Hike the Aspen Parklands Trail at Lake Bronson State Park

Rate this Adventure Aspen Parklands Trailhead, Lake Bronson, Minnesota, United States

  • Activities:

    Stand Up Paddle, Canoeing, Cycling, Camping, Fishing, Photography, Running, Kayaking, Swimming, Snowshoeing, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    3.4 Miles

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area
Swimming Hole

This easy hike winds through northern prairie, oak savanna, and aspen parkland and is a great place to see moose and historic WPA architecture.

Built in the 1930's by the Works Progress Administration, Lake Bronson was originally designed to be a major tourist attraction for the region. Due to lack of funding, most of the planned projects were never completed and the park has faded into obscurity. However, it still offers some of the best prairie hiking in the area and is one of only places in the United States you can experience aspen parkland, a transitional biome often described as a battleground between grass and trees. 

The best trail to see what the park has to offer is an extended version of the Aspen Parklands Interpretive Trail. Begin your hike at the park picnic grounds and take the trail heading east. The first section of the trail follows the shore of Lake Bronson and is mostly wooded. The park has a swimming beach and kayak and canoe rentals if you are looking to get out on the water. As the lake dwindles into a river, you will head north into the prairie and parkland. There is very little shade on this section, so be prepared with water and sunscreen if it's a sunny day and keep an eye our for the aggressive swallows that often dive bomb unsuspecting hikers. It is also the best place to catch a glimpse of moose or elk. If you have time, take the spur trail to the natural sand dunes and a pioneer graveyard. The trail will meander about a mile and half through the grasslands back to the picnic ground and the lake. Because this is the park's designated "hiking club" path, it is easy to follow - just look for the blue hiking club signs pointing you in the right direction. 

Pack List

  • Hiking Boots 
  • Bug Spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • Camera
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Joe Whitson Explorer

Minnesota Native. Check me out on Instagram: @joewhitson and feel free to shoot me an email if you want to talk more about things to do in Minnesota: joekentwhitson@gmail.com

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