Thing to Do

Hike the Circle Trail

Three turkeys on a path

In less than a mile of walking, visitors will see active quarry pits used by Native Americans for centuries, a waterfall, tallgrass prairie, striking geological features, wildlife, and more.
The trail is only 3/4 of a mile, so does not take long if walked without stopping. However, if visitors use a trail guide, read the waysides, and stop for photos, it can take upwards of an hour. Guided tours during the summer take approximately one hour. 
During the summer season, there are guided tours when staffing allows. All-year-round, visitors may enjoy a self-guided walk around the trail.
The trail is paved, has benches along the way, and is not difficult for any age (depending on fitness). Visitors often take strollers and wheelchairs on the trail. The trail is used for snowshoeing in the winter and floods at times in the spring. 
Pets must be on a 6-foot leash and visitors must clean up after them. There are complimentary waste bags at the trailhead near the Visitor Center.
There is no fee to visit the park or walk the trail.
No reservations are required. 
Snow is not cleared from the trail after January 1st so that it may accumulate and allow for snowshoeing. The Visitor Center has a limited supply of snowshoes that visitors may check out for free, or they may bring their own. The trail often floods in the spring, causing partial or total closure of the trail. Check the website 'alerts' for updates or call the park to verify conditions. 
The grounds of the park are never closed. 
Accessibility Information
The trail is not American Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant, but it may be wheelchair accessible with some assistance (see Accessibility).

Pipestone National Monument

People walking on a trail
The 3/4-mile Circle Trail is paved and meanders through prairie, along a waterfall, and past historic quarries


The Circle Trail, which begins and ends at the Visitor Center, is a paved, 3/4-mile walking trail that leads to several points of interest at Pipestone National Monument.

We suggest allotting 45 minutes to an hour for the entire walk. Features along the trail include the pipestone quarries, historical markers, Old Stone Face, Winnewissa Falls, and native tallgrass prairie. Trail guides are available for loan or purchase in the Visitor Center. Several benches are placed along the trail. While the trail is not American Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant, it may be wheelchair accessible with some assistance (see Accessibility).

Weather in Minnesota is variable. Be prepared for seasonal conditions and rapidly-changing weather.

The Circle Trail is open year-round. Seasonal area closures for hazards such as snow and ice may be in effect.

For those unable to tour the Circle Trail in person, a digital tour is available.

Last updated: June 12, 2020