Minnesota is an incredible state for any outdoor adventure lover looking to spend some time in the Midwest. From Lake Superior to Red Lake, it’s no wonder why this state is sometimes nicknamed the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”.

Whether you’re planning a trip to Minnesota to explore its natural wonders or you’re just looking to get active while spending time in some of its metropolitan cities, hiking is a fantastic way to do it all.

With so much to see, it can feel overwhelming trying to find a hike that meets your location, distance, and challenge preferences. But, lucky for you, below we’ve outlined 11 of our favorite trails for hiking in Minnesota to get you started on your next adventure.

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Best Waterside Hikes

1. Silver Creek Trail

Silver Creek Trail, found near Carlton, Minnesota, is known for its unforgettable sights of mountain ranges and the East Fork valley. It’s a 3.4-mile relatively easy loop and is a popular spot for not only hiking in Minnesota but also for camping.

The path is well-marked and offers beautiful views of Silver Creek. Down by the river, the path can be a bit wet, so make sure to dress accordingly!

Another benefit of this river-side route is that it’s known for not being very buggy (if you’re an avid waterside hiker, you know this can be rare). The trail is also kid and dog friendly, so the whole family can partake in the peaceful wonders of this Minnesota hike!

2. Jensen Lake Trail

If you’re looking for a Minnesota hiking trail that offers not only stunning sights but also plenty of other activities, make sure to check out Jensen Lake Trail. Found in Dakota County, the Jensen Lake Trailhead holds over 14 miles of summer hiking routes and about 12 miles of winter ski trails.

Jensen Lake Trail (found within Jensen Lake Trailhead) is a 2.1-mile loop that’s generally considered an easy path and takes less than an hour to complete. Although it’s a quick hike, the endless views of the lake along boardwalks and dirt paths make this one of our favorite places to hike in Minnesota.

This Minnesota hike is also pretty popular, so you’ll likely see other outdoor lovers along the way. Plus, if you’re looking to up the difficulty, there are plenty of other attached paths to help meet your needs.

3. Eagle Mountain Trail

Eagle Mountain Trail is found in Superior National Forest and puts you at the top of Eagle Mountain. If you’re not afraid of heights and are looking for adventure, this spot is a perfect choice for hiking in Minnesota.

The eagle mountain trail is 3.5 miles, out and back, making it seven miles total. It’s a considerable climb that has uneven footing along rocky paths. As previously mentioned, this hike takes you to the top of Eagle Mountain, which sits at 2301 feet and is the highest point in Minnesota.

If you’re up for the challenge of this Minnesota hike, make sure you’re prepared. You should have solid hiking shoes, emergency supplies, lots of water, and plenty of time to make the trip.

For the adrenaline junkies and panoramic view enthusiasts looking for the best places for hiking in Minnesota, Eagle Mountain Trail may just be calling your name.

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Best Waterfall Hiking Trails

4. Fifth Falls Trail Loop

Found near Minnesota’s Lake County, this 3.1-mile loop within Gooseberry Falls State Park is not to be missed. Fifth Falls Trail Loop takes you along a rocky path and up to Fifth Falls, which are the smallest waterfalls in this state park.

Another unique factor of this Michigan hiking trail is that once you reach Fifth Falls, you’ll find a bridge that crosses above the rushing water, making it a loop.

This hike is known to be easy and is dog and family-friendly. Not only is this spot great for hiking in Minnesota, but you’ll also notice it has plenty of bird watching, road biking, and other sightseeing opportunities along the way.

It’s noted that the best time to hike this route is between March through October, so make sure you check your calendar and plan your time hiking in Minnesota accordingly!

5. Minnehaha Falls Trail

An unexpected natural wonder found in an urban setting, Minnehaha Falls, found in Minnehaha Park, is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. You’ll find this Minnesota hiking trail in St. Paul, and you’ll want to make sure you pack your bathing suit before beginning this two-mile trek.

You’ll begin your journey at the waterfall before quickly making your way down toward the Mississippi River and along Minnehaha Creek. This trail has a gradual elevation change, and making your way back up from the river will get your heart rate up! But don’t worry, this is still a leisurely hike suitable for all ages.

Once you make it back to the park, you’ll be rewarded with the endless recreation activities this park has to offer. With Great Blue Herons, turtles, waterfalls, wildflowers, and a variety of trees to explore along the way, this Minnesota hiking trail should definitely be at the top of your list.

6. Devil’s Kettle

Devil’s Kettle is another great choice for waterfall hikes in Minnesota. A little under two miles, this out-and-back route can be found in Judge C.R. Magney State Park and takes you along a route of rivers, waterfalls, stairs, and other wilderness beauties.

While traveling this Minnesota hiking trail, you’ll pass along the Burlle River and Upper Falls before reaching the final destination, Devil’s Kettle Waterfall.

This waterfall is often talked about for its seemingly disappearing downstream that splits off from the Brule River. You’ll notice that one side flows about 50 feet down and continues downstream, the other side looks like it fades into a hole with no escape.

Part of the excitement of this hiking trail in Minnesota is the ability to explore this phenomenon and come up with your own theories of where the water may be going. But no matter what you and your travel partners think, it’s safe to say that you’ll all agree the beauty of these falls is unlike no other.

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Best Lake Superior Hiking Trails

7. Bean and Bear Loop

Lake Superior is one of the most well-known attractions in the Midwest. The Bean and Bear Loop (sometimes known as the Twin Lakes Trail) is an ideal choice for anyone looking for places to hike in Minnesota and for enjoying the beauty of Lake Superior.

The loop spans 6.8 miles from Round Mountain, Mount Trudee, and Raven Rock. As its name suggests, this Minnesota hiking trail also offers sights of Bean and Bear Lakes throughout your journey.

This loop is one of the more challenging hikes in Minnesota, but the views make it worthwhile. You’ll have a steep descent down the Drainpipe on giant rock steps and even be able to cross over High Falls (the highest falls in Minnesota) by way of a bridge.

Although challenging, this is a popular route for hiking and snowshoeing in the winter, so you’re bound to encounter other outdoor enthusiasts along the way (and maybe even make a few friends!).

8. Bass Lake Trail

Bass Lake Trail is one of our favorite spots for hiking in Minnesota because it has several loop options so you can tailor your adventure to meet your needs. The longest individual loop is about six miles, but if you’re looking for a real challenge, you can combine a few of the paths to make it even longer.

Some notable features of this Minnesota hiking trail are its beautiful overlooks, small waterfalls, and diverse terrain. Make sure you’re wearing strong and sturdy shoes because some parts of the pathways are rugged and steep.

Although it can be rocky, the overall feeling of Bass Lake Trail is relaxing. The bugs aren’t too bad throughout the year, and the paths are well-marked, so you always know which way to go. Overall, this is a pretty easy hike with a few moderately challenging portions.

9. Pincushion Mountain Overlook Trail

Pincushion Mountain Overlook Trail is found within Superior National Forest and provides picturesque views down the mountain and over the town of Grand Marias. Not only is this area perfect for hiking in Minnesota, but it also has picnic tables along the way, making it a great stop for lunch on your way up.

It’s an out-and-back style hike that is just under four miles in total. The path isn’t always clearly marked, but don’t worry, if you veer off the beaten path, all you’ll be faced with is more adventure and stunning sights within the national forest.

The trailhead is well-kept to help your journey go safely and smoothly, although it should be noted that the start can be rocky. Make sure to bring plenty of water, bug spray, and a good camera because the view from the overlook is something you’ll want to remember forever.

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Best Hikes Near Minneapolis

10. Lake Harriett/Lyndale Rose Garden

For a bit of a different take on the best trails for hiking in Minnesota, make sure you don’t skip past a walk along Lake Harriet and the Lyndale Rose Garden. Although this isn’t a rigorous hike, it sure is gorgeous and definitely worth your time.

The Lyndale Rose Garden in Minneapolis is the second oldest public rose garden in the U.S. and holds over 3,000 plants. Lake Harriett is found within the rose garden and is a wonderful place to take a leisurely stroll with your friends, family, or pets and take in the beauty of nature.

The garden sits on 1.5 acres of land, giving you plenty of space to explore. It’s a peaceful and scenic route where you can (and should) literally stop and smell the roses. For anyone looking to spend time outdoors who maybe isn’t into long, mountainous hikes, the Lyndale Rose Garden is just right for you.

11. Nokomis-Minnesota River Regional Trail

The Nokomis-Minnesota River Regional Trail is a paved route for hiking, biking, running, jogging, and so much more. It spans five miles from the south shore of Lake Nokomis and connects the Minneapolis Grand Rounds Scenic Byways System with the Minnesota River.

This spot for hiking in Minnesota is a great way to get to know the city and explore the area. It passes through Richfield and Bloomington and even has the option to connect to the Nine Mile Creek Regional Trail.

While traveling this paved pathway, you’ll stumble upon a variety of Minnesota’s attractions, including national retail destinations, a national wildlife refuge, and Fort Snelling State Park. If you’re spending some time in Minnesota and looking to become familiar with the area, definitely make sure to check this out.

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Get Your Hiking Boots Ready!

Now that you know about all of our favorite trails for hiking in Minnesota, it’s time to strap on your hiking boots (and water shoes) and get started. From glorious waterfalls and rushing river rapids to mountainous overlooks and endless garden flowers, hiking in Minnesota truly has something for everyone.

Looking to go camping while enjoying your time in the Midwest? Make sure to check out our article on the complete guide to camping in Minnesota for all you need to know!

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