Pipestone National Monument

Pipestone National Monument

Quick Facts

Pipestone National Monument

Minnesota

(701) 654-7411

Map Directions

Things To Do

     

Overview

The pipestone quarries are a sacred site for many American Indians. For centuries, tribes across North America traveled to this site to quarry red pipestone for making pipes and effigies from the easily carved material. Today, they still travel long distances to quarry this sacred stone and continue the tradition of pipemaking. Red pipestone is a valuable spiritual resource to many American Indians.

Pipestone National Monument offers an opportunity to explore unique cultural and natural resources. Visitors can view active quarry pits where American Indians continue the traditions of the past by quarrying pipestone. The 3/4 mile-long nature walk on the Circle Trail continues onward past historical markers, unique quartzite rock formations, and Winnewissa Falls. The quarries are surrounded with many varieties of flowers and grasses growing in the native tallgrass prairie. Here, an age-old tradition continues in the modern world, ever changing yet firmly rooted in the past.

Map of Pipestone

Latitude, Longitude: 44.006406, -96.320468

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Activities

  • Hiking

    The paved Circle Trail, which begins and ends at the Visitor Center, leads to several points of interest. A valid entrance pass is required to use the trail.

    The Circle Trail is a delightful walk of three quarters of a mile. Allow 30 to 60 minutes for the walk. Features along the trail include the pipestone quarries, historical markers, Old Stone Face, Winnewissa Falls, Oracle and the native tallgrass prairie. Trail guides are available for loan or purchase in the Visitor Center. Several benches are placed along the trail. The trail is not ADA-compliant but may be wheelchair accessible with some assistance.

  • Historic Sites

    At the visitor center, view an award winning 22-minute film, "Pipestone: An Unbroken Legacy," throughout the day. The film provides perspective on the significance of Pipestone and the quarrying tradition still carried out in this special place.

    Organized interpretive programs are available during the summer in the visitor center. Programs may include talks, guided walks, multimedia presentations or other activities.

    American Indian craft workers using pipestone from the quarries demonstrate the art of shaping and creating pipestone crafts in the visitor center. Visitors have an opportunity to interact with and learn from the pipemakers. The demonstrations are available from April to mid-October.

    In addition to the cultural demonstrators working with pipestone in the visitor center, there are many exhibits about Pipestone National Monument's cultural, historic, and natural resources.

  • Picnicking

    The Three Maidens picnic area is located along the entrance road to the visitor center. The area includes picnic tables, a restroom, and the Three Maidens feature. Bordering Pipestone National Monument to the south is a city park with a large picnic area and overhead shelter. A valid entrance pass is required to use the Three Maidens picnic area.

Seasonality/Weather

With an altitude of 1,600 feet, the area is high plains. Summer temperatures average in the 80's with the high reaching 100 occasionally. Winters are cold and windy with temperatures sometimes reaching below 0.

Park Partners

Directions

Driving

The monument is easily accessible from the south by interstate highway I-90 to Minnesota 23 or US 75, from the west by interstate highway I-29 to South Dakota 34 and Minnesota 30 to US 75, from the north by US 75, and from the east by Minnesota 30 or 23 to US 75. From US 75, road signs will lead you to the monument.

Flying

Commercial service is located in Sioux Falls, SD, approximately 50 miles from the monument. Car rental is available at the airport. A small airport is operated in Pipestone, MN, however, no commercial service is available.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(701) 654-7411

Links