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What to expect

Minnesota has 901 trails including medium and easy trails. The trail with the highest elevation climb is the Broadway and the one with the least climb is the Eagle Mountain and Whale Lake Trail. The longest trail is North Country Trail - Minnesota at 778 km. To complete this hike you should budget at least 39 days. For a shorter adventure, you can try the Autumn Hills Park Loop a t 494 m. This could be done in as little as 1 days. Trails with the best offering of hostels include Black Dog SNA, Grass Lake East Shore Walk, Minnesota River Bottoms Singletrack Trail, Mississippi River Loop, and Paul Bunyon Heartland Trail.

Guide to hiking in Minnesota

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FAQs about hiking in Minnesota

What is the climate like for hiking in Minnesota?

Minnesota's humid continental climate offers diverse hiking experiences throughout the year. Summers, from June to August, are warm and can be humid, making lakeside trails especially appealing. However, winters can be very cold with heavy snow, turning trails into cross-country ski paths.
Spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) bring milder temperatures and less humidity, creating comfortable conditions for hiking. Additionally, spring unveils the state's blooming flora, while fall displays vibrant foliage.
In summary, spring and fall are the best times to hike in Minnesota, providing pleasant weather and stunning landscapes. Hikers should always check local forecasts and trail updates before setting out, possibly via the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website (

Do I need a permit to hike in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, general hiking doesn't usually require permits. However, specific activities like camping in state parks might. To ascertain the need for any permits, it's recommended to check with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (, the managing body for most public lands.

Is wild camping allowed in Minnesota?

Wild camping is allowed in Minnesota's national forests and certain state forests, subject to specific rules. Campers should follow Leave No Trace principles and regulations detailed by the U.S. Forest Service ( and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (

Are there mountain rescue services in Minnesota?

In an emergency while hiking in Minnesota, call 911 for immediate assistance. Search and rescue operations are typically coordinated by local law enforcement or fire departments. For additional safety information and resources, consider visiting the Minnesota Search and Rescue Association website

Are there dangerous plants in Minnesota?

Minnesota's trails encompass diverse ecosystems with flora like pine, birch, and maple trees, alongside numerous wildflowers. Be aware of poison ivy, especially in forested areas. For more information on the state's plant life, refer to the Minnesota Wildflowers website (

What wildlife should I be aware of when hiking in Minnesota?

Minnesota's wildlife includes deer, squirrels, and numerous bird species. Watch for mosquitoes and ticks during warmer months; using repellents is advised. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website ( offers an extensive guide to the state's wildlife and associated safety precautions.