Lake Maria State Park

Lake Maria State Park is perfect a weekend getaway or a quick day trip. Check out all this park has to offer for hiking, canoeing, and sight seeing.

Perched just an hour northwest of the metro area sits a little park packed full of outdoorsy splendor. Lake Maria State Park is great for a quick getaway or a day hike. It’s impressive how much has been packed into this little slice of woods.

Quick Review: 7/10 This quiet park has much to offer for it’s size. If you’re lucky, you might spot the albino deer! The hiking trails are numerous and the lake is dazzling.


Lake Maria State Park has many ponds and small bodies of water scattered thoughout it. The largest lake in the park is named Little Mary Lake. There is a drive in access for either boat or canoe. There is a 20 horsepower limit for motors on this lake.

Canoes are welcome on Little Mary Lake and Maria Lake. Maria Lake is accessable by hiking trail only. Nestled into different sides of the lake are two hike-in campsites.

Hiking Trails

Zumbrunnen Trail: The cutest little trail in the park is a short interpretive trail to the left of the lake access on Little Mary Lake. A whopping one mile needle trail with signs informing hikers of the wildlife in the park. The short boardwalk leads over a marsh area along Little Mary Lake into a chunk of woods and back around to the boardwalk again. This a great trail for short legs or a short amount of time to visit the park.

Anderson Hill Loop: This 3 mile loop offers a wonderful overlook of the area around the park. A pleasant spot during autumn that gives a look over the top of the trees and travels down into the old growth forest where leaves slowly drift down to the forest floor. Squirrels are abundant in this area of the park with all of the nuts around from these mature trees.

There are numerous other trails throughout the park, many of them connecting to another. This is great opportunity to hike as many or as few miles as you please with a variety of scenery.


A large variety of animals call Lake Maria State Park home, including a few rare sights that hikers have been lucky enough to see.

Rare Turtle: The Blandings turtle can be spotted in the ponds and lakes in the park. This is an endangered turtle and a treat to spot in the park.

Birdwatching: A birders paradise! Lake Maria State park is home to 205 different species of birds. Bring your binoculars and get ready to check birds off your checklist. Some are residents while others are just passing through, check the migration patterns to give a greater chance of spotting the migratory birds.

Deer: We have spotted many deer in this park. They seem to be accustomed to hikers and campers making them easier to spot by quiet hikers. If you’re really lucky, you may just spot the parks albino deer!

Squirrels: A band of feisty squirrels are scattered about the park. They are a real entertaining sight. Xena, the Dane, enjoys them the most.

Bears: While not a common sight in Lake Maria State Park, locals have spotted a bear more in recent years. Some bordering the park have even spotted the curious creatures at bird feeders.


Lake Maria State Park offers a more secluded camping experience in relation to other parks near the metro area. This makes it a popular destination as well, so book early. Even with all of the campsites filled, there is much space between sites. All campsites require a half to one mile hike to your site. There are no drive in sites.

We camped in the group campsite with my daughters girl scout troop. The group camp area is quite spacious and connects to other trails in the park. The trails are a peaceful escape in the early morning hours to have a few moments of peace before the scouts wake up. One small path led to a little pond, beautiful.

Camper Cabins: There are three camper cabins available at Lake Maria. These cabins lack electricity, but have heat available via a wood burning stove. A much more rustic experience than that of other parks with electricity and heat at the ready.

Evening Chorus: The evenings of summer camping at Lake Maria was filled with the song of owls and coyotes. Can you think of a better lullaby?

Nearby the park, there is a dog sledding kennel. While we did not hear any husky howling, others have mentioned hearing some singing from the dogs. They have a lovely chorus when they all sing together.

Other Activities


  • Hiking- 14 miles
  • Horse Trails: 6 miles
  • Canoeing- rentals available at park office
  • Fishing


  • Cross Country Skiing- 6 miles
  • Snowshoeing- Anywhere in the park, not on groomed trails

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