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Best Family Hiking Trails In Minnesota


I believe most Minnesotans will tell you their favorite season is fall. It’s because we don’t have to deal with the humidity of summer or the arctic cold of winter. It’s the perfect weather and time to plan a camping trip. It’s also the ideal time to try out one of the best family hiking trails in Minnesota. As we enter into September the colors on the leaves in Northern MN start to change into their true hue. Over the following weeks the rainbow of change moves South. I have made a list of places you can explore the fall beauty with your family this year. Wither you are camping or looking for a day trip the locations below are an excellent way to welcome the changing season, fall.

The North Shore

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This is no surprise to have the North Shore on our list. It’s a destination that many will travel to for fall colors. From Duluth to Grand Portage you are guaranteed to have breath taking views. One of my favorite spots along the North Shore is Gooseberry Falls. It hosts a stunning 8 1/2-mile hike. You will want to keep the kiddos close by because there are areas that could be questionable due to steep rocks and short edges. Follow the shoreline to Lutsen to enjoy the quarter mile trek of White Sky Rock. You can take in the overlook of Caribou Lake and the views of the maple forests while you are there.

Here is a handy North Shore website to get more information.

Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area

The midwest has a healthy string of State Parks that give us the ability to get lost in nature. Minnesota Valley is under an hour from Minneapolis and if you pair the hike with a trip to Emma Krumbee’s, in Belle Plaine, you are sure to have a new family tradition! Make it extra fun, Emma Krumbee’s is best known for their scarecrow display and you don’t want to miss it, so plan a time between September 6th and October 26, 2014. Daily admission for the display is $5.00/person (plus tax), children 2 and under are free of charge.

Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area
19825 Park Boulevard
Jordan, MN 55352
Emma Krumbee’s General Store
311 Enterprise Drive E.
Belle Plaine, MN 56011

Day Trip In Minneapolis

St Anthony Falls

Easily located Northeast of downtown Minneapolis in the historic St Anthony area. Your colorful fall walk would start at Boom Island moving towards Nicollet Island, the Stone Arch Bridge and a beautiful overlook of the river from the Guthrie Theatre.

Boom Island
724 Sibley St NE
Minneapolis, MN 56413

Taylors Falls

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As a child my family would take the second weekend of October and hike around Taylors Falls. I have always enjoyed the deep red and bright yellowed leaves that surrounded me growing up. I love carrying on the tradition with my five kids to this day. You can make a whole day out of climbing rocks, following paths and boating down the St. Croix. We also would stop by a cheese shop called Eichtens, in Center City for a bag of delicious cheeses on the way home.

Taylors Falls Interstate State Park
307 Milltown Road
Taylors Falls, MN 55084
Eichtens Bistro & Market
16809  310th Street
Center City, MN 55012

Afton State Park

Ryan has been requesting a visit to Afton State Park from me for over a year now. The only issue I have is getting the time to fit the backpacking trip into our already busy schedule. Now that school has begun so have the sport activities. I am going to try my best to convince a grandparent to take the kids for a weekend, so Ryan and I can enjoy a couple of days at Afton State Park. It seems to be that overall perfect hideaway to escape to this fall.

Afton State Park
6959 Peller Ave S
Hastings, MN 55033

Hyland Park Reserve

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In case you are looking to get outdoors while visiting the grand Mall of America let me suggest a trip over to Hyland Park Reserve. Located in Bloomington and boosting in playground fun you are sure to spend hours in the fresh air. The nice part about visiting Hyland Park Reserve is the ease of the turf surfaced trails. This way no matter what your hiking ability may be you can take in the scenic views. This is also a great location to host a large gathering.

Hyland Park Reserve
10145 Bush Lake Road
Bloomington, MN 55438

Minnesota Riverbottoms

Speaking of the Bloomington area, 10 minutes South of Hyland Park Reserve is a special area known as the Minnesota Riverbottoms. If you Google them you will find a ton of mountain bike reviews of this location. It’s a more rugged path for adventure types, that’s for sure. I do believe if you are looking for a spot that is out of the box within the Twin Cities this is one to check out.

Many access points to enter, however the most popular one is from Bloomington Ferry Road.

Crosby Farm

Crosby Farm has been been around since the mid 1800s and is now owned by the city of Saint Paul. Once a home for farm animals it is currently a 736 acre natural park in the city. There is 6.7 miles of paved trails, which most of them run along a river shoreline through wooded bottomlands. We love farm life and I am planning on making this a Saturday fun day location to visit in October.

Crosby Farm
2595 Crosby Farm Road
Saint Paul, MN 55116

Father Hennepin

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Another wonderful State Park to explore is Father Hennepin State Park. One of our favorite places to camp and hike with the kids. The large trees explode high into the sky making you feel like you have entered into a new world. I am sure Father Hennepin would be amazing to hike when the colors are changing on the leaves.

Father Hennepin State Park
41296 Father Hennepin Park Road
Isle, MN 56342

Battle Creek Regional Park

Battle Creek Regional Park has 750 acres of land ready for you to benefit from, including a playground for the kids! Take a simple nature walk along the paths and don’t forget to bring your binoculars because this park is full of wildlife.

Battle Creek Regional Park
Point Douglas Rd
St Paul, MN 55106

Crow Hassan Park Reserve

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Do you have a horse that you would love to take on a fall trail? The Crow Hassan Park Reserve has a horse friendly trail just for you and your family. There is also group horse campsites, too. Even if you don’t have a beautiful stallion to ride, there are many miles to wonder along at the Crow Hassan Park Reserve. Nature lovers of all levels come to relax in the peaceful surroundings along the Crow River.

Crow Hassan Park Reserve
12595 Park Drive
Hanover, MN 55374