• Activities:

    Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    3.5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    740 Feet

Beach
Family Friendly
Forest
Scenic

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.

Pack List

  • Daypack
  • Hiking boots
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camping gear
  • Gear for other activities
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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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Reviews

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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.

5 months ago
5 months ago

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.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

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

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

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.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

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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