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The Railroad Tunnel

Railroad Tunnel

Minneopa State Park is known for it’s double waterfalls that drop over 50 feet.  A Dakota word, Minneopa has been translated as Minne (water) inne (falling) nopa (twice).  Other translations of the word include: “Singing waters where the elk play” and “singing water’s of Elk-land.”  The Dakota considered this a scared place and lived along its banks.  Euro-Americans also became enchanted by this spectacular sight and came to enjoy the area well before it became a Minnesota state park in 1905.  The waterfalls have been on the move for 10,000 or more years since the last glacial period.  Originating near the creek’s confluence with the Minnesota River, the twin waterfalls have cut, eroded and carved its way to the present location.  Over time by downcutting into the softer layers of sandstone and collapsing the harder layer the waterfalls have moved around a mile and a half. 


If left to their own device the waterfalls would continue migrating all the way to Lake Crystal.  At high water levels the two falls can be very dynamic and will also stop flowing during drought conditions in late summer and autumn.  In the winter a cone of ice can form from top to bottom.

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