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Mount Vernon - Palisades Kepler State Park


Palisades-Kepler State Park lies along the beautiful Cedar River in Linn County. The 840-acre park has dramatic river bluffs, deep ravines, majestic hardwood trees, a large variety of wildflowers and an abundance of wildlife. Palisades-Kepler State Park is also important for its prehistoric past. A molar tooth of a mammoth was once found here and the exposed rocks along the Cedar River are laden with fossils of millions of years of history. The presence of Indian mounds reminds us that this was a favorite haunt of Native Americans hundreds of years ago.


In the late 1890s, James Sherman Minott acquired 160 acres of timberland on the Cedar River and built a spacious inn for the accommodation of visitors. He also established a boat rental and sold lots for the building of summer cottages. Many people took advantage of this and soon the population of the area numbered over 200. Afternoon outings on the Cedar River, capped by a quiet dinner at the combined log cabin restaurant, general store, and hotel, were common in the early 1900s. Noted American poet Carl Sandburg was a yearly visitor to the "Palisades" during the 1920s and 1930s.

In 1922, Palisades-Kepler State Park was established. Much of Minot's original land had been acquired and the State Board of Conservation had taken special notice of the unique bold cliffs and proclaimed that "these palisades lining the Cedar River are quite special." In September of 1928, the Board of Conservation accepted the gift of property from the estate of Louis H. Kepler, essentially doubling the size of the park. The Board added his name to the park name. Since that time, almost 700 acres have been added to Palisades-Kepler.

In July 1934, a Civilian Conservation Corps company was established at Palisades-Kepler. Three barracks and a mess hall were built; then, work started on the building of many park facilities. The roads, hiking trails, entry portals, lodge and other timber and stone structures remain to give the park much of its rustic character. The C.C.C. camp of 200 young men closed in 1941.


Jane R

Monday, April 9, 2018
Quiet and dark park for night photography! Can't wait to see it in the summer when it's not covered with snow! Telescope friendly!

Brett Meyer

Monday, March 19, 2018
Would've received 5 stars but at the time of visit(late March)a lot of the park was still closed.Even then,you could still see most of the campgrounds,etc.Everything looks clean and well maintained.The rocky outcrops along the Cedar River are really eyecatching,with a house on one of the cliffs!Will definitely revisit in Summer and Fall.


Saturday, March 24, 2018
This park has beautiful scenery, nice trails, and little beaches to hang out with family and friends on. Absolutely gorgeous!

Brian Jones

Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018
Great camping and access to the Cedar River. Awesome little cabins with complete bathrooms, kitchen and bedroom. You must rent 2 nights or more but well worth it.

Scott Parks

Thursday, March 8, 2018
Alway enjoy visiting this park any time or season. The hiking trails are great and good way for me to get excercise.

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