer, hike along the Kettle River amid dramatic sandstone rock formations with lush lichens, liverworts and mosses. Visit Wolf Creek Falls, the Log Creek Arches and Robinson's Ice Cave. Stay at the new camper cabin (sleeps five people), which includes bunk beds, a table and benches. Observe the historic ruins of Banning Sandstone Quarry. The park is known for camping, picnicking, cross-country skiing, beautiful trails for hiking and the study of natural history.

Banning State Park attracts birdwatchers who have sited 184 species of birds. In addition, 17 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 34 species of mammals live in the park. Common species include white-tailed deer, black bear, coyote, fox, raccoon, beaver, red and gray squirrels, snowshoe hare, and ruffed grouse.

The Kettle River extends the entire length of the park, exposing bedrock for much of the distance. One of the most dominant characteristics of the park is sandstone and the potholes formed by the Kettle River. The sandstone is from the Hinckley formation, known for shallow soil over bedrock and boulders which are exposed or lie just below the surface. In the northern area of the park, the river flows through a relatively shallow and narrow valley. Within a few miles, the river valley narrows to a gorge worn by the river through Precambrian sandstone to a depth of 100 feet. At Hell's Gate, the river flows through sheer cliffs which rise to 40 feet above the water. Below the rapids, the valley once again begins to widen. Beyond the valley walls, the topography is generally level to gently rolling glacial till plain.

Map of Banning (MN)

Latitude, Longitude: 46.152481, -92.855653

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Activities

  • Boating

    The park offers drive-in boat access.

  • Bicycling

    A one mile-long paved bike trail connects to Willard Munger State Trail.

  • Camping

    Banning State Park offers 33 drive-in sites in a wooded area, 11 electric sites, one backpack site near the Kettle River, and four canoe sites located on the Kettle River. Accessible showers and flush toilets are available during the summer. In winter, 2 electric and 3 non-electric sites are available. The park also has a camper cabin available for rent through the end of October.

  • Fishing

    The river is available for fishing.

  • Hiking

    There are 17 miles of hiking trails in the park in addition to a 1.8 mile self-guided trail that begins at the picnic area parking lot.

  • Historic Sites

    The historic Banning Quarry is located within the park along the Kettle River.

  • Picnicking

    There are several picnicking areas in the park. Some picnic areas have good river view and are accessible.

  • RVing

    There are eleven electric sites available. The length limit for RVs is 50 feet from front to back of vehicle being towed.

  • Winter Sports

    There are 11 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails, six miles of snowmobile trail, which connects to Willard Munger Trail, and snowshoeing is allowed anywhere in the park except on groomed trails.

Seasonality/Weather

Drinking water is available year-round at the park office. Water, flush toilets, and showers are turned off during winter months. The park is a beautiful destination during any season, with some campsites open year-round.

Directions

Driving

The park is located off of I-35, Exit #195, within two hours of the twin cities. Follow signs to the park.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(320) 245-2668

Links