Whitetail Woods Regional Park, Grand Opening September 27


Dakota County's New Park - Cabins Included

Whitetail Woods Regional Park, a new 456-acre park in Dakota County, celebrates its grand opening on Saturday, September 27 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Visitors will be able to tour the park's recreational trails and southeast Commons that integrate picnic areas with accessible trails and nature play environments. Perched on an opening overlooking Empire Lake, the Commons serve as the trailhead for more than seven miles of hiking and skiing trails. Additional site features include a lit sledding hill, "dry creek" that handles surface runoff, and a water play area.  Park buildings include a picnic shelter, three camper cabins and a bathhouse. Local firm HGA Architects and Engineers worked with Dakota County to design the park which is considered Phase 1 of the Whitetail Woods Master Plan.

The three, 227-square-foot cabins are nestled into a dense stand of pine trees. Each features a 100-square-foot deck and a floor-to-ceiling glass window that frames the trees "like a work of art," says Steven Dwyer, architect, HGA. The highest cabin is elevated 14 feet off the ground, immersing visitors into the natural setting.

HGA's simple design for the cabins-a modernist box with shingled exterior-ensures the cabins blend with their woodland setting. Insulated for four-season use, the camper cabins are furnished with two full bunk-style beds with mattresses, two twin day beds, a table with four chairs, two folding chairs and two Adirondack deck chairs.

The camper cabins have electricity, heat, overhead lighting and outlets, a ceiling fan and picnic table. They do not have bathrooms or kitchens. Each cabin has a fire ring and firewood. Nearby accessible restrooms have showers and a drinking fountain with water bottle filler and spigot.

Each cabin is ADA compliant and can serve up to six people. The public can rent the cabins for $60 each night starting December 1 by calling (952) 891-7000.

The new park includes pristine Empire Lake, and is bordered by the Vermillion Highlands Modified Wildlife Management Area to the east, and the Vermillion River Wildlife and Aquatic Management areas to the south. The University of Minnesota's UMore Park lies directly north of the park.