Minnesota has dozens of fantastic state parks, but most people gravitate towards a select few. Gooseberry Falls and Itasca get a lot of love, but what about the 64 others? While they do get a healthy share of visitors – Minnesotans are outdoorsy people, after all – there are still lesser-known spots that many people are not aware of. Here are our 11 favorite lesser-known state parks to visit in Minnesota:

We know we left plenty of incredible Minnesota state parks off the list. Which ones would you have added? Let us know in the comments below!


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state parks to visit in Minnesota

What is the newest state park in Minnesota?

Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park opened in 2017, making it Minnesota's newest state park. Covering more than 3,000 acres, this state park combines Lake Vermilion and the historic Soudan Underground Mine for a truly unique outdoor attraction. Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park offers a great selection of recreational activities for all ages, including hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, and more. Mine tours are also offered. Overall, Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park is one of the best parks in Minnesota, and it certainly belongs on your bucket list. For more information about Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park, click here.

What little-known state park in Minnesota is also one of the state's top rated?

Blue Mounds State Park, which is located in Luverne, is one of the best state parks in Minnesota. Even though it's considered one of the state's lesser-known state parks, it's still highly rated. Blue Mounds State Park's most well-known feature is group of Sioux quartzite rock outcroppings, which rise approximately 100 feet from the plains and are pink in color. The reason "Blue" is part of the park's name instead of "Pink" is because when the area's first settlers arrived, they thought they saw blue in the far distance. Blue Mounds State Park offers a variety of fun things to do outside in Minnesota, including hiking, birding, camping, and wildlife viewing. Anyone who loves the outdoors will instantly love this state park. For more information about Blue Mounds State Park, click here.

Where will you find one of the best and easiest hiking trails in Minnesota?

Minnesota is home to many amazing hiking trails, including Silver Creek Trail. Silver Creek Trail, which is located inside Jay Cooke State Park, is a 3.4-mile loop trail that's located near the town of Carlton. Because of its easy rating, it's the perfect trail for hikers of all skill levels. In addition to Silver Creek Trail being accessible year-round, it's also a popular trail for hiking, walking, running, camping, and biking. This scenic trail also features a swinging bridge that people enjoy strolling across. To view full map, click here.






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