With 67 state parks and many other recreation areas, waysides, and more, Minnesota is rife with great places to hike. Our state’s trails will take you alongside beautiful lakes, through serene forests, and across spacious prairies. You can see rushing waterfalls and tall cliffs – all without leaving the state! If you want a world-class experience, hike these 11 wonderful trails in Minnesota. They are some of the greatest hiking trails on Earth.
1. Eagle Mountain Trail
Sure, it's not Mount Everest. But this trail is certainly among the world's most beautiful places. It will take you to the very top of Minnesota, where you'll have an incredible view from the state's tallest point. Pass clear lakes and thick forests for a look above the trees and to the many more lakes beyond.
2. Quarry Loop Trail
In Sandstone's Banning State Park, the Quarry Loop Trail is a peaceful look at an oft overlooked part of Minnesota. It's in the east-central portion of the state, following alongside the rapids of the Kettle River. Beyond the natural beauty, the trail takes hikers on a tour of the old abandoned ruins that haunt the path. It's a trail that has everything, and it's definitely one of the best.
3. Hidden Falls Trail
In a state with many waterfalls, Hidden Falls at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park is often overlooked. But that's what makes this a world-class trail. Its remote nature offers a welcome break from the concerns of daily life, and the beauty of the falls is hard to beat. Surrounded by thick woods on all sides, it's especially beautiful in the fall when the trees change colors.
4. Upper Cliffline Trail
Blue Mounds State Park is one of the the most underrated parks in all of Minnesota. This trail is a path along the top of its most famous feature, a long line of pink quartzite cliffs in the middle of the prairie landscape. You'll have nice views of the idyllic landscape below. When it's time to descent, a rugged stone staircase leads to the bottom of the cliffs. Here, you can get an up-close view of the beautiful pink rock.
5. Magnetic Rock Trail
The Magnetic Rock Trail is a three-mile hike through the Superior National Forest. The trail offers an easy, peaceful journey through thick forest, and it leads to a strange yet fascinating attraction. The 60-foot magnetic rock standing at the end of this trail in the middle of a Minnesota forest is truly fascinating.
6. Superior Hiking Trail
This trail spans over 300 miles of northern Minnesota, passing some of the state's most beautiful sights. The trail, often miles away from the nearest town, is a remote trek through Minnesota wilderness that offers views of lakes, cliffs, forest, and more. You don't have to hike the entire trail to experience its beauty, but there is an incredible sight around every bend.
7. Cannon Valley Trail
This trail in southeastern Minnesota may not be the most well-known trail int he world. But it will take you on a beautiful, quiet journey through one of Minnesota's most lovely scenic areas. It's great for a peaceful day outdoors, and it is full of quiet beauty that is some of the best in the world.
8. Kawishiwi Falls Trail
Another underrated Minnesota waterfall, Kawishiwi Falls is a little-known spot near Ely that is ideal for anyone who wants to get away from it all. This loop trail is only about 1.5 miles long, so it's nice for those who don't want to spend an entire day hiking. Near its end, the beautiful forest that surrounds the trail opens up to a small yet spectacular waterfall. You can stand atop the falls or view it from below. Either way, it's an incredible experience that everyone should do.
9. Humpback Trail
George Crosby Manitou State Park is a hidden gem of the North Shore that is often overlooked in favor of Gooseberry Falls or Split Rock Lighthouse. But, if you're looking for something a bit more challenging, this park should be right up your alley. The Humpback Trail is one of many trails in the park. It takes hikers on a rocky, often steep journey through the wilderness. It's great for experienced hikers who want to keep an eye out for wildlife while experience 2 miles of North Shore beauty.
10. Middle & Lower Falls Trail
This hike is quite short - just a mile - but it offers one of the best views in all of Minnesota. Gooseberry Falls, surrounded by beautiful forest, flows over rocky cliffs into Lake Superior. It's a breathtaking sight that everyone should take in at least once.
11. Dr. Roberts Trail
Minnesota's first state park should certainly be named among the best in the world. Why? It's home to the headwaters of one of the most important rivers in the United States, and it's completely full of scenic beauty. If you're not up to walk across the headwaters, use this trail to take a stroll along the banks of Lake Itasca. This crystal-clear lake is a perfect introduction to the 10,000 other lakes just like it in the state of Minnesota.
Have you hiked any of these trails? Do you think any other hiking trails in Minnesota could be counted among the greatest on Earth? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.