The Best Outdoor Activities in Minnesota

Discover the best hiking, camping, backpacking, fitness, and more.

Explore Minnehaha Falls

Minnesota / Minnehaha Falls Park

Named after a legendary Indian princess, Minnehaha Creek cascades over a cliff in these dramatic falls just minutes from the downtowns of both Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Joe Whitson
458 Saves

Explore Frozen Minnehaha Falls

Minnesota / Minnehaha Falls Park

Minnehaha Falls Park in South Minneapolis is a big draw during the spring, summer and fall months. Experiencing an urban waterfall and scenic hiking trails in the middle of a major city is a treat.

Dan Mirocha
317 Saves

Explore Interstate State Park

Minnesota / Interstate SP Parking Area, MN

Situated on top of a series of craggy bluffs, Interstate State Park is a small park that offers amazing views of the St. Croix River gorge.

Joe Whitson
300 Saves

Hike Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park

Minnesota / Hidden Falls Trailhead

Curious about what Minnesota looked like in pre-settlement times? Then spend the day hiking through Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park, a botanical reserve for the temperate hardwood forest that once co.

Robin Pfeifer
246 Saves

Walk to Vermillion Falls

Minnesota / Vermillion Falls Parking

Begin in the Old Mills parking lot located on 18th Street E. Head south along the paved trail running parallel to the railroad tracks.

Robin Pfeifer
212 Saves

Hike the Afton State Park Trail

Minnesota / Afton State Park Trail

This diverse, 2,702-acre park has trails for both day hikers and backpackers – some with scenic views of the St. Croix River, others which drop into quiet ravines.

Joe Whitson
211 Saves

Camp at Whitewater State Park

Minnesota / Whitewater State Park Visitors Center

Whitewater State Park is at the cusp of bluff country, straddling the Whitewater River, a small tributary of the Mississippi. Spring and Autumn are the best times to visit.

Joe Whitson
210 Saves

Explore Minneopa State Park

Minnesota / Minneopa State Park Visitors Center Parking Lot

Located just five miles west of Mankato, Minnesota, Minneopa State Park is mostly known for its beautiful Minneopa Falls.

Lisa Groene
208 Saves

Hike to the Bear Lake Overlook

Minnesota / Superior Hiking Trail to Bear Lake

Leave from the carpark on Superior Hiking Trail. The trail climbs a little before descending into a valley and winding around the hills. In about 2.

Spud Groshong
193 Saves

Hike the Carlton Trail at Jay Cooke State Park

Minnesota / River Inn Visitors Center Parking Lot

Hike the trails at Jay Cooke State Park in the autumn to see a stunning display of red, gold, and orange foliage colors lining the banks of the St. Louis river.

Lisa Groene
177 Saves

Explore Palisade Head

Minnesota / Palisade Head Parking Lot

Just an hour north of Duluth, Palisade Head is a go-to spot for artists, rock climbers and sight-seers in Northern Minnesota.

Dan Mirocha
175 Saves

Explore Gooseberry Falls

Minnesota / Gooseberry Falls State Park

Gooseberry Falls State Park is the first State Park you hit traveling up the North Shore after leaving Duluth.

Allison Herreid
164 Saves

Hike to Shadow Falls

Minnesota / Shadow Falls

This easy and accessible hike takes you to a nice little waterfall within a ravine. From the parking lot, walk over to the River Overlook, then continue along the trail to the falls.

Run the Lake Harriet Loop

Minnesota / Lake Harriet Loop

This easily accessible loop takes you on a moderate walk around Lake Harriet, a popular recreational site for cyclers, walkers, runners, and families.

Joe Whitson
158 Saves

Hike in Wild River State Park

Minnesota / McElroy Visitor Center

Wild River State Park, located about 55 miles northeast of Minneapolis, is a fantastic getaway and caters to a wide-variety of visitors.

Robin Pfeifer
148 Saves

Hike to Wolf Creek Falls

Minnesota / Wolf Creek Trail, MN

Just off of Highway 35 near Sandstone, Minnesota, Banning State Park provides several areas to explore including the Kettle River, Historic Sandstone Quarry, and my favorite - Wolf Creek Falls.

Allison Herreid
145 Saves

Hike to King's Bluff in Great River Bluffs State Park

Minnesota / King's Bluff Trailhead

Great River Bluffs State Park follows a series of impressive bluffs along the Mississippi River just south of Winona.

Joe Whitson
144 Saves

Hike to the Superior Hiking Trail's Section 13

Minnesota / Superior Hiking Trail to Section 13

Getting there:From Duluth, follow Highway 61 until you reach mile marker 65 -- shortly after this you will turn left on Lake County Road 6.

Allison Herreid
142 Saves

Hike to the Fifth Falls of the Gooseberry River

Minnesota / Fifth Falls Trailhead

Gooseberry Falls State Park is the first State Park you hit traveling up the North Shore after leaving Duluth.

Allison Herreid
141 Saves

Hike to Shovel Point at Tettagouche State Park

Minnesota / Tettagouche State Park Visitor's Center

An easy hour along the North Shore Scenic Byway from Duluth, Tettagouche State Park is a rugged, 10,000 acre park on Lake Superior.

Joe Whitson
139 Saves

Hike Barn Bluff

Minnesota / Barn Bluff

Barn Bluff in Red Wing, Minn., is an enjoyable and easily-accessible hike. Even at a slow pace, it takes just 30-45 minutes to reach the peak.

Dan Mirocha
136 Saves

Camp on Star Island, MN

Minnesota / Highway 2 Rest Area / Boat Launch, MN

Star Island is located on Cass Lake in Northern Minnesota.

Chaniel Nelson
134 Saves

Explore the Minnesota River Bottoms

Minnesota / Minnesota River Bottoms

The "River Bottoms" is an unofficial network of single track, double track and service roads just south of Minneapolis along the Minnesota River flood plane.

Robin Pfeifer
132 Saves

Backcountry Camp at Glacial Lakes SP

Minnesota / Kettle Lake Campsite Trail

Glacial Lakes State Park is located on the easternmost border of the once immense prairie that covered much of the Great Plains.

Joe Whitson
127 Saves

Bike the Gitchi-Gami from Gooseberry to Split Rock

Minnesota / Gitchi-Gami Bike Trail

The Gitchi-Gami is a paved bike path that will eventually extend from Two Harbors to Grand Marais.

Jess Curren
109 Saves

Run Along the Mississippi River Flats

Minnesota / Franklin Bridge

This loop takes you from the Franklin Bridge to the Washington Avenue Bridge, crossing through campus, in between.

Joe Whitson
109 Saves

Hike the Quarry Loop Trail

Minnesota / Quarry Loop Trail

The Quarry Loop is an easy hike in Banning State Park, which draws its name from the abandoned sandstone quarry you pass along the way.

Allison Herreid
108 Saves

Hike the Pike Island Loop

Minnesota / Pike Island Loop

The Pike Island Loop, located in Fort Snelling State Park, is a beautiful urban hike that circles a lush island at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers in the heart of the Twin Citi.

Dan Mirocha
108 Saves

Hike the Grey Cloud Dunes Scientific and Natural Area Loop

Minnesota / Grey Cloud Dunes South Parking Area

Grey Cloud Dunes Scientific and Natural Area, the largest intact prairie system located within the Twin Cities, is home to a number of rare plants and animals.

Robin Pfeifer
107 Saves

Exploring the Minnesota Valley NWR

Minnesota / Long Meadow Lake Trail

It is 3.5 miles long one-way from the visitors center (3815 American Blvd. East 55425) to Cedar Ave. Bridge.

Joe Whitson
105 Saves

Explore the High Falls of the Pigeon River

Minnesota / Grand Portage State Park Parking Lot

This is a must-visit if you find yourself near the Minnesota-Canadian border by Lake Superior. A quick turn into the Grand Portage State Park parking lot off of Highway 61, and a short 0.

Allison Herreid
104 Saves

Hike to High Falls and Two Step Falls

Minnesota / Tettegouche State Park Trailhead parking lot

Located within Tettegouche State Park, High Falls of the Baptism river is the highest waterfall entirely in Minnesota (High Falls of the Pigeon River is higher, but half of it lies on the Ontario bo.

Lisa Groene
102 Saves

Hike Lookout Mountain Trail in Cascade River State Park

Minnesota / Superior Hiking Trail East Cascade River Spur

Halfway between Schroeder and Grand Marais, Cascade is usually little more than a pit stop on a longer trip.

Joe Whitson
97 Saves

Explore Illgen Falls

Minnesota / Illgen Falls Pull-off

After you drive past Tettegouche State Park, continue until you reach Highway 1. Turn left and continue on the road for 1.

Allison Herreid
92 Saves

Walk Across the Mississippi River in Itasca SP

Minnesota / Itasca State Park Visitors Center

At the Headwaters Trailhead there is a visitor center, bathrooms and a large interactive station for kids and adults to learn interesting facts about the Mississippi and the history of the area.

Alex Anderson
91 Saves

Hike to Caribou Falls

Minnesota / Caribou Falls State Wayside Rest

Caribou Falls is a true hidden gem located along the Superior Hiking trail on Minnesota's North Shore.

Lisa Groene
90 Saves

Hike "The Mound" at Blue Mounds State Park

Minnesota / Lower Cliffline Trailhead

The badlands of South Dakota meet the prairies of Minnesota in Blue Mounds State Park.

Robin Pfeifer
89 Saves

Explore Artists' Point, MN

Minnesota / Artists' Point

The town of Grand Marais on the North Shore of Lake Superior is two hours northeast of Duluth and about 4.5 hours from Minneapolis.

Dan Mirocha
88 Saves

Snowshoe to Corundum Point at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Minnesota / Gooseberry Falls State Park

Although there are dozens of ways to do this trip and I encourage you to explore, I suggest one hike that I think does a good job of introducing this areas to new visitors.

Joe Whitson
85 Saves

Hike to Devil's Kettle

Minnesota / Judge C.R. Magney State Park Parking Lot

For those who enjoy waterfalls, the Devil's Kettle waterfall is a must see. The Devil's Kettle trail will lead you to perhaps one of Minnesota's most unusual waterfalls along the North Shore.

Lisa Groene
84 Saves

Explore Jeffers Petroglyphs

Minnesota / Jeffers Petroglyphs Visitors Center

Located smack dab in the center of farm country, the Jeffers Petroglyphs are something you wouldn't expect to find in southwest Minnesota.

Lisa Groene
77 Saves

Hike Oberg Mountain

Minnesota / Oberg Mountain Parking Area

The hike to the top of Oberg Mountain is short and sweet. The trail starts off with a climb of roughly 230ft in about a half of a mile before getting to the top of Oberg Mountain.

Michael McKenzie
76 Saves

Hike the Crow-Hassan Regional Park Loop

Minnesota / Crow-Hassan Regional Park Parking Area

Crow-Hassan Park Reserve is the largest prairie based park in the Twin Cities metro area.

Joe Whitson
73 Saves

Hike Split Rock Lighthouse State Park to Corundum Point

Minnesota / Split Rock Lighthouse SP Parking Area

On November 28, 1905, a violent storm hit Split Rock Point on the North Shore of Lake Superior.

Joe Whitson
72 Saves

Cliff Jump at Beth Lake in the BWCA

Minnesota / Sawbill Lake

Beth Lake is part of the "Lady Chain" of lakes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. It's secluded, serene and worth the trip, especially if you're up for an afternoon of cliff jumping.

Dan Mirocha
71 Saves

Bike the Cannon Valley Trail

Minnesota / Cannon Valley Trail

There are multiple entry points to the Cannon Valley Trail along the 19.7 miles of paved path that connect the towns of Cannon Falls and Red Wing.

Dan Mirocha
71 Saves

Explore Minnemishinona Falls

Minnesota / Minnemishinona Falls

On Judson Bottom Road, you will see a low, red bridge to the left of the road. Just past the bridge, on the same side, there is a dirt parking lot.

Hiking The Lost Forty

Minnesota / The Lost Forty Trailhead

A little known section of the Chippewa National Forest called “The Lost Forty" leads day hikers through some of the last remaining virgin red and white pine trees in Minnesota.

Robin Pfeifer
70 Saves

Explore the Temperance River Gorge

Minnesota / Temperance River State Park

Temperance River State Park is located near Schroeder, and parking can be found alongside Highway 61 for easy access to the trail following the riverbed.

Allison Herreid
69 Saves

Camp at George H. Manitou Crosby State Park

Minnesota / Superior Hiking Trail - George H. Manitou Crosby State Park

George H. Crosby Manitou State Park is a lesser known park along Minnesota's North Shore.

Jess Curren
68 Saves

Hike the Beaver Creek Valley Trail

Minnesota / Beaver Creek Valley State Park Visitor Center

This beautiful, green hike takes you along Beaver Creek, as it winds through a lush gorge within the bluffs.

Joe Whitson
63 Saves

Drive Superior National Forest's Fall Color Route

Minnesota / Cramer Rd/Hwy 7

Every Autumn, Superior National Forest in northern Minnesota designates some of it's best roads as official Fall Color Routes.

Joe Whitson
59 Saves

Hike Eagle Mountain

Minnesota / Eagle Mountain Trailhead

This moderate hike takes you to the highest point in Minnesota, at all of 2,301 ft in elevation. The first part of the hike, which runs along Whale Lake, is a gentle upwards climb.

Joe Whitson
58 Saves

Walk the Big Bog Boardwalk

Minnesota / Big Bog Boardwalk

Big Bog, an uninspired name for the 500 sq. mile bog in north central Minnesota (the largest in the continental United States), is sometimes called Minnesota's last true wilderness.

Joe Whitson
57 Saves

Summit Mount Tom

Minnesota / Mount Tom Trail

This pleasant hike in Sibley State Park takes you through a variety of landscapes, including prairie, woods, and hills, before reaching the summit, where decent elevation and a lookout tower give pan.

Hike the Winchell Trail

Minnesota / Winchell Trail

This 5 mile roundtrip trail meanders along the Mississippi River bluffs on the west bank and is separate from the paved bike trail. The trail runs from 44th St. to Franklin Ave.

Cassie Janssen
53 Saves

Bike the Rice Creek North Regional Trail

Minnesota / Rice Creek North Regional Trail

The Rice Creek North Regional Trail is 13.8 miles in total, but can be broken up into two different sections (connected by a 3.4 mile bike on county roads).

Allison Herreid
53 Saves

Walk the Prairie Loop at Richardson Nature Center

Minnesota / Richardson Nature Center

Begin your hike behind the Visitor's Center and follow the path to the left towards the Prairie Loop Trail.

Joe Whitson
48 Saves

Kayak Lake O'Dowd

Minnesota / Lake O'Dowd

This beautiful, calm lake is ideal for those who prefer seclusion out on the water.

Ian Jamieson
46 Saves

Camp on BWCA's Lake 2

Minnesota / Lake One Portage

A trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area requires some planning ahead. First, you'll need acquire a permit/reservation via recreation.gov .

Dan Mirocha
44 Saves

Paddle the Boundary Waters' Cherokee Loop

Minnesota / Sawbill Canoe Outfitters

Home to more than 1,000 lakes, nearly 2,200 campsites, and a staggering array of wildlife, including moose, wolves, loons, and bald eagles, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) is one of.

Greg Owens
42 Saves

Hike to Carlton Peak

Minnesota / Temperance River State Park

One of the trailheads for this hike begins at Temperance River State Park. Parking can be found alongside Highway 61.

Allison Herreid
41 Saves

Run the Mazomani Trail

Minnesota / Louisville Swamp Parking Area

This easy loop is more for exploring the wetland ecosystem, called the Louisville Swamp, and its wildlife than for the exercise.

Paddle the Cannon River

Minnesota / Welch Mill

If you want a quiet, secluded paddle, this may not be the adventure for you. The Cannon River is a very popular destination in the summer months for groups of canoers, kayakers and tubers.

Dan Mirocha
36 Saves

Hike the Dakota Valley Trail at Camden State Park

Minnesota / Camden SP Parking Area

The easy 2.4 mile hike follows the route of the Dakota Valley trail.

Joe Whitson
32 Saves

Hike the Chester Creek Trail

Minnesota / Chester Creek Trail

Chester Creek is a prime example of how Duluth, MN values the many green spaces within its borders. The trailhead to Chester Creek is easy to find.

Hike the Kadunce River Wayside Trail

Minnesota / Kadunce River

Cool off in the summer on Kadunce River Wayside Trail, a hike with small waterfalls that is accessible for the whole family.

Canoe to Loon Lake from Entry #14

Minnesota / Entry Point #14

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is located in the northern portion of the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota.

Derek Tice
31 Saves

Explore Ramsey Falls

Minnesota / Ramsey Falls

This waterfall and observation deck are just a short walk from the west-most parking lot off of Grove Street. Just to the right of the same lot is a suspension bridge, as well.

Hike the Riverside Trail in William O'Brien SP

Minnesota / William O'Brien Parking

From the Visitor Center Parking lot follow the Riverside Trail along the side of the lot and down the main road.

Lily Frenette
28 Saves

Hike to the Magnetic Rock

Minnesota / Magnetic Rock Trail

Branching off of Gunflint Trail, Magnetic Rock Trail first passes through a regenerating forest, a result of past fires, where there are young pines as well as wild blueberries in the summer.

Camp at Alton Lake in the BWCA

Minnesota / Sawbill Canoe Outfitters

A trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area requires some planning ahead. First, you'll need to book a permit/reservation via recreation.gov.

Dan Mirocha
27 Saves

Kayak along the Shoreline of Tettegouche State Park

Minnesota / Northshore Mining Water Access

Begin your kayaking tour at the Northshore Mining Access (http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/maps/kayaking/lswt_map2.pdf) in Silver Bay, right after you pass the Northshore Mining facility.

Allison Herreid
25 Saves

Paddle the Boundary Waters' Seagull to Saganaga Loop

Minnesota / Seagull Canoe Outfitters

First, things first - plan your trip well! There are many details that need to go into planning even a short trip into the Boundary Waters.

Emily Kent
25 Saves

Explore Rifle Lake in the BWCA

Minnesota / Lake One Portage

The best part of Rifle Lake is how remote it is. There's no quick way to find this small, secluded lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

Dan Mirocha
23 Saves

Camp at Trail's End Campground

Minnesota / Trail's End Campground

Trail's End Campground is located at the very end of the Gunflint Trail, a remote highway that cuts into the heart of the Minnesota Northwoods.

Joe Whitson
22 Saves

Canoe or Kayak the Ensign and Birch Lake Loop

Minnesota / Moose Lake Entry Point 25, BWCA, MN

This is a great 24 mile loop if you are last minute planning or are only doing a weekend kayak/canoe trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, MN.

Devin K
21 Saves

Hike to Fantasia Overlook

Minnesota / SHT Hwy 1 Parking

Getting to the trailhead: From Hwy. 61, turn left onto Hwy. 1 (at milepost 59.3) and travel 0.

Allison Herreid
18 Saves

Camp and Mountain Bike Cuyana State Recreation Area

Minnesota / Portsmouth Campground

Cuyuna Lakes Recreation Area has put a lot of time, money and resources into building this amazing IMBA trail system.

Jess Curren
14 Saves

Snowshoe the Split Rock River Loop Trail

Minnesota / State Highway 61 Wayside Trailhead

Beginning at the Split Rock Wayside rest stop, start your hike up the Spur Trail. About half a mile in, the Spur Trail will junction with the Superior Hiking Trail.

Lisa Groene
12 Saves

Hike to Kawishiwi Falls

Minnesota / Kawishiwi Falls Trail

The trail to Kawishiwi Falls begins at the parking lot and winds through a wooded trail with minimal elevation gain.

Allison Herreid
11 Saves

Snowshoe the Kadunce River Canyon

Minnesota / Kadunce River

The Kadunce River provides visitors with several waterfalls and rapids in the summer, and when the river freezes over in the winter, snowshoeing up the canyon becomes a possibility.

Allison Herreid
11 Saves

Hike Blind Ash Bay Trail in Voyageurs NP

Minnesota / Blind Ash Bay Trail

This trail starts either in the parking lot near the Ash River Visitor Center, or from the Kabetogama Lake overlook.

Jess Curren
10 Saves

Bike the Paved Trail in St. Croix State Park

Minnesota / St. Croix Paved Bike Path

Getting There: The entrance to St. Croix State Park is located 15 miles east of Hinckley, Minnesota on Highway 48. It is another 5 miles to the Park Office. The Paved Bicycle Path: The path is 5.

Allison Herreid
10 Saves

Walk the Loop at Pipestone National Monument

Minnesota / Pipestone National Monument Parking

Near the border of South Dakota in Minnesota, 30 minutes north of I-90 on County Route 23 or State Route 75 is the historic town of Pipestone.

Michael Wigle
9 Saves

Canoe or Kayak Lake Kabetogama

Minnesota / Lake Kabetogama, MN

Lake Kabetogama is located in Voyageurs National Park and is one of the main attractions for the park. We saw so many vehicles with boat trailers in every parking lot.

Jess Curren
9 Saves

Canoe to the Palisades on Seagull Lake in the BWCA

Minnesota / Seagull Lake Boat Launch at Trail's End Campground

Begin your trip at the Seagull Lake boat launch at Trail's End Campground.

Joe Whitson
8 Saves

Hike to White Sky Rock

Minnesota / White Sky Rock Parking

From Hwy 61 in Lutsen, you'll turn on Caribou Trail (Hwy 4). You'll drive about 4 miles and turn right for the public boat launch area.

Hike to Ely's Peak

Minnesota / Ely's Peak Parking Area

Ely's Peak is located near the neighborhood of Gary-New Duluth. It is located right off of Becks Road. To get there from Grand Avenue you'll turn onto Becks Road.

Catch a Sunset at Honeymoon Bluff

Minnesota / Honeymoon Bluff Trailhead

Getting to the trailhead:The trailhead for the Honeymoon Bluff trail is just off of Co 66 (Clearwater Rd) which is 30 miles up the Gunflint Trail.

Allison Herreid
3 Saves

Participate in the Old North Canoe Program in Voyageurs National Park

Minnesota / Ash River Visitor Center

Visiting Voyageurs National Park was the highlight of our summer last year.

Jess Curren
2 Saves

Hike to Britton Peak

Minnesota / Britton Peak Trailhead

This hike is very short and rewarding. It doesn't take longer than 15 minutes if you wanted to make it a quick pit stop before or after you hike Carlton Peak.