Hike the Aspen Parklands Trail at Lake Bronson State Park

Lake Bronson, Minnesota



3.4 miles

Route Type



Added by Joe Whitson

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. 

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Stand Up Paddle
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area
Swimming Hole

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