Kettleson Hogsback

The name of this site comes from the linear plateau which resembles the ridge between the shoulders of a hog. Walk the 3 mile trail along the hog's back and see evidence of the glacier that rested here more than 10,000 years ago.

Check out this excellent birding site with nearly 300 species recorded!

Geological History

A Hogsback is a linear ridge composed of steeply tilted hard and soft rock protruding out of the surrounding landscape. The soft rock erodes faster than the capping harder rock above. A cliff forms where the two different rock types meet. The steep side slopes are greater than 30-40 degrees, and must be nearly symmetrical on each ridge. This hogsback rises 40 feet and separates Marble Lake from Hottes Lake.

Location Description

This site has shallow lakes, marshes, uplands, and woods, making it a great wildlife viewing site due to its variety. Waterfowl, Shorebirds, Gulls, Pelicans, Grebes, Osprey and 28 species of Warblers have been seen here. Also look for Vireos, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Great-crested Flycather and migrating thrush in the spring and fall. Great Blue Heron and Black-crowned Night Heron have nested at Grover's Lake on the far north end of the Kettleson Hogsback area. Take special note of the Great Blue Heron rookery on the island at Hottes Lake.

Hottes Lake is an excellent site for canoeing and kayaking, an opportunity to get closer to wildlife.

The trail is great for cross-country skiing or a snowshoe hike. Get out in the winter and see the hog from a different perspective!

Driving Directions and other Information

  • From Spirit Lake take Hwy 276 north to 125th Street, then proceed west 1 mile. The parking lot is located near the Big Sioux Wildlife Unit headquarters. From there take the trail out of the parking lot and walk up high on the hogsback ridge.
  • A driving option would be to continue north from 125th Street on Hwy 267 and look for the Marble Beach access sign within 1 mile. A short drive back into the parking lot allows birding from the car. Here there is a bird feeding station set up in the winter. The hiking trail may be accessed from this site also.
  • Grover's Lake access on the north end of this site can be reached by taking Hwy 9 from Spirit Lake west to Hwy 86. Take Hwy 86 north 5 miles to where it turns east on the Iowa/Minnesota border - continue east on the gravel of 125th Street/215th Avenue and follow 1 mile.
  • GPS Coordinants - N43 28.268 W 094 08.584
  • 203 acres of DNR land
  • Hiking, Canoeing, Kayaking, Birds, Animals, Leaf Watching
  • Educational Activity:
  • View Kettleson Hogsback via Google Map by Clicking HERE!

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    Take a short visit to Kettleson Hogsback via video below!

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