Rustling Leaf Mountain
In the southern part of Otter Tail County is a collection of glacial features known as the Leaf Hills. The highest among them is Inspiration Peak, just west of Urbank, in Leaf Mountain Township . It rises 1,750 feet, about 400 feet above the surrounding countryside Making it the highest point in the county and one of the highest points in the state of Minnesota.
The vista was well-known to Sinclair Lewis. From the prairie-covered crest of the hill, he wrote, “there’s to be seen a glorious 20-mile circle of some 50 lakes scattered among fields and pastures, like sequins fallen on an old paisley shawl.” Lewis chided Minnesotans for not knowing the “haunts of beauty” in their own back yards. And generally speaking, the overlook might as well be a secret, it is known by so few people outside the immediate area.
The site was designated as a Minnesota State Wayside in 1932.
Activities / Amenities
Picnic Area & Sanitation Facilities: A large paved lot provides plenty of room for parking, and there’s a wooded park with picnic tables and restrooms.
Hiking: The quarter-mile winding hike to the summit can be a workout and there are several benches along the way if you wish to rest. The view from the top is particularly impressive in autumn when the hardwoods are ablaze but, this wayside rest area offers a captivating view almost any time of the year. Spectacular views can be seen in three directions.
Inspiration Peak is a State Wayside Park and is managed by Lake Carlos State Park, situated 15 miles to the southeast, on the shore of the park’s namesake.