Our great state is known for many things, and one of them is hiking in Minnesota. With 10,000 lakes, woods, prairies, rivers, bluffs, and creeks, the landscape makes the perfect canvas for more than 1,300 miles of great hiking trails to explore.
You don’t have to be an avid hiker to go hiking in Minnesota. Whether you are looking for a tough hike through forests and climbing bluffs or a nice easy hike on a paved path, Minnesota has a wide variety of trails throughout the state.
There are 75 Minnesota state parks throughout Minnesota. An entrance fee is required; purchase either $7 for a day pass or $35 for an annual pass. If you plan to visit many parks over the next year, we recommend the annual pass. This even gets you out of the long lines and into the park quicker for exploring.
All state parks offer different experiences and scenery. Waterfalls are the main attraction at the state parks like Gooseberry Falls, Tettegouche, Grand Portage, and Judge C. R. Magney State Park. Bison can be seen at Minneopa and Blue Mounds State Park. About an hour from the Twin Cities, find Interstate Park on the St. Croix River where you can hike trails on the bluffs overlooking the scenic river.
The beautiful North Shore has eight of Minnesota’s state parks. If you are looking to get away and spend time in the great outdoors without hopping on a plane, plan a hiking trip this summer, and visit all eight parks in one week while taking in the incredible views of Lake Superior. Your adventure will begin just north of Duluth at Gooseberry Falls State Park to see the beautiful waterfall. Continue your journey up the North Shore to Split Rock Lighthouse, Tettegouche, George H Crosby Manitou, Temperance River, Cascade River, Judge C.R. Magney and lastly Grand Portage.
Maybe you’re just starting to go on longer walks or don’t have enough time to head to a state park. Close to the Twin Cities, 51 miles of paved regional trails are available at no cost. You can easily access these trails by parking your vehicle in a park or side street where any of the regional trails wind through. These trails are both walking and biking friendly, so be courteous of each other, and stay on one side of the trail when walking.
When hiking in Minnesota, the most important item to pack is a good pair of hiking boots. This will set you up for a great day. Hiking boots are different than everyday tennis shoes; they protect your feet from stepping on a sharp rock, and they support your ankles on the uneven ground. They can be a bit pricey, but the investment is worth it if you often hike on unpaved trails.
It is also important to pack water to stay hydrated. Depending on how long you plan to hike, the Minnesota DNR also recommends packing additional items into a backpack in case of an emergency.
It is important to know the rules and be prepared when hiking, especially if hiking for long periods of time or backpack camping.
Hiking is a wonderful pastime that doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money, and gets you out of your home to see the beautiful nature we are surrounded by. State parks are even better if you live in an apartment and don’t have a yard to sit out and relax. While Minnesota summers are short, there are so many ways to get outside and enjoy every moment of the weather.