6 Of The Best Hiking Trails In Minnesota

Hiking can be a surprisingly rewarding experience, physically and mentally benefitting you. Minnesota has many such hiking trails that will be a fun experience for beginners, seasoned hikers, and the whole family! Many spectacular vistas, lakes natural sceneries await you, so let’s explore hiking in Minnesota.

Hiking trails in Minnesota suit beginners, intermediate and seasoned hikers. Crosby Farm Park, Northern River, Trout Brook, Prairie Loop, and Caribou Rock Trail are some of the best hikes in Minnesota. Landscapes include woods, rivers, and forests. You can see animals like moose, grouse, and deer. 

If you’re planning a hiking trip for the family, or you’re thinking of getting away for the weekend, Minnesota has you covered! There’s a great trail for every level of hiker that will guarantee you enjoy nature to its fullest and come out the other side feeling satisfied and refreshed.

Hiking In Minnesota

Minnesota has some of the healthiest alternatives for hiking trail difficulties. Some trails are great for introducing new hikers, while others contain challenges that test both intermediate and expert hikers. You can also bring your canine companions along for the hike as long as they are on their leashes.

Most trails range from three to eight miles and take up to six hours to complete. There are also restrooms, picnic, and camping areas all along the trail in case you prefer to take regular stops throughout your hike, or you want to have some lunch.

Beginner hikers will enjoy Crosby Farm Park, Crosby Farm Regional Par. It has rivers, slight inclines, paved and natural walkways that make it a great way to ease beginners into long-term hiking. If you’re feeling adventurous, there are small pathways along the trail that make for an exciting bit of exploration, too. 

People with a more adventurous hiking spirit will find their fill with Northern River, Trout Brook, And Prairie Loop. It boasts woodlands, prairies, and rivers to overcome, and interconnecting trails give you the freedom to explore. Overall, it provides a healthy balance between challenge and beauty that will have you wanting more.

Hikers who prioritize the challenge won’t be disappointed with Caribou Rock Trail, Superior National Forest. Its rugged terrain with many inclines and drops and challenging rock scrambles is not for the faint of heart, and you can expect to become sore after this one!

Minnesota Hiking Trails For The Whole Family

Family hiking trips usually contain fun and adventure, and Minnesota’s trails accommodate this fact beautifully. They are not overly strenuous, great for all ages, and offer engaging wildflowers, lakes, birds, deer, and other natural elements that make every trip a memorable one!

Crosby Farm Park, Crosby Farm Regional Park

Crosby Farm Park is a 3.3-mile moderately trafficked circular path near Mendota, Minnesota, with a lake suitable for all skill levels. There are various activities available on the trail. Your dogs are welcome to join you, but they must be on a leash. It takes around 1 hour and 23 minutes to finish the hike.

The track runs alongside a small lake and river and is a lovely, quiet walk through the woods. A beautiful park may exist in the heart of a city, but be aware that the region is prone to floods, and the surface may become muddy.

Pavement with partial railings, gravel, or natural surfaces makes up the trail surface, usually 2 to 5 feet wide. At the west end of the route, there are two designated accessible parking spaces in the paved parking lot off of Crosby Farm Road. Both have a striped access aisle and are van-accessible.

According to reports, the stretch alongside Shephard has an uneven cross slope and may be too narrow for wheelchairs. The primarily unpaved surface type may necessitate all-terrain tires or motorized equipment, and benches are resting along the route.

Although the hiking trail is relatively easy to follow, specific sections on the lakeside become relatively narrow and overgrown, necessitating climbing over and under a few huge felled trees on the riverside.

The route offers beautiful views and plenty of natural nooks and crannies to explore, as well as the option of taking a calm stroll along the lake on both sides. It makes it an especially thrilling route for small children!

Lebanon Hills Blue Trail Loop, Lebanon Hills Regional Park

The Lebanon Hills Blue Route Loop is a 2.5-mile frequently traveled loop trail in Saint Paul, Minnesota, that features lovely wildflowers and is suitable for hikers of all abilities. This route is also available to dogs, but they must remain on a leash. The trail is open year-round and provides a variety of activities.

This path will take you around 1 hour and 12 minutes to complete. It’s also worth mentioning that high tides might make the bridge impassable, so plan appropriately.

Hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are all popular activities in this portion of the Lebanon Hills Regional Park. The path is well-marked, and the terrain is varied. Hikers and cyclists will find the rocky terrain and hills a good challenge.

This path offers enough variety in the terrain to make walking enjoyable, with many more ups and downs than the rest of Lebanon.

Minnesota Hiking Trails For The Intermediate Hiker

It’s no secret that experienced hikers crave adventure, intrigue, and a great workout – and Minnesota has it all! You won’t be disappointed by the changing landscapes, rocky climbs, elevation changes, and the prospect of seeing animals in their natural habitat around a lake or river.

These trails usually involve a “pick your own adventure” element thanks to their many interconnecting trails, and more than likely, there will be picnic spots scattered throughout for when you want to have lunch.

Northern River, Trout Brook, And Prairie Loop

The Northern River, Trout Brook, and Prairie Circular is a moderately used 7.2-mile loop path near Afton, Minnesota that features a river. The route is at its finest from March to October and provides a variety of activities. This hiking trail takes approximately 3 hours and 32 minutes to complete.

This lovely walk features a variety of environments, including woodland, prairie, and rivers. There are enough height variations for every hiker to find challenging and heart-pumping. The stroll by the river is charming in the fall because of beautifully-colored trees and leaves. 

The track is well-kept and offers a variety of alternatives for exploring the surrounding region or staying close to the water. In truth, everyone should experience this trail at least once! There is a healthy combination of beauty and challenge, ranging from the smashing waves on the coast to the gorgeous plains at the summit of a 3/4 mile ascent.

Because the grassland at the top is wide open, it’s worth your while to carry plenty of sunblock. As you adventure through the various points on the trail, you’ll come across surprisingly steep inclines that will have you working up a sweat without even trying.

Don’t be deceived by the first mile of picturesque paved vistas; there are some hidden trails with incredible payoffs on this one. There is lots of parking and facilities accessible at the entry and plenty of picnic and camping areas.

Superior Trail: Silver Bay To Illgen City

Superior Path: Silver Bay to Illgen City is an 11.3-mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail containing a lake classed as moderate. It exists near Silver Bay, Minnesota. The trail takes around 5 hours and 47 minutes to complete is generally used for hiking, camping, nature visits, and backpacking.

The route features a diverse range of fauna and vistas. The Beaver Pond and East Palisade Creek campgrounds contain most of the muck. Although you may encounter muddy areas, waterproof footwear is not required; you can easily navigate them using hiking boots and trekking poles, as well as stepping stones, logs, and bypasses.

Bear Lake offers excellent camping, but there are only two tent sites available, and the region is devoid of firewood. The elevation climbs, particularly on Mount Trudee, can be challenging for the faint of heart, particularly while carrying a large pack. Around Bear Lake, 4G phone service begins to fade.

There are extra (unofficial) tent pads at the Bear Lake campground entrance but no restroom.

Beaver Pond is a gorgeous spot, and East Palisade Creek campsites provide plenty of space for ten or more tents, as well as water. The Drainpipe stairs between Pine Knob and the Tetteguche High Falls are the most challenging climb.

It’s primarily wooded, with plenty of shade and photo opportunities. There are blue painted signs where to turn and continue throughout the path and maps displayed at crucial intersections.

Minnesota Hiking Trails For The Born Mountaineer

Seasoned hikers will indeed find their thrill and fill in Minnesota’s rugged terrains. Be prepared for shockingly steep inclines, elevations up to 1400 feet, falls, roots, rocks, and other obstacles to overcome!

Superior Hiking Trail: Cascade River Loop

Superior Hiking Route: Cascade River Loop is an 8-mile moderately trafficked loop trail with a waterfall classed as challenging in West Cook, Minnesota. The path is best utilized from May to October and is excellent for hiking and camping.

This hiking path truly deservingly bears the moniker “extraordinary” – it’s the genuine deal! This route is also accessible for dogs, although they must be on a leash. It takes around 3 hours and 37 minutes to finish the path.

It will put you through your paces and is not for the inexperienced hiker or young children. You’ll climb 8.2 miles and gain almost 1400 feet in elevation, passing over rocks, roots, rivers, rapids, falls, and other obstacles.

The route is narrow in places, densely forested with roots and boulders, and surrounded by dense foliage. The west side has a lot of tree roots and a short steep section down to a creek crossing with the stairs out. There are some steep inclines on both sides, so poles and excellent shoes or hiking boots will come in handy.

With all of the stunning fall colors, this trek is a must-do. It’s well-marked and offers some fantastic elevation views of the forests as well as river vistas.

Caribou Rock Trail, Superior National Forest

Caribou Rock Path is an out-and-back trail with a lake 8.5 miles long and lightly frequented in East Cook, Minnesota. The trail is generally great for hiking and jogging and rates very challenging. It takes 4 hours and 23 minutes on average to finish.

The views are breathtaking, but the trek is arduous, and there are a few areas where it’s easy to get lost. Keep an eye out for regions with predominantly rock terrain, and if you think you’ve lost the route, it most likely switched, and you missed it. Because there is little to no signage, the app comes in very handy!

Moose, pileated woodpeckers, grouse, loons, and trout are common sightings. On Rose Lake, there are multiple beautiful vistas, complex but safe scrambles, and the payoff of a waterfall and scenic cliffs.

The Caribou Rock Trail is the most challenging section. It’s rugged terrain with many inclines and drops, so bring plenty of water until you get to Rose Falls. Expect to feel sore after this one, but it’ll be well worth it! There are a few places where you can avoid treefalls, and while it may get a little wacky, it’s not too bad.

There are numerous steep ascents and descents, with a total elevation of roughly 2400 feet. You’ll pass through several wooded places with little peaks, lake vistas, and beautiful cliffs.

Also, be cautious of the pebbles and roots. Even with hiking boots, the rocks and roots may become incredibly slippery when it rains, and it’s like leaping on the ice with skate protection.

Conclusion

Families should consider Crosby Farm Park, Crosby Farm Regional Park, for its simple landscape and beautiful scenery. Intermediates and experts will certainly get the heart pumping when doing hikes like Northern River, Trout Brook, And Prairie Loop, and Caribou Rock Trail, Superior National Forest.