This site is famous as a place people have come for 2,000 years to mine the red quartzite rock (also known as catlinite). The soft sedimentary stone is relatively easy to carve into smoking pipes and effigies. Only American Indians are allowed to quarry here today with the proper permits.
Pipestone quarries, museum, carving demonstrations, Winnewissa Falls
April through October, you can watch American Indian carvers at the National Park Service museum demonstrate how to sculpt this soft yet durable stone into hollow pipes and other beautiful ornaments. It is illegal to remove any rocks without a permit, but you can buy carvings in the gift shop.
A 0.75-mile trail leads past historic rock quarries to Winnewissa Falls, just the spot to be on a hot summer afternoon. The remnants of tallgrass prairie protected within the park boundaries give an idea of what this entire region might have looked like before it was converted to farms.
28 miles southwest across the border in South Dakota’s Palisades State Park where the same red quartzite rock dramatically rises above muddy Split Rock Creek and is a great place to picnic or watch rock climbers.
Summer, but it is open year round.
All roads paved
There is a private campground near the monument entrance and Split Rock Creek State Park is 8 miles south.
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