10 Fall Hikes

Hike_MN_logo-05-01-01.pngLooking for a great place to hike in Minnesota this fall? While there are hundreds of wonderful options, these 10 trails stand out for their natural beauty, wide range of scenery and fantastic fall color. From the northeast corner to the southern border, these trails are the perfect places to enjoy nature and get some exercise in the great outdoors. Plan your trip to visit one or all 10 this fall, and find places to stay and other things to do to round out your getaway.

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Northeast
RATES: $7 DAILY, $35 ANNUAL, $26 SECOND VEHICLE, $12 HANDICAPPED

The St. Louis River runs through Jay Cooke’s hardwood forests, which features 50 miles of hiking trails. No matter the season, visitors will find plenty of scenic views. The 3.5-mile loop known as Silver Creek Trail will take hikers on a grassy route to the iconic swinging bridge, suspended in the air and offering views of the St. Louis River and Silver Creek. Don’t miss the park’s historic sites including the pioneers cemetery and the gorge at Thomson Dam.
Trail Map | Panoramic Tour | Snapshot Tour | Bird Checklist

Featured Footwear: Keen Women's Targhee III Mid
Keen's iconic hiking shoe for women brings an updated look to all-terrain adventures.

 

Northeast
RATES: FREE ADMISSION

The Superior National Forest boasts over 400 miles of hiking trails with varying topographies. Located in the North Shore area of the forest, the Tofte Ranger District offers seven trails, including the difficult, but short, Britton Peak Trail and the 3.4-mile Oberg & LeVeaux Mountain Trail, where fall color is always extraordinary. Visitors will encounter pine trees, birch forests and a great lake in the East Zone of the forest. Hikers can pick from day hikes to backpacking escapes in Tofte’s wilderness.
Trail Map | Bird Checklist

Featured Footwear: Teva Women's Montara III Boot Event
Part of the Ahnu by Teva collection, this lightweight, hiking boot carries you comfortably over terrains of the muddy, rocky and rugged variety.

 

Northwest
RATES: $7 DAILY, $35 ANNUAL, $26 SECOND VEHICLE, $12 HANDICAPPED

Located along the shoreline of Lake of the Woods (one of the world’s largest lakes), Zippel Bay State Park features a white sand beach and 6 miles of hiking trails amongst jackpine, birch and aspen. Take the South Loop Trail to view the abundance of wildlife found here, making Zippel Bay a birder’s paradise. It’s common to see the broad-winged hawk, sandhill cranes, a variety of warblers and many other species. With 57 drive-in campsites, opportune fishing on the pier, canoe rentals and unforgettable sunsets, you may want to plan out your visit to make the most of it!
Trail Map | Panoramic Tour | Snapshot Tour | Bird Checklist

Featured Footwear: Teva Women's Montara III Event
This lightweight, low-top hiking shoe is waterproof and features a super-gripping outsole keeping your foot extra stable on challenging trails

 

Northwest
RATES: $7 DAILY, $35 ANNUAL, $26 SECOND VEHICLE, $12 HANDICAPPED

Climb up the largest observation tower in the Minnesota State Park system at Lake Bronson State Park! Built in the 1930s, the tower offers views of the prairie and aspen-parkland habitat. The park offers many other historic sites, interpretive exhibits, canoes and kayaks for rent and ample fishing. Hike or bike the flat Around the Lake Trail that circles Lake Bronson or take the secluded Meander Trail for some quiet—and perhaps the chance to see an occasional American elk, which can only be found in this part of the state.
Trail Map | Panoramic Tour | Snapshot Tour | Bird Checklist

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With waterproof leather uppers and breathable textile linings, you'll be comfortable and dry with every step of your journey.

 

Central
RATES: $7 DAILY, $35 ANNUAL, $26 SECOND VEHICLE, $12 HANDICAPPED

Located on the shore of Mille Lacs Lake, Father Hennepin State Park features a large sandy beach, fishing piers and picnic sites with scenic views. Hikers will enjoy the diversity of surroundings throughout the park as they explore hardwood forests, bogs, swamps and rocky shoreline. It’s safe to expect beautiful fall color in this park. Take Pope’s Point Trail for a flat gravel hike and a tranquil overlook of the water. Home to several albino deer, eagles and beaver, this park is a can’t-miss for wildlife lovers.
Trail Map | Panoramic Tour | Snapshot Tour | Bird Checklist

Featured Footwear: Keen Men's Targhee II
This hiking shoe is ready for off-road adventure. Durable waterproof protection stands up to wet weather, and the luggy outsole adds traction.

 

Central
RATES: $5 Daily, $20 Annual

Once an industry-quarried area for its abundance of granite, Quarry Park & Nature Park has gradually returned to its natural roots. Being Sterns County’s largest park, this St. Cloud gem has much to offer. Woodland, prairie, wetlands and unquarried bedrock areas make up its 684 acres. Outdoorsy visitors will also enjoy the park’s amenities beyond the fabulous hiking and scenic overlooks, including mountain bike trails over billion-year-old bedrock, trout fishing and rock climbing.
Trail Map | Bird Checklist

Featured Footwear: New Balance Men's 1400 Boot
A boot that feels like a walking shoe but is built for rugged terrain, it features a waterproof membrane, leather upper and gusseted tongue to help keep you dry.

 

Minneapolis-St. Paul Area
RATES: FREE ADMISSION

Hikers may forget they’re in the city at Hidden Falls Regional Park, located alongside the bluffs of the Mississippi River in St. Paul. The park offers 6.7 miles of trails under a shady canopy of trees, perfect for exploring. Trek a bit to a clearing that reveals a charming spring-fed waterfall, responsible for the park’s name, or up the main trail to discover the vast gravel beach. Bring your family and the dog and enjoy Hidden Falls’ grills, picnic tables and designated accessible trails.
Trail Map

Featured Footwear: Merrell Men's Zion
Built on a trail running platform for a sneaker fit, this hiker has a ballistic mesh & durable leather upper and provides an aggressive grip for every terrain.

 

Minneapolis-St. Paul Area
RATES: FREE ADMISSION, MINIMAL FEE FOR SOME PROGRAMS AND EVENTS

“Discover Art Unframed” at Caponi Art Park, which inhabits 60 acres of wooded area in Eagan. Visitors can walk the miles of paths throughout this hidden gem, discovering the sculpture garden, Woods Amphitheater and surrounding nature. The community-oriented environment invokes a sense of wonder while offering cultural and educational experiences. Caponi Art Park’s promotion of creative placemaking is meant to encourage environmental stewardship and public art.
Trail Map | Guidebook | Programs and Events

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The ideal blend of outdoor style and modern technology, this shoe features a leather upper with waterproof membrane and is designed to help reduce rear-foot movement.

 

Southern
RATES: ENTRANCE FEE TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED

For generations, Native Americans have visited the Pipestone National Monument quarries for catlinite, a unique type of red pipestone, to form ceremonial pipes for prayer. The park works closely with affiliated tribal nations to create cultural and historical exhibits for their museum, located in the visitor center. Take a nature walk via the Circle Trail, starting at the visitor center, which leads visitors through tallgrass prairie to quarries and Winnewissa Falls.
Trail Map | Multimedia

Featured Footwear: Women's MQM Flex by Merrell
Inspired by athletes and made for you, this hybrid packs all the technology needed for moving quickly on the trails into one fast, protective shoe.

 

Southern
RATES: RATES: $7 DAILY, $35 ANNUAL, $26 SECOND VEHICLE, $12 HANDICAPPED

Nerstrand is comprised of the largest remnant of Big Woods vegetation in Minnesota. The park is home to sugar maple, basswood, oak and aspen trees, whose leaves turn magnificent colors in the fall. Hike to the Hidden Falls, a 20-foot limestone waterfall concealed amongst the trees that opens up to a relaxing clearing in the woods. Spend the day discovering the park’s many wonders and listen for barred owls, which can be heard hooting every night.
Trail Map | Panoramic Tour | Snapshot Tour | Bird checklist

Featured Footwear: Women's 1300 Trail Walking by New Balance
The shoe features a leather upper and waterproof membrane and has an ideal blend of outdoor style and modern technology.