On hot days, thrill-seekers flock to Stearns County's Quarry Park

A visitor jumps off a rock ledge at Quarry Park and Nature Preserve.
A visitor jumps off a rock ledge at Quarry Park and Nature Preserve into the cool water of Quarry No. 2. The deep rock quarries attract thousands of visitors every year to swim, scuba dive, trout fish and rock climb.
Kirsti Marohn | MPR News

At Quarry Park and Nature Preserve just outside St. Cloud, deep quarries are surrounded by piles of hewn granite, creating high rock ledges perfect for jumping off into the cool water below.

And that's exactly what central Minnesotans do on a hot summer day. When temperatures climb, crowds at Quarry Park often number in the hundreds.

Visitors swim at the Quarry Park and Nature Preserve in Waite Park.
Visitors swim at the Quarry Park and Nature Preserve. The 683-acre park was known as the Hundred Acres Quarry, where mining companies quarried for Saint Cloud Red Granite. Stearns County opened the park in 1998.
Kirsti Marohn | MPR News

The park has two quarries designated for swimming. Quarry No. 2 is 116 feet deep with high rock formations. Quarry No. 11 is 40 feet deep with a sandy beach. There are no lifeguards, and signs caution visitors to swim and jump at their own risk.

About 100 years ago, a type of stone known as Saint Cloud Red Granite was quarried from land that is now part of the park. Stearns County bought the land from Cold Spring Granite Co. and opened the park in 1998.

The Travel Channel named Quarry Park to its list of top 10 swimming holes in the United States in 2016. The park is also popular in the summer for hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, scuba diving and geocaching.

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