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Minnesota is one of the most underrated states for outdoor adventurers. It’s got so much to offer and, because it’s off of most people’s radar, you can enjoy more nature with less crowds. Of all of the places I’ve lived, Minnesota has the most strong and welcoming outdoor adventure community, making it easy to connect with like-minded outdoor adventurers.

With 66 state parks, 9 recreation areas, and more than 10,000 lakes (one of which is the massive Lake Superior), there are literally tens of thousands of miles to hike all year round. Because Minnesota has the benefit of having all four seasons, the same trail can offer you a completely different experience throughout the year.

So what does Minnesota have to offer? Well, did you know that you can step across the tiny creek that marks the beginning of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park? Or that you can go whitewater rafting at Jay Cooke State Park? See bison and hear coyotes howling in Blue Mounds State Park? Or that you can view the Northern Lights from Minneopa State Park?

Enjoying springtime hiking in Minnesota at Fort Snelling State Park.

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The Minnesota State Parks Passport comes with a travel log to record your adventures!

Passport to Endless Hiking in Minnesota

Whether you’re looking for new trails to inspire you or a fun way to remember your adventures, the Minnesota State Parks Hiking and Passport Club is perfect for you! Grab your passport at a park office for under $15 and then collect your stamps as you explore each of the 75 state parks and recreation areas. Each passport comes in a pouch along with a travel log. The travel log is like a journal to take notes on your adventures!

Taking in the fall colors near Lake Superior in Minnesota at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.

Passport Club Perks

If the passport and travel log aren’t cool enough, how about some free stuff? After visiting 25 parks, you earn a free night of camping and a pin. And, honestly, who doesn’t love a free night of camping? Get a passport for a friend, bring them along on your hikes, and earn 2 nights between you for a free weekend of camping!

If you can’t get enough of hiking in Minnesota and visit all 75 state parks and recreation areas, you earn another free night of camping plus a personalized Passport Club plaque.

Seriously, you can earn free camping just by hiking!

Bright blue skies seen from Interstate State Park.

Passport Club Tips

It’s important to note that to enter the Minnesota State Parks and Recreation Areas, a permit is required. Buy one for just $35 and get entry into all of the parks for a full year (which I think is a bargain). Grab your permit online here or at a park office.

Once you get your passport, don’t forget to bring it with you when you hit the trails! Just stop in the park office to get it stamped.

Be sure to ask the park staff for their tips on the best trails while you’re getting your passport stamped. They are always incredibly helpful! They’ve offered me great tips on where to train for elevation gains, where to get the best photographs and how to spot rattlesnakes (yeah, apparently we have those in Minnesota). 

View of Lake Pepin from Frontenac State Park in Minnesota.

RELATED: My Biggest Travel Fails (How To Avoid Strangling Yourself and Getting Kidnapped)

Grab Your Passport and Get Hiking in Minnesota

So there you have it, 75 beautiful reasons to love hiking in Minnesota. Grab your Minnesota State Parks Passport and discover new trails. Where will your adventures take you first?

Summertime views of Lake Superior from Temperance River State Park in Minnesota.

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Step across the headwaters of the Mississippi River, see wild bison, and chase the Northern Lights all in Minnesota. Fall in love with hiking in Minnesota with the State Parks Passport Club.Is Minnesota the most under-rated state for outdoor adventurers? Fall in love with hiking in Minnesota and find endless trails with the Minnesota State Parks Passport!


    • This Big Wild World Reply

      That’s awesome! Do you have any favorite spots?

  1. I love going on hikes any chance I get. It’s extremely relaxing to me.

  2. I absolutely LOVE this post. We also live in Minnesota and are huge fans of outdoor adventures. I didn’t even know about the Passport Club! Can’t wait to join (thanks for sharing)!

    • This Big Wild World Reply

      Hello, fellow Minnesotan! Always great to connect with others from the area. I can’t believe I didn’t know about the passport club until recently either! So excited to explore some new trails. Have fun with it!:)

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