Covering about 32,000 acres, the park embraces the headwaters of the Mississippi River and 157 lakes, the foremost of which is Lake Itasca
, source of the great river. Site of the University Biological Station, the park has stands of virgin Norway pine and specimens of nearly every kind of wild animal, tree and plant native to the state. Highlights include an excursion boat on Lake Itsasca, an 11-mile wilderness drive and 17 miles of paved bicycle trails. Bicycle rentals, cabins, lake cruises and food are available. Year-round naturalist programs are offered. The park is open daily 8am-10pm. A state park permit is required to enter the park.