Sorry for the unintended absence. I know you all were waiting with baited breath for my next post so here goes nothing!
I’m going to try to do some different series here on the blog with the first one being about hiking! Hiking for me is so relaxing. I’m away from the city sounds and I can just listen to the sounds of the forest. Ok, I’ll stop now because I sound like a Disney princess or something. It is just nice to get outside and take a long walk with my dog. I love taking pictures and he loves sniffing and peeing on so many new things. It’s a win win for us. My hope is that you will eventually be able to click on the tag “hiking” and have a list of places to go whenever you feel like getting outside. So, get those hiking shoes on and let’s head to Afton State Park!
Afton State park is a beautiful park right along the St. Croix river. What I like about this park is the vast array of things to see. There are huge trees in a large forest area, open prairies, small creeks and of course the river with a really nice beach. There is also a great picnic area by the beach so maybe pack a lunch with you! The difficulty level of the hikes varies depending on which trail you choose. It can be short, easy hikes along the river that you can do in flip-flops or you can go for more of a challenge and hike up the hills.
My suggestion is to start at the visitors center and head down the big flight of stairs toward the river. Take the North River trail (the flat, gravel path) all the way to the end. Once you hit the end, there is only one way from there and it’s up! You’ll hike up a steep hill and end up in a pretty prairie with a great view of the river. I found the trail markings up at the top of bluff somewhat confusing but just know, it is all a circle and you’ll eventually need to go back down that big hill towards the river.
When you come back down, keep heading toward the river. You’ll come out from the trail onto a beach which is great to let your dog go for a swim or just sit on the sand and soak it all in for a minute. This is a public beach so if you packed your suit, you can hop in the water to cool down!
After a nice relaxing time by the river with your picnic lunch, it’s time to head back toward the visitors center and your car. Remember those long stairs that you had to go down to get to river? Guess what! Now you get to climb up them! Yay!
I hope you all got a taste for Afton State Park and it made you want to get out and explore! This will be a reoccurring series this summer with more hikes for you to check out so stay tuned! Let me know in the comments if there is anything else you’d like me to add in future posts.
Tell me more, tell me more:
Cost? $5 park entrance fee (same for all MN state parks) or you can buy an annual pass for $ 25.
The nitty gritty: Take 94E and get off on 95 south. Once you are on 95S for about 10 minutes, you should see signs for the park. Head towards the state park (straight ahead) and not to the left towards the ski area. When you pull in, you’ll see a small building to the right where you can buy your daily permit. Keep going down the road (it’s a ways) until you see signs for the visitors center. There is a large parking lot but I would suggest going towards the far end as you’re closer to the trailhead from there. Here’s a link to a map of the trails. The trails are (mostly) well marked with maps posted throughout the park.
I want to know even more! Here a link to their website for more information.