Last weekend, we visited our 20th Minnesota State Park! I think that’s pretty impressive given that we’ve only lived here for a year and a half and that Minnesota is covered in three feet of snow most of the time.
Our most recent day trip was to Afton State Park, one of the most popular (and crowded) parks we’ve been to yet. Located only 40 minutes outside of Minneapolis, it’s directly on the St. Croix River that makes up the Minnesota/Wisconsin border. To one side is the river and on the other is the Afton Alps Golf and Ski area. There are tons of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails and all of the campsites are backpack-in only.
We arrived around 10 a.m. on Sunday and there was already a line of cars pulled up to the park office to buy passes. We were able to bypass that madness and I hopped out of the car to grab a map. This state park has one of the largest parking lots I’ve seen and it too was already packed with cars. I honestly hadn’t done much research ahead of time so I had no clue why this state park was such an attraction. From what I can tell, I think it’s just because of its close proximity to St. Paul.
It was a muggy and humid day, but we hiked along the North River Trail which was very flat and well-maintained and then looped back down on the prairie trails that were a bit more challenging and steep but offered great views of the St. Croix.
To reward ourselves for the hike, we swung through St. Paul on our way back to Minneapolis and grabbed sandwiches at Cecil’s, Glenn’s favorite (and possibly the only) authentic Jewish deli in the Twin Cities.
Final thoughts on Afton State Park: it’s a large and well-maintained park that a lot of people from the cities can enjoy. It was a little too busy and developed for my taste. I’m glad we checked it off of our list but I prefer to seek out the hidden-gems of Minnesota. We have a camping trip to one of those gems planned over Labor Day weekend and I can’t wait to share it with you all!
Thanks for stopping by! xoxo