Itasca – Headwaters of the Mississippi


Itasca State Park, Minnesota.

Regular readers have seen some of my previous posts from the state park that is the “home port” of the mighty Mississippi River. When our friend Fred Mast was passing through Fargo on his way to points east, he stopped by for a few days and I shared some of our local sights. Our longest trip from Fargo was a two-hour drive to the Itasca State Park, Minnesota’s oldest state park. In the opening photo, Fred straddles a couple of rocks, behind him, Lake Itasca; flowing around and beneath him, the Old Man River, the Big Muddy begins its 2550 mile (4103 km) trek southward to New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico.


On any given summer day, there are many visitors to the park, all exploring the lake and the river named from the Ojibwe word, “misi-ziibi” translated as “Great River.”Mississippi-1.jpg

Though considered incorrectly by many as the longest river in the United States, it is actually the second-longest river in North America, beat out for the title of longest river by the Missouri River that checks in at about 100 miles longer.


A warm summer day invites a stroll down the river, its shallow waters massage the lower legs as they pass by. A popular place in the summer, many people find a space to camp or stay in the popular Douglas Lodge. If you plan to head that way, be sure and reserve a space, room, or cabin early as they fill up fast, especially on holiday weekends. Prices are reasonable for such a popular park.


A family of young ‘uns plays amid the wild rice in Lake Itasca under the watchful eye of their mother. The park was established in 1891 and protects not only the lake and Mississippi headwaters, but also over 33,000 acres of virgin pine and other natural resources. I submit for your review a gallery of images captured that summer’s day in Minnesota’s first state park. In most browsers, you can click on a link to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery.

John Steiner

One thought on “Itasca – Headwaters of the Mississippi

  1. Itasca, what a cool park. Haven’t been there in a long, long time. Mississippi if fun to spell. Wild rice eh, we don’t find any of that here. Great post as the temps dip here it is fun to look at warm pics. Good for the soul!

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