From stunning state parks to beautiful public gardens, a blanket of color sweeps across Minnesota as delicate spring blossoms begin to bloom. Take a trip to see the incredible array of flora at these 10 spots.
Blue Mounds State Park (Luverne)
From the resident bison herd to the Sioux quartzite cliffs rising 100 feet above the plains, there’s no end to the natural wonders found in this southwest Minnesota state park. Hiking trails provide the perfect place to admire early spring blooms like buttercups, cinquefoils, prairie shooting stars, and wild indigos.
Big Bog State Recreation Area (Waskish)
This 500-square-mile peat bog is the largest bog in the lower 48 states, and features a quiet mile-long boardwalk for visitors to access what some call Minnesota’s “last true wilderness.” Home to many vibrant wildflowers, some popular species include the pink dragon’s mouth orchids, deep violet bottle gentians, and the rare, carnivorous pitcher plants.
Carley State Park and Whitewater State Park (Altura)
Located south of the Twin Cities, both of these state parks are filled with false rue anemone, hepatica, marsh marigold, pasque flowers, and wild leek during the spring. Carley State Park hosts its annual BlueBell Bloom festival the first Saturday in May, and naturalist-led walks begin in mid-May at Whitewater State Park.
Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary (Minneapolis)
Located in Theodore Wirth Park, you can find several types of trillium, trout lilies, and wild ginger in this enclosed garden. Naturalists lead walks across the 15-acre plot, but you can also opt for a self-guided tour and try to catch a glimpse of as many of the park’s plants and flowers as possible.
Glensheen Mansion Gardens (Duluth)
While it may be difficult to tear yourself away from the 39-room, 20th-century mansion that once housed the influential Congdon family, the 12-acre estate surrounding it makes it worth your while. The lawn stretches all the way out to the shores of Lake Superior, and in the spring, the manicured gardens out back overflow with blooming flowers.
Jay Cooke State Park (Carlton)
As one of the 10 most visited state parks in Minnesota, Jay Cooke State Park is particularly popular for its beautiful foliage in the fall, but its 4 acres of woodland is also a great place to find wildflowers in the spring. Expect to see northern bluebells, blue-bead lilies, bunchberry dogwood, and Canada mayflower.
Marjorie McNeely Conservatory (St. Paul)
As part of the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory’s sunken garden dazzles with bright blossoms every spring, specifically crocus, daffodils, yellow hyacinth, and always a plethora of gorgeous, multicolored tulips. Its annual spring flower show runs March through April.
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (Chaska)
The crown jewel of the state’s public gardens, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is spread out over more than 1,200 acres. Grab a map from the Oswald Visitor Center before setting out on one of the numerous trails, where you can find pink and purple hepaticas and small white trilliums. Starting in the late spring, you might also find delicate white rue anemone and showy lady’s slippers.
Munsinger Clemens Gardens (St. Cloud)
Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, the Munsinger Clemens Gardens are comprised of two separate areas: The Munsinger Gardens feature 14 acres of winding trails and flower-bordered paths to explore, while the Clemens Gardens’ 7 acres make up six separate gardens. The Perennial Garden in particular showcases the hardy flora that can survive Minnesota’s harsh winters, where you can find alliums, black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, geraniums, and Lenten roses in the spring.
Nerstrand Big Woods State Park (Nerstrand)
In southern Minnesota, you can find bloodroot, marigolds, spring beauties, violets, and wild geranium hidden in the maple-basswood forest of the state’s largest remnant of what early settlers called the “Big Woods.” Pick up a wildflower guide at the park office to help you spot purplish Jack-in-the-pulpit, white Dutchman’s breeches, and even the endangered dwarf trout lily.