Rice County parks
Rice County has 12 great parks filled with something for everybody: from playground equipment and trails to picnic shelters and boat ramps that access its many lakes.
Here you’ll find McCullough Park on the shores of Shields Lake featuring 30 campsites, all with water and electric access; 10 are seasonal with full hookups. There’s Caron Park, a remnant of Minnesota’s famed Big Woods and an excellent spot for environmental study, and Shager Park, with its sandy Cannon Lake beach, a boat launch and access to the 39-mile long Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail that runs from Mankato to Faribault where it connects to the Mill Towns Trail.
The crown jewel, Cannon River Wilderness Area, is 850 acres of wooded river valley with 5 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails, a canoe launch on the wild and scenic Cannon River, and four primitive campsites.
You don’t need to venture far to find your next adventure. Rice County parks are right here and ready to be enjoyed.
The Board of Commissioners approved a Park System Plan Dec. 27, 2022. It provides a guide to short- and long-term development of each of the county's 12 parks along with recommendations for park system branding and plan implementation. Recommendations are designed to enhance each park, raise their visibility in the community and beyond, and improve users' experience.
Rice County Park System Plan - approved Dec. 27, 2022
Rice County parks
- Ackman Park
- Albers Park
- Cannon River Wilderness Area
- Caron Park
- Circle Lake Park
- Falls Creek Park
- Heron Park Bird Sanctuary
- Hirdler Park
- Kalina Park
- King Mill Park
- McCullough Park & Campground
- Shager Park
- Velzke Park
Area parks and trails
Parks and trails (and a nature center) located in and just outside Rice County, but not operated by the county.
- River Bend Nature Center
- Nerstrand Big Woods State Park
- Sakatah Lake State Park
- Mill Towns State Trail
- Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail
- Cannon River Straight Water Trail
- Straight River State Water Trail
- Dundas Parks & Recreation
- Faribault Parks & Recreation
- Lonsdale Parks & Recreation
- Morristown Parks & Recreation
- Northfield Parks & Recreation
- Is camping available at county parks?
Camping is available at McCullough Park and Campground as well as Cannon River Wilderness Park. Camping season starts in May (Fishing opener weekend) and closes in October (following MEA week).
Reservations for McCullough campground can be made at www.co.rice.mn.us/Facilities/Facility/Details/McCullough-Park-1.
Cannon River Wilderness Park has four primitive hike-in or canoe campsites. These sites are available on a first come, first serve basis. A portable toilet is available from May through October at the east side parking area. Please pack out what you pack in.
For more information or for help with your reservations, call 507-332-6112.
- How do I make reservations for McCullough Park?
To make a reservation, click here.
- Where are the public access points on each of Rice County's lakes?
Maps of each county lake located in Rice County, including public access points, are on this website.