Pipestone National Monument

Travel Brochure

Pipestone, Minnesota

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History of Pipestone National Monument

Named after the smoke marks formed by Native Americans over the years, the park began as a home for Native American tribes and is now a National Monument for Civil War soldiers. Pipestone National Monument has always been an important site for many American Indians and their cultures and still is today. It is seen as a place to be reverent and respectful.


In beautiful Pipestone, MN it rains on average, 26 inches per year and snows on average, 36 inches per year. The US averages are 37 inches of rain and 25 inches of snow per year. In a year, Pipestone, MN gets an average of 91 days with measurable precipitation and 210 days of sunshine. July's high is around 84 and January's low is around 0.

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Activities at Pipestone

  • We have a great Junior Ranger Program that allows kids to learn about Pipestone's history and resources while having fun.
  • Circle Trail is a paved walking trail that leads to several points of interest at Pipestone National Monument.
  • We have more than 100 different quarries. These are fun sites for individuals and groups. The Three Maidens is our most popular quarry and is a great location to enjoy a picnic.
  • Fishing at Split Rock Creek is fantastic. This is the largest body of water in Pipestone Monument and if you sit real still, you may get to see many different animals in their natural habitat. A few animals to watch for are: Painted Turtles, Gray Tree Frogs, Beavers, Big Brown Bats, Garter Snakes, Eastern King Bird, Green Sunfish, and Brook Stickleback.

Fascinating Facts

  • At the entrance to Pipestone National Monument you will find three large boulders. These are called the Three Maidens. They representative the guardian spirits of the pipestone quarries.

  • Pipestone National Monument is located about 12-17 feet below the ground, between layers of quartzite rock.

  • The prairies are home to many plants and animals. At the park there are many state-listed rare species, one of the federally threatened flowers is called the Western Prairie-Fringed Orchid (pictured below).

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Association with Native Americans

Red Catlinite Pipes were made for different reasons. Some were made for trade, but the first and most important use was for sacred ceremonies. The pipes were made and used differently by different tribes, some for rallying forces for warfare and some for peace.
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How Pipestones has Changed

Over the last 100 years, Pipestone has changed a lot. Indian cultures have many stories about the pipe and quarrying grounds. In 1937, Congress established it as an important site and signed a bill to protect the historic pipestone quarries. Quarrying is “an open excavation usually for obtaining building stone, slate, or limestone” and took place at Pipestone National Monument for thousands of years. Today, only members of Native American tribes are allowed to apply for quarry permits. Pipestone has and continues to be traded all over North America.
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Pipestone National Monument

36 North Reservation Ave.
Pipestone, MN 56164
Park Ranger Belle Lane