Hiking trails in Minnesota guide you into our state's most beautiful scenery. Hiking is a favorite Minnesota outdoor activity and family fun experience. You will find hiking trails in Minnesota forests, state parks, along lakeshores, in rural areas and even in the Twin Cities.
Minnesota offers world-class hiking. Backpacker Magazine readers voted our Superior Hiking Trail as the second best long distance trail in the U.S. We of course believe it to be "superior."
Hundreds of miles of trail wind through the Chippewa National Forest, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Voyageurs National Park and, as well, all of Minnesota's State Parks.
Superior Hiking Trail: One of the best long-distance hiking trails in Minnesota, in fact in all of the U.S., is the Superior Hiking Trail which extends for nearly 200 miles along the Lake Superior North Shore.
A hike anywhere along this trail will offer some of the most stunning views anywhere.
The Superior Hiking Trail is also part of the National Scenic Trail that will ultimately stretch for more than 4,000 miles from New York to North Dakota.
Minnesota National Parks and Forests offer great hiking as well. Both the Chippewa National Forest and the Superior National Forest have many miles of trails.
Hiking trails in the Boundary Waters Minnesota Canoe Area Wilderness offer both very challenging and relatively easy routes.
Hiking trails in Minnesota State Parks are well marked and maintained. The more than 1,250 miles of hiking trails in our state parks will take you through dense forests and past rushing waterfalls.
Some of the most scenic state park trails are found in the state parks located along the north shore of Lake Superior.
1. Aiton Heights Trail at Itasca State Park
Found in Itasca State Park, this quick hike is about a mile in length. Once you reach the end of the trail, you’ll find the Aiton Fire tower. If you dare, climb the 136 steps to the top for sweeping views of beautiful Lake Itasca and the surrounding landscape. Because the trees will likely be bare in the springtime, you'll be able to see for miles around.
Oberg Mountain Loop:
This two and a quarter mile trail has unforgettable views of Lake Superior, Oberg Lake, and Moose Mountain. The elevation gain on this trail is accessible for most people, making it a nice hike for outdoorsy families. It spans 2.6 miles through northern Minnesota forest, each turn offering more beauty than the last.
Caribou Falls Trail
This little-known trail will deliver a big surprise! The 3/4-mile hike from the parking lot of the Caribou Falls State Wayside leads to gorgeous views of the 35-foot high Caribou Falls. You'll find the wayside along Highway 61 on the North Shore. Because of its lesser known location - not to mention the often unpredictable spring weather - you'll find a peaceful oasis in the woods if you visit this season.
Cascade River Lower Loop at Cascade River State Park
This easy half mile loop from the parking lot is packed with amazing views of the Cascade River falls! You'l cross through forest and over the river to get there, and each view is simply stunning. There just isn’t a bad view anywhere in this park. For the more adventurous hikers, offers 18 total miles of hiking trails. Why not try them all this spring?
Prairie Loop at Afton State Park
Afton State Park is home to the Priarie Loop Trail, and a total of twenty miles of hiking trails. The prairie loop trail is a short and sweet hike and in the spring is filled with beautiful buds, blooms and birds. Go late enough in the spring, and you might even see butterflies fluttering around the new wildflowers. All in all, this 3-mile loop trail is perfect in the springtime.
Big Spring Falls at Banning State Park
Banning State Park offers over 15 miles of great hiking trails for both beginners and seasoned trekkers alike. If you're looking for something a little more gentle, take the easy 3/4-mile Big Spring Falls Trail. You'll travel through the forest for a short distance before coming to the rushing Kettle River. The sight of it tumbling over the sandstone is nothing short of breathtaking.
Cliffline Trail at Blue Mounds State Park
A hike on the edge of a quartzite cliff is in store for those wanting to see the beautiful prairie flowers! Distant views of rolling prairie dotted with windmills is also on the agenda for anyone hiking this trail. Take the trail all the way around and you’ll likely spot the resident herd of bison! Then, head to the foot of the cliffs to see the beautiful quartzite up close.
Loop Trail at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park
This next trail isn't the shortest, but it's definitely worth visiting in the spring! Within an hour of the Twin Cities lies Nerstrand Big Woods State Park with its 11 miles of hiking trails. About 8 of those miles are along the Loop Trail, which leads hikers to a gorgeous waterfall. This park has nearly every kind of woodland bloom and a large identification guide to help you sort them. There is a lot to do at this pretty state park - even in the springtime!
Goldenrod Trail at Tamarack Nature Center
Located at the Tamarack Natire Center, this easy 2.8-mile trail loops through lush grasslands and - later in the season - beautiful flowers. This hike is perfect for a family day, and the nature center offers plenty of other fun activities for all ages.
Long Prairie Trail at Jeffers Petroglyphs
n May when spring is in full swing, this park is sure to be packed! Located in Minnesota's bluff country, this park draws fishermen and bird lovers alike. And because of its beautiful views, it also draws avid hikers. One of the best hikes is the Dakota Trail, a 3.9-mile trek through the woods. It passes alongside the Whitewater River, offering gorgeous water and cliff views.
Guide to the Superior Hiking Trail: Linking People with Nature by Footpath Along Lake Superior's North Shore
You can also experience some great hiking trails in Minnesota bluff country, our farming communities and the central lakes areas. The Twin Cities metro area has many hiking trails that offer stunning scenery in a peaceful atmosphere. Here are a couple of hiking suggestions: