Afton State Park

Afton, Minnesota 55001

Afton State Park

Afton State Park Professional Review and Guide

"Less than half an hour from Saint Paul, Afton State Park is proof positive that you don’t have to travel far to get away. Across 20 miles of trails, you’ll find everything from rugged climbs up steep ravines and along river bluffs to gentle strolls through prairie and oak savanna.

When you’ve worn yourself out, head down to the long, slender beach to look out on the beautiful Saint Croix River and relax. Combining a variety of landscapes, spectacular views, and wildlife, Afton is a hiker’s heaven."

More Afton State Park Professional Reviews and Guides

"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."

"The main trail leaving from the parking lot at Afton State Park is like a promenade leading to the main activity areas of the park. Its wide, paved path leads hikers down an incline along a gradually winding trail past the picnic area and group sites atop a wooded ridge above the river.

The ridgetop trail ends at a series of steps that drop the trail quickly to the lowlands along the river. There it continues through lowland forests of spindly maples, ironwoods, ashes, and a dense understory. The trail crosses an unnamed creek (great for wading on those hot, humid days of summer) and opens onto the main path, an old railroad grade that serves as the main trail along the river, before bringing trekkers onto the lower picnic and beach area along the St. Croix River."

"Spectacular scenery in the St. Croix Valley; legbustin' climbs (this could also be labeled a hazard); hair-raising descents. Tread: All trails are on dirt singletrack, with some loose gravel thrown in to keep you guessing. Location: 21 miles southeast of downtown St. Paul.

Park at the clubhouse/chalet and go inside to pay the $6 fee and get a trail map. The ride 0.0 Begin riding on north side of clubhouse. Afton uses red and blue poles in the ground to mark the trails. Keep these on your right. Steep climbs, technical sections of singletrack, and rocky climbs all greet you almost immediately after the start. Trail passes in and out of heavily wooded areas and across grassy ski runs. Use
caution on some narrow turns and watch speed on the downhills. Beauteous views of the St. Croix River Valley from the top."

"If you’re looking for a workout, head to Afton. This large ski area near the Wisconsin border has 7 miles of loops of varying difficulty in a scenic, uncrowded setting. Most of the trails will test both your climbing and descending skills since the trailhead and clubhouse are at the top of the hill.

Tread condition is excellent and the routes are challenging. You are treated to choice views of the St. Croix River valley from many locations on the hill, and the fall riding here is tough to beat. Afton also puts on races during the season if you’ve got the competitive fires burning. Tread: All trails are on dirt single-track, with some loose gravel thrown in to keep you guessing."

Afton State Park Reviews

4
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
icon8 Total
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
7/16/2018
The hike from the river trail up to the prairie and back down to the river trail is a fun, challenging trek. The observation point is a treat. There are many great routes throughout this park, definitely worth exploring. Wildflowers are wonderful along the trails.
0
Comments
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
5/20/2018
1
Comments
Remove this
5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
4/30/2018
Pretty quiet park with a lot of trails. A lot of prairie flatness with some steeper hills thrown in for fun!
0
Comments
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
10/18/2008
This was the last weekend that the mountain bike trail was open. Through the winter and until the summer the area is a ski resort. You resgister at the Afton Alps ski resort office and have to pay $9. This was a surprise for me, comming from Israel where all the bike trails are free and open all year. The trail is a a single track, well maintained, medium technical and physical level of difficulty with some short steep climbs and descents. Overall it was fun and recommended to visitors in the Twin City area. Oded
0
Comments
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
10/18/2008
This is a easy moderate walk through the prairie above the river initially. Evetually you walk east towards the river down through birch oak and maple forests. During color change this is an excellent walk. Several hundred yards of easy strolling a very well maintained walkway through the maples.
0
Comments
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
8/29/2005
Afton is a great place to go for trails (running, hiking, skiing.) It's close enough to the eastern Twin Cities suburbs that its not far at all, but secluded enough. Good backcountry hiking/camping.
0
Comments
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
6/2/2003
I just wanted everyone to know if your into mountain biking give Afton State park and Afton Alps ski area a try. I offers a wide range of hills and great views. It is a ski area after all. The state park is alittle easier if your just looking to have fun. The state park also has many marked trails for the off roaders. I enjoyed my experience in Afton and hope you will too.
0
Comments
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
10/27/2000
This trail is generally very fast. There is nothing very technical about the course, although sometimes the sheer speed makes corners and sandy areas hazardous. Overall, there is plenty of variety in the 7 miles of single track at Afton, with plenty of climbing and decending. This ride is truly a thrill for nearly every level of rider. If you live near or visit the twin cities, you should give Afton a try.
0
Comments

Trail Information

Afton
Nearby City
5.3
Distance
Loop/Lollipop
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
2 hours
Duration
8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, year-round
Season
Afton State Park; (651) 436-5391; dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/afton/index.html
Local Contacts

Activity Feed

Sep 2018