My Personal Minnesota State Park Challenge

The entire collection of Minnesota State Park patches - 65 of the 67 parks had patches available for purchase. Also included are the Minnesota State Parks Hiking Club milage patches and a special gift cross-stitched by a dear friend that reads Take A Hike. No, Really...Go Away.
My collection of Minnesota State Park patches. 65 of the 67 state parks offer a patch.

It’s a personal challenge which I’m proud to have accomplished. In 2017 I set a goal to hike in all the hikable Minnesota State Parks. I finished visiting the parks in June 2021.

There are 67 of the 76 total Minnesota State Park and Recreation Areas which are able to be hiked. Doing this has given me new perspectives on the state, challenged me physically and mentally and given me inspiration to try new trails as often as I can. Minnesota is home to a rich variety of spaces which have been set aside because of their unique historic, geographic or natural habitats.

As I completed the hikes, I collected park patches and trail maps as a reminder of all the wonderful parks I’ve visited. I hope this list provides you some inspiration. Check out the links to see more about what makes each park unique and worth a visit.

XAfton State ParkXLa Salle Lake State Recreation Area
XBanning State ParkXLac qui Parle State Park
XBear Head Lake State ParkXLake Bemidji State Park
XBeaver Creek Valley State ParkXLake Bronson State Park
XBig Bog State Recreation AreaXLake Carlos State Park
XBig Stone Lake State ParkXLake Louise State Park
XBlue Mounds State ParkXLake Maria State Park
XBuffalo River State ParkXLake Shetek State Park
XCamden State ParkXLake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park
XCarley State ParkXMaplewood State Park
XCascade River State ParkXMcCarthy Beach State Park

Charles A. Lindbergh State ParkXMille Lacs Kathio State Park
XCrow Wing State ParkXMinneopa State Park
XCuyuna Country State Recreation AreaXMinnesota Valley State Recreation Area
XFather Hennepin State ParkXMonson Lake State Park
XFlandrau State ParkXMoose Lake State Park
XForestville/Mystery Cave State ParkXMyre – Big Island State Park
XFort Ridgely State ParkMystery Cave – See Forestville
XFort Snelling State ParkXNerstrand Big Woods State Park
XFranz Jevne State ParkXOld Mill State Park
XFrontenac State ParkXRed River State Recreation Area
Garden Island State Recreation AreaXRice Lake State Park
XGeorge H. Crosby Manitou State ParkXSt. Croix State Park
XGlacial Lakes State ParkXSakatah Lake State Park
XGlendalough State ParkXSavanna Portage State Park
XGooseberry Falls State ParkXScenic State Park
XGrand Portage State ParkXSchoolcraft State Park
XGreat River Bluffs State ParkXSibley State Park
XGreenleaf Lake State Recreation Area  Soudan Underground Mine – See
Lake Vermillion-Soudan Mine State Park
XHayes Lake State ParkXSplit Rock Creek State Park
XHill Annex Mine State ParkXSplit Rock Lighthouse State Park
XInterstate State ParkXTemperance River State Park
Iron Range OHV State Recreation AreaXTettegouche State Park
XItasca State ParkXUpper Sioux Agency State Park
XJay Cooke State ParkXWhitewater State Park
XJohn A. Latsch State ParkXWild River State Park
XJudge C.R. Magney State ParkXWilliam O’Brien State Park
XKilen Woods State ParkXZippel Bay State Park
An “X” before the park name indicates parks hiked. An “-” indicates the park is not hikeable. List courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Want to take on the adventure? Someone created this map, which I used to plan several road trips, allowing me to hike a series of parks in one trip.

Minnesota Parks Fun Fact: Nearly every park is within an hour or less drive from another park.

Google map of Minnesota which as been marked with a pin for each state park and route between to visit each park on a road trip without repeating visits.
Created by an unknown Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Facebook page member,
this map shows how to string the parks together into an epic road trip.

Copyright Ruth Wikoff-Jones, | No Use Permitted Without Prior Permission

9 thoughts on “My Personal Minnesota State Park Challenge

    1. Thank you for asking! I don’t have a single photo that has all the patches. I’ve put them into two display frames and have yet to take a photo of them in those cases. My intent is not to do a photo of the collection until my personal goal of hiking in all the Minnesota State Parks is complete. Hopefully that will be in 2021!

      1. Now that you’ve finished the challenge do you have a photo of your completed patch collection?

  1. Love the hiking goal – my family and I are starting on this as well. I’m curious though – where did you find the George H Crosby – Manitou patch? We hiked the park today, and I couldn’t find where I could get one.


    1. I hiked the park a few years ago and purchased it at the park office at the entrance to the park. You can also call the park (has to be directly to the park, not the DNR) to order it and they will often mail it. Patience is the key, you might have to leave a message and wait for them to call you back.

  2. Which are the two parks that don’t have patches? I am trying to collect a patch for each but am running into some radio silence and issues, curious which 2 I should stop wasting my time with.

    1. Last I checked Franz Jevne and Monson Lake did not have them. Franz Jevne is managed by Zipple Bay, so it’s best to call Zipple Bay. What I learned is if the park doesn’t have regular staffing or is a self service kiosk at the entry, there is likely a different park that manages it. I used the individual park websites to figure out who to contact. Sometimes it was quite a while before a park would respond or I’d email. On the flip side, I had a park staff that I’d emailed two years earlier and learned they were out then email me to let me know they had the patches back in stock. I’d guess that many parks have less staffing for the winter now so it will take longer to hear back.

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