Best Minnesota State Parks for Hiking
Consider hiking some of the Minnesota State Parks. All across Minnesota there are 66 state parks; from the smallest, Franz Jevne, to the well known and largest, Itasca State Park , there are hundreds of hiking trails to explore. Ranging from ½ mile loops to 300+ miles long that meanders through multiple state parks; there is something for everyone! There are an assortment of Minnesota State Parks that have some of the best (in my opinion) trails:
This small state park resting on the north side of Lake Bemidji offers a variety of easy- to mid-level trails. One thing that is unique about this state park’s trail system is the boardwalk. Walking through the bog you can see an ecosystem that you cannot see anywhere else in the world.
Moving up on the challenging scale we have this state park that is right on the shores of Lake Superior. This set of hiking trails also holds a mystery; Devil’s Kettle. Hiking to this location is a 2-mile moderate hike that hosts the puzzling waterfall. More adventurous hikers can take an hour to try to solve the baffling water feature themselves.
With over 50 miles of hiking trails this state park also hosts one of Minnesota’s most iconic landmarks; the headwaters of the Mississippi River. One of the best state parks for hiking offering a diverse arrangement of trails with accessibility for everyone.
Superior Hiking Trail: For those who are searching for even more there is the Superior Hiking Trail. This trail starts at the Wild Valley Road Trailhead, southwest of Duluth, MN and winds its way along the shore of Lake Superior and ends close to the border of Canada. This is not for the faint of heart and to hike the whole length careful planning should be taken. This trail snakes through seven Minnesota State Parks:
Jay Cooke State Park , Gooseberry Falls State Park , Split Rock Lighthouse State Park , Tettegouche State Park) , Temperance River State Park , Cascade River State Park , and Judge C. R. Magney State Park. This trail gives you the ability to start and end when you reach your hiking limit. You can even stay overnight in the middle of the trail and hike a different stretch each day!
Split Rock Lighthouse is particularly interesting. In addition to the hiking and biking trails, campsites and scenic views you can take a tour of the Split Rock Lighthouse. The lighthouse is managed by the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) and there is a separate fee for the lighthouse. But, it is well worth your time. The photo and memory-making opportunities are endless!
There is even a Minnesota State Park Hiking Club through the Minnesota DNR. It has a list of 68 trails across the state parks that has a password on each trail to add to your hiking log. (https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/clubs.html) Get your Hiking Club book and find all the passwords!
Submitted by Holly Senger
Photo Credit: Holly Senger and MN DNR
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