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Hike the Afton State Park Trail

Hastings, Minnesota

3.6/5
based on 5 reviews

Details

Distance

3.5 miles

Elevation Gain

740 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Joe Whitson

Beautiful look-outs above the St. Croix River, with over 20 miles of hiking trails to choose from and campgrounds are available. There is also horseback riding, bird-watching, cross-country skiing, swimming, mountain biking in 2,702 acres of park and only 5 miles from Afton.

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. For the best views of the valley, explore off-trail, where you may find hidden bluffs with panoramic views.

The park also offers horseback riding, mountain biking, swimming, and cross-country skiing, in the winter.

A good introductory hike in the park begins at the visitors' center. Take the steps down towards the St. Croix River, and continue walking alongside the riverbank until you pass a beach and the trail turns left. Climbing upwards, you will reach a trail junction about 1.4 miles in. Keep left to loop back towards the river, eventually taking you back to where you started at the visitors' center.

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Features

Hiking
Beach
Family Friendly
Forest
Scenic

Reviews

This is an easy park to get to from the Twin Cities - about 40min to an hour drive. I've hiked here in all the seasons and the trails are always well maintained and there are gorgeous views of the St Croix. it gets pretty packed in the summer on the main trails but there are plenty of offshoot trails to escape on. Also a great place to snowshoe and cross country ski in the winter!

I grew up in Lake St. Croix Beach, just north along the river from Afton, and this is still my favorite casual nature stroll in Minnesota.

I intended to camp at Afton State Park but after finding out how expensive camping is for tents in Minnesota, decided to save my money for a park farther from home. ($27/one night/primitive tent site) Instead, I visited for a day trip and hiked 4 miles through their small prairie, deciduous forest, and along the riverfront. It was a lovely hike for a warm day, though much of what they called trails were actually paved pathways. It was very crowded with people visiting the river beach but after hiking about a mile in, the crowds pretty much vanished. Lovely for the day but would probably explore new places in the future rather than return to Afton.

This is a great park to do some day hiking! Multiple trails to choose from-amazing views.

Love the trail by the river! Great place to head towards some sand and have a beach picnic (don't litter!). Also great for running and fall photos.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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