Pipestone National Monument


The pipestone quarries are a sacred site for many American Indians. For centuries, tribes across North America traveled to this site to quarry red pipestone for making pipes and effigies from the easily carved material. Today, they still travel long distances to quarry this sacred stone and continue the tradition of pipemaking. Red pipestone is a valuable spiritual resource to many American Indians.

Pipestone National Monument offers an opportunity to explore unique cultural and natural resources. Visitors can view active quarry pits where American Indians continue the traditions of the past by quarrying pipestone. The 3/4 mile-long nature walk on the Circle Trail continues onward past historical markers, unique quartzite rock formations, and Winnewissa Falls. The quarries are surrounded with many varieties of flowers and grasses growing in the native tallgrass prairie. Here, an age-old tradition continues in the modern world, ever changing yet firmly rooted in the past.


Seasonality / Weather

With an altitude of 1,600 feet, the area is high plains. Summer temperatures average in the 80's with the high reaching 100 occasionally. Winters are cold and windy with temperatures sometimes reaching below 0.



The monument is easily accessible from the south by interstate highway I-90 to Minnesota 23 or US 75, from the west by interstate highway I-29 to South Dakota 34 and Minnesota 30 to US 75, from the north by US 75, and from the east by Minnesota 30 or 23 to US 75. From US 75, road signs will lead you to the monument.


Commercial service is located in Sioux Falls, SD, approximately 50 miles from the monument. Car rental is available at the airport. A small airport is operated in Pipestone, MN, however, no commercial service is available.