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Mille Lacs Kathio State Park, Onamia

4.4
#52 of 141 in Nature in Minnesota
State Park · Nature / Park
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Mille Lacs Kathio State Park, also known as Kathio Site, is a Minnesota state park on Mille Lacs Lake. The park preserves habitation sites and mound groups, believed to date between 3000 BC and 1750 AD, that document Dakota Indian culture and Ojibwe-Dakota relationships. The park contains 19 identified archaeological sites, making it one of the most significant archaeological collections in Minnesota. The earliest site dates to the Archaic period and shows evidence of copper tool manufacture. The Dakota lived in this area roughly until the 18th century, when many bands of them were moving southward into the prairies and river areas of southern Minnesota. At the same time, Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) were moving in from the east. Ojibwe oral tradition, published by William Whipple Warren, suggests that there was a battle in which they successfully took control of the area from the Lakota.

Around the time of contact in the 1850s, loggers came to the area. The next 50 years resulted in a large quantity of trees being felled and floated down the Rum River or across Mille Lacs Lake to sawmills.

The name "Kathio" is actually a corruption of "Izatys", a name the Mdewakanton Dakota people gave themselves. Explorer Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut visited the area in 1679. He named the area "Izatys", but his poor handwriting led people to mistake the "Iz" as a "K". Further errors led to the name being transliterated to "Kathio".

The Kathio Historic District site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964.
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Mille Lacs Kathio State Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
57 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Beautiful park! Not at all buggy today, and other hikers were friendly and polite. The park is extensive and well maintained. Unfortunately we could only spent a 1.5 hours there due to time... 
    Beautiful park! Not at all buggy today, and other hikers were friendly and polite. The park is extensive and well maintained. Unfortunately we could only spent a 1.5 hours there due to time...  more »
  • If you are only here for the day, there is a $7 entry fee. Nice trails. Well kept. Restrooms were clean. Beautiful view from the top of the Observation Tower. We did not camp, but enjoyed hiking at... 
    If you are only here for the day, there is a $7 entry fee. Nice trails. Well kept. Restrooms were clean. Beautiful view from the top of the Observation Tower. We did not camp, but enjoyed hiking at...  more »
Google
  • Stayed at the Petaga Campground which is near the Rum River and connects to the trails. Sites are nice and spacious with green space between them. The fire rings are nice and deep which is great for cooking. The main restrooms and showers were well maintained and clean. It was May so everything was just starting to green up and there were no bugs to speak of. Overall it was great and we would stay again in the spring or fall when everything is changing color!
  • The tower kind of saved this one. It has amazing views. The rest of the park is mostly mosquitoes and hills. Except along the Rum River, there was just enough of a breeze to keep them off.

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