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The Five Best Minnesota Hikes

Minnesota has much to offer hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, including long trails along Lake Superior, through state forests, and over open expanses of the Minnesota River Prairie. To help you explore some of the best hiking trails in the Land of 10,000 Lakes we've highlighted five based on recommendations from and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, so grab your camera and head out.

Superior Hiking Trail
You can hike up to 224 miles of the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) in northeastern Minnesota to take in some of the state's most scenic landscapes, including the Sawtooth Mountains, the Highland Moraine, inland lakes, gorges, rivers with cascading waterfalls, wildflower fields, and boreal forests. The SHT is a narrow, man-made footpath (limited strictly to hikers) that runs from Knife River to the Canadian Border through mixed woodlands alive with wildlife along a ridge line that overlooks the largest of the Great Lakes.

Gateway State Trail
On the Gateway State Trail hikers follow a paved trail along an old railroad right-of-way for 18 miles from St. Paul through Washington County to end at Pine Point Regional Park. Intended for non-motorized use only, this hiking trail offers a scenic get-away from the most urban areas of Minnesota.

Paul Bunyan State Trail
The longest continuously paved hiking trail in the United States is the Paul Bunyan State Trail, which runs for 115 miles from Crow Wing State Park to Lake Bemidji State Park. The Paul Bunyan State Trail passes through an area rich in history, as the region was continuously inhabited long before European explorers brought the railroad and logging industries, to treat hikers to scenes ranging from flat, open terrain to densely wooded hills.

Cannon Valley Trail
The Cannon Valley Trail takes hikers through 20 miles of various landscapes that offer wonderful panoramic views of vast wetlands, cliffs, and woodlands that change with the seasons. This hiking trail follows the picturesque Cannon River along the former Chicago Great Western Railroad line through the cities of Cannon Falls, Welch, and Red Wing.

Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail
The Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail takes hikers on an 18-mile journey through southeastern Minnesota during summer months, as the path is maintained for cross-country skiers during winter. You'll cross Watson Creek, the Root River, and Camp Creek as you hike through gorgeous valleys, low hills, and mixed woodlands.

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