Chippewa County Clara City || Maynard || Milan || Montevideo ||Watson

A county with a rich history

The historic and beautiful Lac qui Parle Mission is located just north of Montevideo on Highway 59. The first church bell rang in Minnesota from the Lac qui Parle Mission church, which was built in 1835, near the village already established by the Wahpeton band of the Santee Dakota tribe. This church is also where the Bible was first translated into the Dakota language.

The Historic Chippewa City is a delightful and informative stop at the intersection of highways 7 and 59 in Montevideo. It started in 1965 with the preservation of the one-room schoolhouse, and now takes up 20 acres and has 24 buildings which replicate a village from the late nineteenth century. It is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, but hosts events throughout the year, and has free parking, and low admission prices.

The Camp Release Monument stands as a reminder of Minnesota's early state history. The Minnesota River Valley and Montevideo were important sites in the Dakota War of 1862. In the fall of 1862, the Dakota tribes surrendered to Colonel Henry Hastings Sibley on a bluff overlooking the valley and the present-day site of Montevideo. The monument was the first property added to the state park system and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Parks and Outdoor Recreation

It's hard to avoid the beauty of the wildlife and landscape in Chippewa County. Below, check out just some of the great parks and recreation opportunities!

Lac qui Parle State Park

Lac qui Parle State Park is named for the nearby lake, which the Dakota Native American people named "Lake that Speaks," which was then translated into French. It's no wonder that the lake is called that, since over 100,000 geese (not including the other birds and wildlife) gather there in the spring and winter. There are seven miles of hiking trails, five miles of horse trails, and snowshoeing is possible all over the park. There are also many camping and lodging options, so make your reservation and spend some time in the beautiful Lac qui Parle State Park.

Wegdhal Park

Check out the two camper cabins at Wegdhal Park which can be used year round for only 50 dollars a night. Wegdhal is located six miles south of Montevideo on U.S. Highway 212 (or you can take Chippewa County Road 15 straight to the cabin doors). It's also accessible by bike trail from Montevideo, or along the Minnesota River. Call 320-269-6231 to reserve the cabins.

Watson Hunting Camp

Watson Hunting Camp is located in the middle of the Lac qui Parle Wildlife Refuge and offers a wide range of hunting opportunities. The hunting camp offers guided Canada goose, duck, and dove hunting, as well as a pheasant hunt. Watson Hunting Camp also has great fishing opportunities; you can even rent a fish house over the winter. There are large sleeper houses, but smaller houses can also be rented by the day.

If visitors aren't spending the night on the ice, there is a beautiful new lodge which can accommodate 14 hunters. There are also RV hookups.

Events and Destinations

Community is what brings together the past, the present, and the landscape of Chippewa County, so here are some of the ways you can join in!

Hinterland Vineyards

You don't have to go to California to be in wine country - Western Minnesota is wine country at Hinterland Vineyards in Clara City. Hinterland Vineyards carefully cultivates, harvests, and ferments their grapes to make unforgettable wines great for sharing with family and friends to bring people together in conversation and laughter. Though bottles of Hinterland Vineyard wines are great to take home, staying at the vineyard is just as wonderful. They not only offer their wines, but wine cocktails, beer, cider, and a full menu of foods.

Guests enjoy music and the beautiful outdoor seating at Hinterland Vineyards

Milan Village Arts School

The Milan Village Arts School is a non-profit, member-supported organization which works to engage people in both traditional and contemporary art, as well as folk arts, in order to foster community and culture. The school does this by hosting lots of classes throughout the year, which are open to anyone, as well as participating in the annual Arts Meander.

The Meander Art Crawl is a free, self-guided tour of artist studios featuring 45 local artists from the Upper Minnesota River Valley. It is a great way to experience the area and connect to the local history, culture, and landscape.

many visitors enjoy the Arts School during the annual Arts Meander

Chippewa County Fair

There is nothing quite like a county fair, and the Chippewa County Fair is a great one! It is packed with great events all day and into the evening for families and people of all ages. Filled with fireworks, a wonderful midway, lots of music, races, demo derbies, and 4-H exhibits. The fair takes place at the beautiful fairgrounds in Montevideo at the end of July, so plan on visiting Chippewa County in the middle of summer!

The Midway and some 4-H activities at the Chippewa County Fair

Clara City Prairie Fest

Clara City hosts Prairie Fest every year, and it's always a blast! Come square dance, eat pie, and participate in the beanbag toss tournament during the day. Enjoy music and wine later in the evening. There is fun for everyone, no matter how old.

Fiesta Days and Heritage Hill Threshing Show

Fiesta Days, when Montevideo celebrates its sister city with the same name in Uruguay, and the Heritage Hill Threshing Show are two more annual events in Montevideo that shouldn't be missed. Both are great opportunities to learn about the history and culture of the community.

Top: Heritage Hill Threshing Show, Bottom: Fiesta Days

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