Afton State Park in Minnesota is a beautiful state park located just east of Minneapolis and St. Paul. This 1,695 acre preserve is located along the St. Croix River. It features beautiful rolling plains and prairie land, woodlands, steep bluffs, and the gorgeous St. Croix River. One of the park’s highlights is its rich oak forests; the park is also well-known for the many varieties of wildflowers that grow on the prairie land. Established in 1969, this park is a great weekend getaway for city dwellers and a popular day spot for a picnic or family gathering.
Activities in the Park
The park has a wide variety of activities available for outdoor lovers. There are over 20 miles of hiking trails within the park. Trails cross through the varied terrain, climbing from the river through the oak forests and crossing the plains. Afton State Park also has five miles of trails for horseback riding and a paved four mile looped trail for handicapped visitors and bicyclists. This trail traverses some of the most picturesque areas of the park, offering views of the river and the plains.
Additionally, the park features two large picnic areas and four picnic shelters. Shelters are available for advanced reservations. There is a sand volleyball court, and visitors can enjoy a game of horseshoes as well. Fishing is allowed in the St. Croix River, and the park has a small beach for swimming. Children will enjoy a day swimming and picnicking along the river at this beautiful state park.
The area is also very beautiful in the winter months, and the park is a great location for winter sports. During the winter, park rangers maintain 18 miles of trails for cross country skiing, six miles of trails for winter hiking, and four miles of snowshoe trails. You can rent snowshoes at the visitor’s center.
Finally, Afton State Park is also ideal for wildlife viewing. Bird watchers will enjoy the opportunities to observe waterfowl and hawks along the river, meadowlarks on the plains, and other birds throughout the park. The area also has abundant ground squirrels, turkeys, deer, badgers, and foxes.
The park has a large, central visitor’s center with information about the area, maps of the trails, and modern bathroom facilities. Finally, at the visitor’s center, guests can borrow free GPS units to use while exploring the park. Rangers have set up a limited geocaching game for children to enjoy.
The park also has 28 rustic campsites available for year round use. Reservations are suggested, as the sites can fill up very quickly during the summer months. Currently, there are no RV sites at Afton State Park. However, the park has recently opened four cabins for overnight guests. Call to make reservations for a cabin stay.
Afton State Park is open year round and is an ideal location for a one to two day visit. To learn more about the park, contact a ranger at 651-436-5391. The park can also be reached at the address below.
Afton State Park
6959 Peller Ave.
South Hastings, Minnesota 55033