For a slightly different adventure for nature lovers of all abilities, explore Chimney Rock.
Chimney Rock is an unusual sandstone rock formation with a limestone cap. Sculpted from wind and water, it stands about 30 feet tall. It supposedly began forming about 14,000 years ago when the glaciers receded.
What’s unusual about it is that it’s just standing alone in the middle of a forest. It leaves you wondering how it survived all this time.
Further up the path past Chimney Rock is another sandstone rock, a lot shorter but larger in width (10-15 feet high, 50 feet wide), and climbable, based on all the carvings at the top. I climbed up it, but it had rained the day before and the rocks were a bit slippery.
It takes an eagle eye to find Chimney Rock, as the rock is not signed.
Directions: Chimney Rock is located in the Scientific & Natural Area in Dakota County, Minnesota. Take County Road 89 south of County Road 62 outside of Vermillion/Hastings. The area itself is signed (see at right), but well before you reach the rock. The rock is on the right as you’re driving south, in a copse of trees on a hill, just past the farm fields. There is a turnout across the road where you can park, and a mostly easy walk uphill about 100 yards from the road.