Sibley State Park: More than Expected

This park is located out just outside of New London Minnesota. It’s not a highly trafficked park. We hiked on a Wednesday and were at the park for about 2 hours before seeing anyone else on the trail. A great place to hike if you are gearing up/training for a longer more rigorous hike, which is exactly what I’m doing with my 9 year old daughter. I highly recommend the Mount Tom Trail, it has a lot more than I expected from this trail.

Quick Review: 7/10 Great scenery and overlooks, trails are maintained fairly well, one larger closure on the main trail, detour was not very scenic. The Mount Tom Trail is considered moderate and for good reason.

Mount Tom Trail

We took the Mount Tom Trail. Our trek started at the trail center(which was closed for construction). This trail is about 4 miles of hills, overlooks, grasslands, and a lakeview. With the exception of the very beginning, the trails are well marked. We took the wrong path for about half a mile, that didn’t take long to sort out. There are maps posted in several places, we used the Alltrails app and recorded our hike. It took us 3 hours and 11 minutes total, 2 hours and 25 minutes of actual moving time. With the little ones along we took a few breaks and had a picnic at Mount Tom.

Hills

Holy hills Batman! I’ll be honest with you… I was expecting grasslands. You know, prairie. This was western Minnesota, it’s farms and grasslands out there. We actually happened upon a map that shows the different regions in Minnesota. It was interesting to see that this park is still in the deciduous forest region. This was the most hilly hike that I had done in a while. The grade was quite steep in a few areas. There are logs and rocks going across the trail to prevent erosion and acted as stairs. I do not recommend bringing a stroller on this trail. I did bring one, we had an extra munchkin along for this hike. Sandy, my 9 year old daughter, and I completed this hike along with a one and half year old and a 3 year old. I had my child carrier on my back and pushed the stroller. I felt like super mom on this hill riddled moderate hike.

Overlooks

Yes, the hills are wonderfully exhausting. But you can celebrate your triumph with an amazing view from the top. Even before you reach Mt. Tom, you can see over the treetops. We pulled out the binoculars to have a good look around, it was quite cool.

Mount Tom

You have a couple of options for viewing the Mount Tom Monument. We did the Mount Tom Trial, which brought us to a small parking lot with a restroom(yay!). So obviously, you can drive right to the head of the short trail to the Mount Tom Monument. It is paved and wheelchair/stroller accessible. If you’re not up for a hike in the woods, you can still enjoy a nice view. There is a set of stairs to climb to the top of the monument to truly gain the best vantage point. You can see all the way to Wilmar from the top. It has a sturdy railing, with small space in between the slats. I was confident in it enough that I let Killian climb up on his own, he was quite proud of himself.

Lake Andrew

We continued the Mount Tom Trail to Little Mount Tom, it had a cute little view. The climb up to it was really neat though. At this turning point there are signs to follow for Lake Andrew. We only got a quick glimpse of the lake. This was very disappointing for Sandy, she loves the water and any chance to be near it.

Trail Closures

This was quite a bummer. The trail is disrupted by a closure. At first glance it didn’t look like to much of it was closed. But when we aske a park ranger where we can get back on the trail, they informed us that the rest of the trail to the trail center was closed. This was such a let down. We completed the trail as much as was possible at the time. Hopefully it doesn’t stay closed for too long.

Other Park Activities

The hiking was great at this park, it’s absolutely beautiful! But the hiking isn’t the only activity available at this park and I look forward to taking advantage of what this park has to offer during different seasons.

  • Camping (year-round)
  • Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Fishing
  • Canoeing

Whatever your favorite outdoor activity is, you’ll find something to enjoy at this park. Have you been to Sibley State Park? What was your favorite thing about it?

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