Mille Lacs Moraine SNA


Area and County

    Crow Wing County
    Northwest Minnesota

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320 acres


Detail map (MN DNR)


 Printable Map with GPS coordinates

Printable map    

N46 16.329, W93 51.265

From County Road 26 turn north on South Tower Road. Park on the shoulder of the road near the gate. Do not block the gate. Hike 0.54 mile north and west on South Tower Road, a minimum maintenance road. Bear north on an unmaintained road (Tower Road), and hike 260 yards to the gate at the SNA boundary.

Hiking Trails

South Tower Road, an unmaintained road, passes through the site from north to south.

A hiking trail passes through the site from west to east. It ends abruptly at a channel near the northeast shore of Sunfish Lake.


All hunting. See Hunting and Trapping Regulations (MN DNR) for details.

Ecological Classification Province  

Laurentian Mixed Forest Province

Ecological Classification

Western Superior Uplands


Mille Lacs Uplands

Land Type Association(s)

Mille Lacs Moraine

Native Plant Communities1

Alder - (Maple - Loosestrife) Swamp

Graminoid Poor Fen (Basin)

Low Shrub Poor Fen

Marsh System, Northern Floristic Region

Northern Mixed Cattail Marsh

Northern Wet Ash Swamp

Poor Black Spruce Swamp

Red Oak - Sugar Maple - Basswood - (Large-Flowered Trillium) Forest

Red Oak-Basswood Forest (Non-calcareous Till)

Rich Tamarack Swamp (Eastcentral)

Sedge Meadow

Willow-Dogwood Shrub Swamp

Ownership Minnesota DNR logo        

Minnesota DNR


This site was designated a Scientific and Natural area on October 8, 2012.

Deer Flies
Deer flies (Chrysops sp.) can be bothersome here in June and July. They certainly were during my visit on July 20, 2013. After a few minutes on South Tower Road, I returned to the car to retrieve a mosquito headnet. The deer flies stayed with me for the duration of the visit. The mosquito headnet, worn over a hat, kept the flies off my neck and ears. Only a few times was it necessary to pull it down over my face. I did not suffer a single bite, even on my unprotected (but DEET sprayed) arms. Without the headnet the flies would have made the trip a very unpleasant experience. With the headnet they were a minor annoyance.

Plant Diversity
South Tower Road turns east at the south boundary of the SNA. Where it turns a grassy road continues north into the SNA between two gate posts with no gate (yet). This is Tower Road. If you are a plant enthusiast like me, stop right here and look around. There is an incredible diversity of plants within 15 yards of the gate posts. On a recent trip to this SNA (7/20/2013) I identified more than 50 plant species within this small area.








Mosquito headnet recommended








Visitor Photos
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Gregg Rutter
  Mille Lacs Moraine SNA   Mille Lacs Moraine SNA
  Mille Lacs Moraine SNA    


  Mille Lacs Moraine SNA    

South Tower Road (Approach)

  Mille Lacs Moraine SNA    

Site Entrance

  Mille Lacs Moraine SNA   Mille Lacs Moraine SNA

Tower Road

  Mille Lacs Moraine SNA   Mille Lacs Moraine SNA
  Mille Lacs Moraine SNA   Mille Lacs Moraine SNA

Sunfish Lake

  Mille Lacs Moraine SNA   Mille Lacs Moraine SNA
  Mille Lacs Moraine SNA   Mille Lacs Moraine SNA

Island in Sunfish Lake

  Mille Lacs Moraine SNA   Mille Lacs Moraine SNA

Mixed Hardwood Forest

  Mille Lacs Moraine SNA   Mille Lacs Moraine SNA
  Mille Lacs Moraine SNA    

West Trail

  Mille Lacs Moraine SNA   Mille Lacs Moraine SNA
  Mille Lacs Moraine SNA   Mille Lacs Moraine SNA
  Mille Lacs Moraine SNA   Mille Lacs Moraine SNA



  Mille Lacs Moraine SNA
  Mille Lacs Moraine SNA  

Steep hills punctuated by small lakes and wetlands characterize the landscape known as the Mille Lacs Moraine.




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Gregg Rutter


smooth blue aster (Symphyotrichum laeve var. laeve)

smooth blue aster (var. laeve)


American toad (Anaxyrus americanus)

American toad


This site contains potential habitat for Red-shouldered Hawk. A Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea) has been seen nearby.


American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)

Eastern Wood-peewee (Contopus virens)

Green Heron (Butorides virescens)

Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)

Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla)

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)

American Robin

Wild Turkey


Fungi and Lichens

Hintapink (Russula paludosa)


Insects and Arachnids

American carrion beetle (Necrophila americana)

American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis)

banded hairstreak (Satyrium calanus)

chokecherry finger gall mite (Eriophyes emarginatae)

deer fly (Chrysops sp.)

large lace-border (Scopula limboundata)

mustard white (Pieris oleracea)

northern pearly eye (Lethe anthedon)

northern walkingstick (Diapheromera femorata)

white admiral (Limenitis arthemis arthemis)

widow skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)

finger gall of chokecherry finger gall mite

northern pearly eye

widow skimmer


American beaver (Castor canadensis)

American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)

eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus)

whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

American red squirrel


One plant species with conservation status in Minnesota is found here:



butternut (Juglans cinerea)


Plants frequently found in:

Alder - (Maple - Loosestrife) Swamp FPn73a

Graminoid Poor Fen (Basin) APn91b

Low Shrub Poor Fen APn91a

Marsh System, Northern Floristic Region MRn

Northern Mixed Cattail Marsh MRn83

Northern Wet Ash Swamp WFn55

Poor Black Spruce Swamp APn81a

Red Oak - Basswood Forest (Noncalcareous Till) MHc36a

Red Oak - Sugar Maple - Basswood - (Large-Flowered Trillium) Forest MHc26b

Rich Tamarack Swamp (Eastcentral) FPn72a

Sedge Meadow WMn82b

Willow - Dogwood Shrub Swamp WMn82a



Allegheny blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis)

alsike clover (Trifolium hybridum)

American basswood (Tilia americana var. americana)

American bugleweed (Lycopus americanus)

American elm (Ulmus americana)

American hog peanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata var. bracteata)

American hog peanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata var. comosa)

American hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana var. virginiana)

American red raspberry (Rubus idaeus ssp. strigosus)

American spikenard (Aralia racemosa ssp. racemosa)

American white waterlily (Nymphaea odorata)

annual fleabane (Erigeron annuus)

arum-leaved arrowhead (Sagittaria cuneata)

balsam fir (Abies balsamea var. balsamea)

balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera)

beaked hazel (Corylus cornuta var. cornuta)

bigleaf aster (Eurybia macrophylla)

bigtooth aspen (Populus grandidentata)

bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis)

black-seeded plantain (Plantago rugelii var. rugelii)

bland sweet cicely (Osmorhiza claytonii)

bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

blue vervain (Verbena hastata var. hastata)

bluebead lily (Clintonia borealis)

boxelder (Acer negundo var. negundo)

broad-leaved arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia)

broadleaf enchanter’s nightshade (Circaea canadensis ssp. canadensis)

bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa var. macrocarpa)

butternut (Juglans cinerea)

Canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadense)

Canadian clearweed (Pilea pumila)

Canadian honewort (Cryptotaenia canadensis)

chokecherry (Prunus virginiana var. virginiana)

cleavers (Galium aparine)

common blue violet (Viola sororia)

common boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum var. perfoliatum)

common burdock (Arctium minus)

common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale ssp. officinale)

common false Solomon’s seal (Maianthemum racemosum var. racemosum)

common mullein (Verbascum thapsus ssp. thapsus)

common strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)

common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)

common yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

early goldenrod (Solidago juncea)

early meadow-rue (Thalictrum dioicum)

eastern white pine (Pinus strobus)

field horsetail (Equisetum arvense)

fragrant bedstraw (Galium triflorum)

giant chickweed (Myosoton aquaticum)

golden clover (Trifolium aureum)

green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)

hairy Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum pubescens)

harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)

heal-all (Prunella vulgaris)

hooked buttercup (Ranunculus recurvatus var. recurvatus)

interrupted fern (Claytosmunda claytoniana)

kidney-leaved buttercup (Ranunculus abortivus)

large-flowered bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora)

large-flowered trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)

Maryland black snakeroot (Sanicula marilandica)

Missouri goldenrod (Solidago missouriensis)

narrow-leaved cattail (Typha angustifolia)

northern bedstraw (Galium boreale)

northern blue flag (Iris versicolor)

northern lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina var. angustum)

northern maidenhair (Adiantum pedatum)

northern pin oak (Quercus ellipsoidalis)

northern red oak (Quercus rubra)

ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris var. pensylvanica)

oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)

pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

paper birch (Betula papyrifera var. papyrifera)

Parlin’s pussytoes (Antennaria parlinii ssp. fallax)

Pennsylvania buttercup (Ranunculus pensylvanicus)

pointed-leaved tick-trefoil (Desmodium glutinosum)

poke milkweed (Asclepias exaltata)

quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides)

red clover (Trifolium pratense)

red maple (Acer rubrum var. rubrum)

red pine (Pinus resinosa)

reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea)

roadside agrimony (Agrimonia striata)

rough cinquefoil (Potentilla norvegica)

round-leaved dogwood (Cornus rugosa)

sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis)

slender willow (Salix petiolaris)

smooth serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis)

smooth yellow violet (Viola pubescens var. scabriuscula)

spotted touch-me-not (Impatiens capensis)

spotted water hemlock (Cicuta maculata)

spreading dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium)

staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina)

stiff clubmoss (Spinulum annotinum)

stinging nettle (Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis)

sugar maple (Acer saccharum ssp. saccharum)

sulphur cinquefoil (Potentilla recta)

swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata ssp. incarnata)

timothy (Phleum pratense)

upright carrionflower (Smilax ecirrhata)

variegated yellow pond lily (Nuphar variegata)

veiny pea (Lathyrus venosus var. intonsus)

western bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum var. latiusculum)

western poison ivy (Toxicodendron rydbergii)

white avens (Geum canadense)

white campion (Silene latifolia ssp. alba)

white clover (Trifolium repens)

white oak (Quercus alba)

white rattlesnake root (Nabalus albus)

white vervain (Verbena urticifolia)

wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

wild geranium (Geranium maculatum)

wild grape (Vitis riparia)

wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis)

woodbine (Parthenocissus vitacea)

yellow avens (Geum aleppicum)

yellow marsh marigold (Caltha palustris var. palustris)

yellow wood sorrel (Oxalis stricta)

zigzag goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis)


Abies balsamea var. balsamea (balsam fir)

Acer negundo var. negundo (boxelder)

Acer rubrum var. rubrum (red maple)

Acer saccharum ssp. saccharum (sugar maple)

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)

Adiantum pedatum (northern maidenhair)

Agrimonia striata (roadside agrimony)

Amelanchier laevis (smooth serviceberry)

Amphicarpaea bracteata var. bracteata (American hog peanut)

Amphicarpaea bracteata var. comosa (American hog peanut)

Antennaria parlinii ssp. fallax (Parlin’s pussytoes)

Apocynum androsaemifolium (spreading dogbane)

Aquilegia canadensis (wild columbine)

Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)

Aralia racemosa ssp. racemosa (American spikenard)

Arctium minus (common burdock)

Asclepias exaltata (poke milkweed)

Asclepias incarnata ssp. incarnata (swamp milkweed)

Athyrium filix-femina var. angustum (northern lady fern)

Betula papyrifera var. papyrifera (paper birch)

Caltha palustris var. palustris (yellow marsh marigold)

Campanula rotundifolia (harebell)

Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)

Cicuta maculata (spotted water hemlock)

Circaea canadensis ssp. canadensis (broadleaf enchanter’s nightshade)

Clintonia borealis (bluebead lily)

Cornus alternifolia (pagoda dogwood)

Cornus rugosa (round-leaved dogwood)

Corylus cornuta var. cornuta (beaked hazel)

Cryptotaenia canadensis (Canadian honewort)

Desmodium glutinosum (pointed-leaved tick-trefoil)

Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)

Erigeron annuus (annual fleabane)

Eupatorium perfoliatum var. perfoliatum (common boneset)

Eurybia macrophylla (bigleaf aster)

Fragaria virginiana (common strawberry)

Fraxinus pennsylvanica (green ash)

Galium aparine (cleavers)

Galium boreale (northern bedstraw)

Galium triflorum (fragrant bedstraw)

Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)

Geum aleppicum (yellow avens)

Geum canadense (white avens)

Impatiens capensis (spotted touch-me-not)

Iris versicolor (northern blue flag)

Juglans cinerea (butternut)

Lathyrus venosus var. intonsus) (veiny pea)

Leucanthemum vulgare (oxeye daisy)

Lycopus americanus (American bugleweed)

Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)

Maianthemum racemosum var. racemosum (common false Solomon’s seal)

Matteuccia struthiopteris var. pensylvanica (ostrich fern)

Myosoton aquaticum (giant chickweed)

Nabalus albus (white rattlesnake root)

Nuphar variegata (variegated yellow pond lily)

Nymphaea odorata (American white waterlily)

Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)

Osmorhiza claytonii (bland sweet cicely)

Claytosmunda claytoniana (interrupted fern)

Ostrya virginiana var. virginiana (American hophornbeam)

Oxalis stricta (yellow wood sorrel)

Parthenocissus vitacea (woodbine)

Phalaris arundinacea (reed canary grass)

Phleum pratense (timothy)

Pilea pumila (Canadian clearweed)

Pinus resinosa (red pine)

Pinus strobus (eastern white pine)

Plantago rugelii var. rugelii (black-seeded plantain)

Polygonatum pubescens (hairy Solomon’s seal)

Populus balsamifera (balsam poplar)

Populus grandidentata (bigtooth aspen)

Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen)

Potentilla norvegica (rough cinquefoil)

Potentilla recta (sulphur cinquefoil)

Prunella vulgaris (heal-all)

Prunus virginiana var. virginiana (chokecherry)

Pteridium aquilinum var. latiusculum (western bracken fern)

Quercus alba (white oak)

Quercus ellipsoidalis (northern pin oak)

Quercus macrocarpa var. macrocarpa (bur oak)

Quercus rubra (northern red oak)

Ranunculus abortivus (kidney-leaved buttercup)

Ranunculus pensylvanicus (Pennsylvania buttercup)

Ranunculus recurvatus var. recurvatus (hooked buttercup)

Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)

Rubus allegheniensis (Allegheny blackberry)

Rubus idaeus ssp. strigosus (American red raspberry)

Sagittaria cuneata (arum-leaved arrowhead)

Sagittaria latifolia (broad-leaved arrowhead)

Salix petiolaris (slender willow)

Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot)

Sanicula marilandica (Maryland black snakeroot)

Silene latifolia ssp. alba (white campion)

Smilax ecirrhata (upright carrionflower)

Solidago flexicaulis (zigzag goldenrod)

Solidago juncea (early goldenrod)

Solidago missouriensis (Missouri goldenrod)

Spinulum annotinum (stiff clubmoss)

Tanacetum vulgare (common tansy)

Taraxacum officinale ssp. officinale (common dandelion)

Thalictrum dioicum (early meadow-rue)

Tilia americana var. americana (American basswood)

Toxicodendron rydbergii (western poison ivy)

Trifolium aureum (golden clover)

Trifolium hybridum (alsike clover)

Trifolium pratense (red clover)

Trifolium repens (white clover)

Trillium grandiflorum (large-flowered trillium)

Typha angustifolia (narrow-leaved cattail)

Ulmus americana (American elm)

Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis (stinging nettle)

Uvularia grandiflora (large-flowered bellwort)

Verbascum thapsus ssp. thapsus (common mullein)

Verbena hastata var. hastata (blue vervain)

Verbena urticifolia (white vervain)

Viola pubescens var. scabriuscula (smooth yellow violet)

Viola sororia (common blue violet)

Vitis riparia (wild grape)

alsike clover

American hog peanut (var. bracteata)

American spikenard

American white waterlily (ssp. tuberosa)

annual fleabane


blue vervain (var. hastata)

bluebead lily

broad-leaved arrowhead

bur oak (var. macrocarpa)


common blue violet

common boneset

common mullein

common yarrow

fragrant bedstraw


large-flowered bellwort

large-flowered trillium

northern bedstraw

oxeye daisy

red clover

rough cinquefoil

sulphur cinquefoil

spotted water hemlock

swamp milkweed

variegated yellow pond lily

white clover

wild columbine

wild geranium

yellow marsh marigold





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