Along the southwestern plains of Minnesota lies another one of its many hidden gems – the Jeffers Petroglyphs. Marked by nothing but a small sign and an interpretive center, this off-the-beaten path site is home to some incredible history of Minnesota.
Similar to hieroglyphics, which are on cave walls, these ancient carvings are on a rock outcrop that is ground-level. Meaning, you look down to see them.The exposed outcrop is part of a 23 mile long rock ridge of Sioux quartzite, for you geology fans like me.
The Petroglyphs are estimated to be somewhere around 7000 to 9000 years old, and are likely Native American in origin. There is a self-guided tour around the different symbols with interpretative markers explaining the meanings of the carvings, as well as guides who will explain different aspects of the site.
The Petroglyphs site is located straight west of Mankato about an hour, and north of Jackson, MN. It’s definitely a ways off the beaten path but if you are into this kind of thing, it’s well worth the drive.
While in the area: Lake Shetek State Park is just down the road, and just north of here in Sanborn, MN, you can sleep in a Sod Hut, a la Laura Ingalls Wilder.