With a rugged, rolling landscape cut by deep ravines and dotted by beautiful oaks and prairie flowers, Afton State Park is a dream destination for any outdoor enthusiast! Bring the whole family to this expansive park for an unfurgettable experience in southeast Minnesota's great outdoors, and don't leave your four-legged members behind—leashed canine adventurers are welcome to tag along!
Located less than an hour east of the Twin Cities, Afton State Park sits on the bluffs overlooking the Saint Croix River. Get to know the area's furrific landscape and wildlife by exploring the miles of trails that meander throughout the park. Some are hiking only, while others are shared with bikers and horseback riders, so make sure your pooch has good leash manners!
One of the easier paths that you and Fido can follow is the 1.2-mile North River Trail, a former railroad grade that runs along the Saint Croix River. This trail will lead you and your furry hiking buddy past a floodplain forest, the lower picnic area, and two railroad bridges before winding to the top of the bluff, where you can enjoy puptacular views of the river valley. For a more challenging hike, hit the 3.5-mile Deer Valley Loop, which will take you and your pooch up hills and down ravines. In addition to the woofderful scenery, this loop offers opportunities to encounter wildlife such as deer, foxes, and squirrels!
If you'd like to extend your adventure, the park contains a backpack-only campground where you can spend a few nights sleeping under the stars with Fido. Couch potato pups beware, though, as the campsites are a strenuous ¾-mile hike from the parking lots. Whether you and your furry sidekick spend an hour or a weekend at Afton State Park, always keep them on a 6-foot leash and clean up after them. Also, keep in mind that the swimming beach and buildings are off-limits to doggos. Bring any essentials, including water and clean-up bags.
For a pawsome time in nature with your pup, plan a visit to Afton State Park!