Hike the Dakota Valley Trail at Camden State Park

Camden SP Parking Area

The Dakota Valley Trail allows hikers to see the best of Camden State Park. Situated along the Redwood River in southwestern Minnesota, the park features native prairie at the top of a broad river valley, mature oak forests throughout the valley, and giant cottonwoods along river bottoms. Expect to see wildlife like deer and coyotes as well as historic CCC architecture. In a region dominated by cornfields, its a forested oasis well worth visiting.

The easy 2.4 mile hike follows the route of the Dakota Valley trail. Beginning at the swimming beach, located at the very bottom of the Redwood River Valley, the trail slowly climbs, winding its way through all of the different ecosystems the park has to offer. It summits at an overlook where you can see the river and much of the valley, a view best seen during peak fall color season.

For most of the hike, you'll be following the top edge of the steep river bluffs, weaving between forests and prairies. The trail eventually backtracks, cuts through the prairie and oak savannas at the top of the ridge, and then rapidly descends back to the hollow where you began. If its a hot day, cool off with swim in the lake at the trailhead, explore more of the park's trails, and then head the nearby town of Marshall for a brew and some rural Minnesota culture.

If you're looking to make this an overnight adventure, details for Camden's campground can be found here.

Pack List

  • Hiking Shoes
  • Park Map
  • Water
  • Camera
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RT Distance 2.4 Miles
Elevation Gain 200 Feet
Activities Chillin, Camping, Photography, Running, Swimming, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Bathrooms
Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Lake
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Reviews

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Winding Trail

The trail is well groomed and easy to walk. We spent a day last September exploring the park and did this trail. My daughter and I are in the process of visiting all MN State parks and this trail has been one of our favorites. A great mixture of a walk in the woods and skirting the meadows.


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