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Staycation Itinerary: Exploring Upper Sioux State Park

Twenty-two miles southeast of Montevideo, and seven miles south­ east of Granite Falls, is the Upper Sioux Agency State Park. Conceptu­alized in 1963, the state park was established ini­tially to preserve the re­mains of the old Yellow Medicine Agency site. In 1970 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. With over 1,200 acres to roam. the park offers camping, interpretive center, canoeing, boat­ing, fishing, horseback riding, a horse campground, hiking, cross country skiing, snow­ mobile trails, a winter sliding hill, public boat access, and historic landmarks. There are over 19 miles of trails to explore.

Camping at the Up­ per Sioux Agency State Park includes the option of renting a canvas tipi. There arc three 18-foot in diameter tipis avail­able. They can house up to six people and there arc fire rings on site. There is even a wooden deck located inside. The park recommends that campers bring their own sleeping mats or bags for the overnight stays. If one is using a tent or camper. there are also 14 electrical, 14 non-elec­trical, and three walk-in sites for camping. The main campground also has a new bathroom with flushing toilets and a shower building. The campground is located along the Yellow Med­icine River close to its confluence with the Min­nesota River.

Also located in the state park are some buildings from the 1800s. One of the build­ings is the Annuity Center Historical Site where annuity goods were housed before be­ing given to the Native Americans. The Yellow Medicine Agency was established as part of the Treaty of Traverse Des Sioux and was destroyed during the U.S. – Dakota Conflict in 1862. Anoth­er building located in the park is named Employee Duplex No. 1 from 1854. It was reconstructed af­ter being destroyed in 1862 during the Dakota conflict.

When going to spend the day at the Upper Sioux Agency State Park, closed toe shoes are your best option. Long pants as well. Be sure to bring a camera, some food and water, and a blanket for a picnic or you can utilize the picnic areas.

Upper Sioux Agency State Park is open year round.

Reporter & photography by Cynthia Christians