MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — People are intrigued by high places, especially those that offer an amazing view. In this week’s Finding Minnesota, we went hundreds of feet above sea level to Inspiration Peak in Otter Tail County.

Just like you can count on the leaves to change you can count on visitors coming there for an “inspiring” autumn stroll.

“It’s all uphill. It’s all uphill. But it’s beautiful,” visitor Kathy Pastorek said.

At the top of the quarter-mile hike is the appropriately-named Inspiration Peak, a beauty that only a glacier could make. It’s more than 1,700 feet above sea level, and the panoramic view allows you to see for miles, even into other counties. But the trees are the real draw.

“The big tooth aspen are going to be more of a golden-yellow color right now,” Gerry Lipinski said.

Lipinski is with Lake Carlos State Park. He is in charge of taking care of those trees and making sure invasive plants don’t take over. He grew up nearby and now he’s in charge of maintaining the park he loves.

“There are days when it can be a couple, dozen people up to hundreds of people,” Lipinski said.

Putting one foot in front of the other they are taking their inspiration to new heights. And they’re making the same journey Nobel Prize-winning author Sinclair Lewis used to make. Lewis once wrote this about the peak, There’s 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.”

The lakes are still there but you now have to peer through the fall colors to see them.

“The trees are beautiful. Couldn’t ask for better weather right now,” Kathy Gayken said.

Kathy and her husband Lydell have driven by the peak for years and finally made a stop. They had “lofty” expectations and they weren’t disappointed.

“I’d highly recommend coming up here. It’s gorgeous,” they said.

The peak is actually the second-highest peak in the county. Another one that’s about 40 feet higher is located a few miles away but is not part of the park system.

Inspiration Peak is open year-round and there are snowmobile trails nearby in the winter.

John Lauritsen