Vacation: Pipestone National Monument

May 7 2015

In the wilderness on the border of Minnesota and South Dakota sits the small, often-forgotten Pipestone National Monument. While it may be a little out of the way for some (3.5 hours from Minneapolis and 5 hours from Des Moines), it’s a beautiful spot for the RVer who wants to get off the map and rediscover the beauty of nature.

As a sacred spot for American Indians, it’s full of history, pristine natural beauty and adventure for all those who make the trip. And it’s perfect for the RVer!


For countless generations, American Indians have quarried the red pipestone found at this site. They carved the stone to make pipes (hence, Pipestone National Monument) that were traded and valued among their communities for generations. Pipes made from the sacred rock found here have been found as far away as Georgia and the Pacific coast.

Offering cultural demonstrations and the opportunity to see some of the most scenic landscapes in the Midwest, Pipestone National Monument is a great place for the whole family to visit, learn and enjoy.


From Des Moines, take I-35 North, then head east on I-90 just north of Albert Lea, Minnesota. In Luverne, head north on Highway 75.

Along the way, consider stopping in the historic city of Albert Lea—one of Minnesota’s hidden gems.


The Pipestone RV Campground is nearby, and offers a 15 acres of RV camping among the grassy flatland located in Minnesota’s Tall Grass Prairie Region. It’s conveniently located across from the Pipestone National Monument, Pageant Grounds and is just 7 blocks from historic downtown.

If you’re looking to stay in a more pristine area, consider camping in Split Rock Creek State Park, the largest body of water in Pipestone County. It’s a great place to get back to nature, explore the environment and have outdoors fun with the family. It’s just seven miles away from Pipestone National Park.


At Pipestone National Park, the emphasis is on history and nature, with plenty of hiking, education and fun for the whole family.

Indoor activities include:

  • Visitor Center

  • Museum Exhibits

  • Bookstore & Giftshop

  • Interpretive Programs

  • Cultural Demonstrations

Outdoor activities include:

  • Nature Walk- Circle Trail

  • Picnic Area- Three Maidens

  • 100,000 acres of native tallgrass prairie

  • Over 500 plant species

With awesome scenery, great camping spots and fantastic history throughout the site, Pipestone National Park is a great place for the whole family.