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Minnesota Geography

During the Ice Age, the land now called Minnesota was totally covered by glaciers. When those masses of ice retreated (or melted) they left behind a rocky and pockmarked landscape of rolling hills and plains, tens of thousands of freshwater lakes (in all sizes) numerous rivers and countless small streams.

In the west along its border with North Dakota, the Red River Valley stretches from the Canadian border to the edges of South Dakota. This relatively flat strip of land is Minnesota's most productive farmland.

From Bemidji east to Grand Portage, and north to its border with Canada is the state's most rugged landscape. This area of Minnesota is dominated by the Mesabi Range of low mountains (hills), and the Misquah Hills, where the state's highest point is located.

This large stretch of land is frequently referred to as the Boundary Waters Region, a wilderness of lakes and rivers carved into the bedrock by the movement of glaciers, and surrounded by thick green forests.

Along the southeastern border with Wisconsin, the St Croix River and Mississippi River now flow through mostly deep, rugged valleys, all carved (over the centuries) by the relentless movement of water.

Minnesota's most important river is the Mississippi; it rises in northwestern Minnesota, then flows south to the Gulf of Mexico, just below the city of New Orleans. It is a significant transportation artery and when combined with its major tributaries (the Missouri and Ohio rivers) it becomes the third largest river system in the world at (2,339 miles) (3,765 km) in length.

Other rivers of note include the Minnesota, Rainy, Red and St. Croix. In this "Land of 10,000 Lakes" some of the most significant include Lake of the Woods (with over 14,000 counted islands) Red Lake (both upper and lower) Mille Lacs, and of course Lake Superior.

For a detailed look at the topography of Minnesota, view this map.

Minnesota Photographs

Temperance River State Park, Schroeder, Minnesota, USA

Temperance River State Park...
by Peter Hawkins
Buy This at Allposters.com

Minnesota Cities, Counties & Area Codes

City County Area Code
Aitkin Aitkin 218
Minneapolis Anoka 763
Detroit Lakes Becker 218
Bemidji Beltrami 218
Sauk Rapids Benton 320
Ortonville Big Stone 320
Mankato Blue Earth 507
New Ulm Brown 507
Cloquet Carlton 218
Chaska Carver 952
Cass Lake Cass 218
Montevideo Chippewa 320
North Branch Chisago 651
Moorhead Clay 218
Bagley Clearwater 218
Grand Marais Cook 218
Windom Cottonwood 507
Brainerd Crow Wing 218
Saint Paul Dakota 651
Kasson Dodge 507
Alexandria Douglas 320
Blue Earth Faribault 507
Chatfield Fillmore 507
Albert Lea Freeborn 507
Red Wing Goodhue 651
Elbow Lake Grant 218
Minneapolis Hennepin 612
La Crescent Houston 507
Park Rapids Hubbard 218
Cambridge Isanti 763
Grand Rapids Itasca 218
Jackson Jackson 507
Mora Kanabec 320
Willmar Kandiyohi 320
Hallock Kittson 218
International Falls Koochiching 218
Madison Lac Qui Parle 320
Two Harbors Lake 218
Baudette Lake of the Woods 218
Le Sueur Le Sueur 507
Tyler Lincoln 507
Marshall Lyon 507
Mahnomen Mahnomen 218
Warren Marshall 218
Fairmont Martin 507
Hutchinson McLeod 320
Litchfield Meeker 320
Princeton Mille Lacs 763
Little Falls Morrison 320
Austin Mower 507
Slayton Murray 507
Mankato Nicollet 507
Worthington Nobles 507
Ada Norman 218
Rochester Olmsted 507
Fergus Falls Otter Tail 218
Thief River Falls Pennington 218
Pine City Pine 320
Pipestone Pipestone 507
East Grand Forks Polk 218
Glenwood Pope 320
Saint Paul Ramsey 651
Red Lake Falls Red Lake 218
Redwood Falls Redwood 507
Olivia Renville 320
Faribault Rice 507
Luverne Rock 507
Roseau Roseau 218
Duluth Saint Louis 218
Shakopee Scott 952
Elk River Sherburne 763
Arlington Sibley 507
Saint Cloud Stearns 320
Owatonna Steele 507
Morris Stevens 320
Benson Swift 320
Long Prairie Todd 320
Wheaton Traverse 320
Lake City Wabasha 651
Wadena Wadena 218
Waseca Waseca 507
Saint Paul Washington 651
Saint James Watonwan 507
Breckenridge Wilkin 218
Winona Winona 507
Buffalo Wright 763
Granite Falls Yellow Medicine 320

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.