I am an adventurer. I've always loved the outdoors and seeing beautiful sights. I've traveled to state and local parks, beaches, waterfalls, mountains; I've seen a lot. I enjoy hiking and I grew up biking often with my parents.
When I moved to Alexandria recently and heard about Inspiration Peak, I had to check it out. I hadn't heard much about it except that it was supposed to be a pretty sight.
Inspiration Peak is located in Leaf Hills, glacial features in the southern part of Otter Tail County. It takes about 35 minutes to drive there from downtown Alexandria.
The peak is the highest of the hills and highest point in the county, reaching 1,750 feet, about 400 feet above the surrounding land. It is one of the highest points in Minnesota and you can hike to the top on a quarter-mile trail.
The trail itself isn't the friendliest; it is all uphill. My friends and I were all out of breath by the halfway point. However, it is paved with asphalt, which makes it easy to get your footing, and metal handrails are present throughout.
And of course, the view from the top is absolutely worth it. No pictures found online or pictures I took from my phone would do the spot justice. The view is just breathtaking. I can see why people might get inspired while out there - I might try to write my next novel now.
While the locals of Alex might know about Inspiration Peak and may have been to the spot before, it seems it's commonly overlooked by visitors caught up in boating and going to the beach. I've talked to some visitors and some don't know about it. When I was there, I only saw one other party up at the top; it seemed to be a husband and wife enjoying a Sunday afternoon walk.
Not having a lot of people up there is understandable; it's a little far and out of the way from downtown Alexandria.
However, consider this your inspiration to check it out if you haven't already. It is a great spot for an afternoon hike, or even for a run to get a good workout in. The peak might spark some creative ideas for workout moves.
The park itself, Inspiration Peak State Wayside Park, is family friendly as well. Picnic tables line the area near the parking lot, and an old fashioned water pump is alive and working, providing a thirst-quenching drink after your long hike. Kids will love using this pump - or, as I learned from my friend who turned it on just to see water come out, adults like using it too.
The only thing to watch out for is bringing sunscreen and bug spray. Mosquitoes and other insects can get pretty fierce in the wooded spots, including the trail and picnic area.
That aside, visiting Inspiration Peak is a great day trip and something everyone should experience at least once.
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"It's Our Turn" is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.