Take a hike!

The land of 10,000 lakes has more to offer than just frozen windshields and snow to shovel.

Minnesota boasts an impressive collection of multi-use trails and recreational opportunities. The most popular activity locals and visitors embark on is hiking the tens of thousands of miles of trails that snake through the state.

Minnesota has a diverse geography of prairie lands, hardwood forests and hilly landscapes to traverse. Choose from leisurely day hikes in Maplewood State Park to more rugged, back-packing paths found on the Superior Hiking Trail to acquire your dose of nature.

Hiking through Minnesota’s forests and state parks during the Autumn months ‘leaves’ nothing to be desired. The mix of deciduous and coniferous trees makes experiencing the colorful display of changing leaves unique from anywhere else in the Midwest. The changing of the leaves is a major attraction to travelers and natives alike and is celebrated across the state. The peak season for Fall foliage features is usually mid-to-late September and even earlier the farther north you are. Fallen leaves crunching underfoot and cool and light breezes swirling through the forests invite you to hike that extra mile.

During the colder months, much of the state is blanketed in white, so alternative hiking strategies are practiced to enjoy the transformed scenery. More and more parks are designating winter hiking trails by packing or plowing routes for either booted hikers or snowshoers. The perk of venturing out into the cold is the opportunity to see one of a kind views of frozen waterfalls, snow-capped pines, and shimmering hillsides.

The landscape gets another makeover when the snow starts to melt in the Spring, which means another occasion for you to head to the nearest trail. Streets are thawing, trees and flowers are in bloom and wildlife are emerging from hibernation. Because springtime in Minnesota is unpredictable, dress appropriately, ideally in layers. Bring more than enough supplies and tread smart. Encountering mud is almost guaranteed so equipping boots is a must. Also, in this scenario, go against your instinct to avoid the soft earth and walk straight through the path. This prevents widening of the trails, protecting nature and ensuring a better experience in the warmer months to come.

Hiking season is in full swing during the Summer months. Longer, warmer days give way to cooler, shorter nights. All of Minnesota is in bloom, vegetation and wildlife alike, which means exciting encounters await. It’s also festival season, so check your surrounding areas event schedules to plan your date with nature. Equip yourself with shade-bearing hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, snacks, water, and a camera if you desire. Soak up the sun’s rays, stretch out your legs and immerse yourself in the environment.

Minnesota’s various terrains and intercepting biomes make this entire state one of the hidden wonders of North America. With the state being speckled with its collection of state parks, forests, and trails, one is probably closer than you think. Take a hike!