Hike from the shore of the Saint Croix River up a densely wooded ravine to the bluff tops, for prairies and overlooks of the river valley. The hike: The nearby town of Afton, and for that matter Afton State Park, comes by its name from a Robert Burns poem called “Afton Waters.” In the poem he mentions “neighboring hills and clear winding rills,” which describes this area perfectly with its surrounding bluffs and flowing brooks. Here, miles of trails explore the rolling prairies, forested ravines, and the banks of the Saint Croix River.
There is an easy loop around the edge of the prairie, with wildflowers, oak savanna, and overlooks onto the Saint Croix River and surrounding ravines. Some trails descend into the deep, secluded ravines, which offer the hiker plenty of chances for some strenuous climbing and discovery along the rambling brooks. Trails along the Saint Croix River pass by basswoods and silver maples on a converted train bed that makes for a level grade. Special attractions: views of the Saint Croix, bird watching, swimming beach, and prairie.
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