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Minnesota Backpacking Trails

Minneapolis, MN: Light Up Your Life (Superior Hiking Trail)

Sample the 310-mile Superior Hiking Trail on this overnight past Oberg Mountain and Lake Agnes. Fall bonus: Northern Lights. BY KATHLEEN FERRARO

Minneapolis, MN: Without a Paddle (Boundary Waters Canoe Area)

Go where paddlers can't on this overnight loop through Boundary Waters. BY JASON DRURY

Minneapolis, MN: St. Croix

Snowshoe through the Northwoods on this winter overnight to a shelter along the St. Croix River. BY KOREY PETERSON

Minneapolis: Eagle Point Lake

This 3.5-mile circuit explores a lakeside community of marshlands, meadows, and spotted forests rich in wildlife and intimate picnic spots.

Minneapolis: North Country Trail Marengo Section

Spot bald eagles from the overlooks along this rarely crowded 5.2-mile stretch of the North Country Trail in northern Wisconsin’s Marengo Semi-Primitive Area. The route also makes a great snowshoe hike.

Superior Hiking Trail: CR 6 to Silver Bay

Airy ledges offer splendid views of Lake Superior and the northern backwoods on this 18.6-mile stretch from County Road 6 to Silver Bay.

Minneapolis: Willow Falls Trail

This easy 3-mile loop in Willow River State Park is spiked with cool sights and sounds: rolling bluffs, loud waterfalls, and beautiful lakeshore views.

Boundary Waters: Eagle Mountain

Tag the highest peak in Minnesota on this 6.6-mile hike, which courses under a coniferous forest and past a glacial lake with nice backcountry campsites.

Boundary Waters: Mudro Lake to Horse Lake

Paddle past wooded islands while perfecting your loon call on this 13.6-mile weekend trip across four lakes to an isolated campsite.

Minneapolis: Ice Age Circle

Go 4.8 miles past the scuff marks and rocky scraps of an ancient glacier that left its long-lasting signature in western Wisconsin.

Boundary Waters: Trails End to Hunter Island

Sheltered camps with bugling moose. Coves with ancient rock art. A raging waterfall. You’ll find even the portages delightful as you paddle this 38-mile, 3-day route through Minnesota’s million-acre water park into Canada’s Quetico Provincial Park.

Duluth, MN: Brower Trail

Hike along the headwaters of the Mississippi River, where old-growth pines, loons, and a long lake add punch to this mellow 7.8-miler in Itasca State Park.

Minneapolis: River Trail to Logging Trail Loop

A convenient city escape along the St. Croix River, this easy 4-mile hike in Wild River State Park skirts healthy wetlands with prime waterfowl viewing.

Minneapolis: Pike Island Loop

Catch the light rail to this loop to see the confluence of two rivers and circle a lush island in the heart of the Twin Cities.

Duluth, MN: Cascade Falls to Lookout Mountain

This 4.1-mile dayhike tours countless cascades and tags a wooded hill with swell views of Lake Superior.

Superior Hiking Trail: CR 3 to Kingsbury Creek Loop

Hike past rushing creeks, numerous overlooks, and verdant hills on the Superior Hiking Trail, then bike back on the Munger Trail on this 14.4-mile loop near Duluth.

Minneapolis, MN: River and Railroad Trails

Stroll shady trails and see geologic wonders on this 2.6-mile hike along the St. Croix River.

Boundary Waters: Pow-Wow Trail

Scramble around beaver dams, trek through timber wolf territory, and ford countless creeks on this 30.1-mile loop that skirts 15 backcountry lakes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Superior Hiking Trail: Sugarloaf Road to CR 6

Take in big views of Lake Superior and Sawmill Valley on this 28.3-mile, two-day hike.

Apostle Islands, WI: Lakeshore Trail

This 10.6-mile out-and-back in Apostle Island National Lakeshore boasts sandy beaches, sandstone cliffs, and bluff-top views of the Mawikwe Bay sea caves.

Minneapolis, MN: Louisville Swamp

Trek Minnesota’s bottomlands to an old stone farmstead on this 4.5-miler.

Duluth, MN: Wolf Creek Falls

Tour old quarry country and the hardwood forests of Banning State Park on this 7.2-mile lollipop loop that passes a waterfall payoff–twice!

Minneapolis, MN: Afton State Park

From bluffs to beaches to a bluebird trail, this 3.5-mile lollipop loop samples Afton State Park and the shores of the federally-designated wild and scenic St. Croix River.

Minneapolis, MN: Cowling Arboretum

Restorations-in-progress add an educational twist to this easy, 2.6-mile hike outside of Minneapolis in Carleton College’s Cowling Arboretum.

St. Paul, MN: Swede Hollow-Bruce Vento Nature Tour

Hike or bike this 2.9-mile sampler of St. Paul’s Bruce Vento Regional Trail. Easy access paths are perfect for families and for sampling the city’s recent restoration efforts.

Minneapolis-St. Paul: Grand Portage Trail, Jay Cooke State Park

This 10-mile loop overlaps with the North Country Trail and visits a thundering falls along the St. Louis River.

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness: Rocky Point to Round Lake

Glide through back-to-back lakes on this classic, 35-mile North Country paddling trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Eau Claire, WI: Crane Creek Island

Paddle a novice-friendly route on the state’s third largest lake.

Superior Hiking Trail: Beaver Bay to Gooseberry Falls State Park

Wander through maple-birch-pine forest with pace-slowing views of the world’s largest freshwater lake.

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