Marker Image: 


Otter tail

Where Found: 

 Located off county road 38 in Inspiration Peak State Wayside

Text On Markers: 


At an elevation of 524 meters, Inspiration Peak stands high above the Leaf Hills portion of the Alexandria glacial moraine, affording a spectacular view of the surrounding area. The Alexandria moraine is an area of high hills that extends in a broad arc from western Becker County southeast to southern Stearns County in central Minnesota. The moraine consists of sediment (clay, silt, sand, gravel, and boulders) that was transported and deposited by glacial ice. About 25,000 years ago, glacial ice, which advanced into this area from the northeast, pushed up ice and existing sediment at its southwestern edge, forming the hills of the Alexandria moraine.

About 14,000 years ago, another lobe of ice, the Des Moines lobe, flowed southward from the Manitoba region. This ice lobe followed the lowlands of the Red River valley and the Minnesota River valley, finally reaching south into central Iowa near Des Moines. Occasionally, this lobe grew wide enough to advance eastward over parts of the Alexandria moraine. Locally, the Des Moines lobe reached as far east as Parkers Prairie, which is 18 kilometers east of here. The advancing Des Moines lobe reshaped the Leaf Hills by eroding the Alexandria moraine and redepositing the sediment. When the glacial ice receded, distinct topographic features, such as Inspiration Peak, were left behind.

Erected by the Geological Society of Minnesota in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the Minnesota Geological Survey, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 2003

Marker Number: 



North Central/West Region

Marker Location: 

GEOLOGY OF INSPIRATION PEAK Urbank 46° 8' 11.1768" N, 95° 34' 33.258" W

Date Update: 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Marker Current Status: 

No GSM marker was found, and may be a "2003 missing marker". 


Ottertail County and the DNR have a very good laminated geological marker at the trial head and another marker at the top of Inspiration Peak Viewpoint (15 minute, very uphill hike):
25,000 years ago, forces of nature invaded Ottertail County, and the effects are still seen today. Text goes on in great detail with illustrations...

Minnesota Historical Society Marker: INSPIRATION PEAK
For Minnesota’s Nobel Prizewinning novelist Sinclair Lewis, Inspiration Peak more than lived up to its name. From its “bald top,” he wrote. “there is 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.” Praising “the enchanting peace and seclusion of this place for contemplation.” Lewis at the same time chided Minnesotans for not knowing about their own “haunts of beauty,” and added that he might write the governor, “asking his excellency if he has ever stood on Inspiration Peak.”
The Highest point is the Leaf Hills portion of the Alexandria glacial moraine. Inspiration Peak rises some 400 feet above Spitzer Lake. Although off the beaten track and not mentioned in the early exploration literature, it has recently been promoted as a northwestern Minnesota landmark, celebrated primarily for its view of the bright rolling country around it. 

Information Needed: 

  • Not Found Reported
  • Updated Coordinate Needed
  • Marker Images

Do it yourself Region: 

Alexandria and Big Stone