Lake Carlos State Park and Inspiration Peak are fantastic natural attractions for the area. The State Park is located just 10 miles north of Alexandria and Inspiration Peak is located 25 miles northwest of town. Inspiration Peak, which is managed by Lake Carlos State Park, is the highest peak within the glacial-formed Leaf Hill Moraines. The hill is kame (pile of glacial sediments) left by the last glacial period. Being among one of the highest points in the state of Minnesota, this wayside park is a must see for anyone who appreciates natural wonders. The peak rises 400 feet over the surrounding countryside to an elevation of 1,750 ft. A quote by the well-known regional author Sinclair Lewis sums up Inspiration Peak : “there’s to be seen a glorious 20-mile circle of some 50 lakes scattered among fields and pastures, like sequins fallen on an old paisley shawl.”
Lake Carlos State Park is 1,231 acres of beautiful landscape that sits in the hardwood transitional zone between the prairies to the southwest and the coniferous forests of the northeast. The park’s glacial topography allows visitors to explore dense forest, woodland ponds, marshes, wet meadows and lakes. The park offers great amenities to enjoy including canoe rental, lakeside camping, dock, swimming beach, paddleboat rental, 14 miles of hiking trails, horseback trails, snowshoe rental, cross country ski trails, ice house rental, fishing kits, children’s discovery kits, educational programming and lots of special events throughout the year.