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Rice Lake State Park, Owatonna

3.8
#7 of 13 in Things to do in Owatonna
Rice Lake State Park is a state park of Minnesota, United States, just east of Owatonna. Park lands entirely surround Rice Lake, an important stopping point for migrating waterfowl. The lake covers 750acre with an average depth of 3ft.
The park's bedrock is limestone laid down 500 million years ago as organic sediments settled to the bottom of a shallow sea that covered much of the Midwest. This limestone is entirely covered by glacial till deposited during a Pre-Illinoian glaciation about 400,000 years ago. As those glaciers were retreating, a block of ice broke off and remained embedded in the till. The ice melted, forming a kettle which became Rice Lake. 10,000 years ago the more recent Wisconsin glaciation missed Rice Lake, passing to the west of the park. Meltwater from that glacier eroded streambeds into the Kansan till.
Rice Lake is the headwaters of the South Branch, Middle Fork of the Zumbro River. This east flowing stream was the lake's original outlet. After the Wisconsin glacier passed, the land to the west was lowered and a second outlet formed that flowed west into another watershed. This outlet feeds the Straight River, a tributary of the Cannon River.
In historical times, Rice Lake may have been as much as 55ft deep, but has filled in considerably due to human influence and the process of eutrophication. Today, Rice Lake is ringed with marsh vegetation. The marshy, shallow nature of the lake, as well as its being the only large lake in the area, make it ideal for migrating waterfowl. Whistling swans, Canada and snow geese, diving ducks, western and pied-billed grebes, and black terns are frequent visitors.
To visit Rice Lake State Park on your trip to Owatonna, use our Owatonna trip planning tool .
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Rice Lake State Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
23 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • Park was great - no ticks. Easy and helpful check-in. Canoe-in site was great, but didn’t realize the sites allowed multiple tents. I went with my six year old and husband, hoping to relax in a quiete...  more »
  • We have been going to Rice Lake State Park for years as we live in Owatonna. Personally I like it best in the fall when the leaves are magnificent. I wish more people would take the time to see what i...  more »
Google
  • If your into rules and regulations this is the place to camp. Beautiful, clean but whoa, my friend and her two kids wanted to swing by and roast marshmallows and staff said they would need to be out by 10, then the park patrol drove past numerous times to make sure we were parked correctly " facing out" and then we were parked side by side we needed to " line up" a little over the top and too strict for my kind;)
  • Spent time hiking and picnicking here and enjoyed the park, staff was super friendly and helpful! Recommend checking out the pier into the lake for some great views. Also see they have canoe in camping sites.

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