Located on the St. Croix River, just 20 miles east of Saint Paul, Afton State Park is great for those looking for camping near Minneapolis and is 1600 acres of rolling prairies, oak woodlands, and limestone river canyons amid an ancient glacial landscape. The land for the park was acquired in 1967, but it took almost 15 years of planning revisions and compromises with local residents before the park finally opened in 1982. Little development has gone into Afton State Park in an effort to maintain its natural characteristics, and former farmland atop the bluffs are continuously being restored to their original state. This makes Afton an ideal destination for campers looking to experience the outdoors in a wilder setting.
Load up your backpack with all you’ll need for your stay, as camping at Afton State Park requires a hearty, 0.75-mile hike in from the parking area. The year-round campground offers 27 rustic sites with picnic tables and fire pits, with options for pitching your tent in either open or wooded areas. There is drinking water, a vault toilet and firewood is supplied within the camp area. There is also three boat-in campsites, and two group campsites that can accommodate up to 60 people each. If you’d rather not rough it, the park also offers four camping cabins and two yurts, some of which are wheelchair accessible. There are also several picnic areas and restrooms within the park. Campsite rates range from $15–$23/night; cabins range from $55–$70/night, and yurts $50–$65/night.
When you’re ready to explore, start at the park’s Nature Store where you can pick up information about the park’s flora and fauna, or join a nature walk. Then choose from more than 20 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails, as well as a short barrier-free path. If you’re visiting in winter, many of these trails are open for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Bring your GPS and go on a geocaching treasure hunt, or bring your binoculars and go on safari for a variety of migratory birds, waterfowl, and wildlife, including deer, foxes and badgers. And little ones will love becoming Junior Park Naturalists and learning about bugs, birds, plants and other critters. If you’re looking for a real outdoor adventure, Afton State Park has what you’re looking for.
Beautiful site in the winter for a winter camp-out. The ski hill help light our way to the campsite in the winter. The trail and sites were marked well for winter campers so for our night hike-in after a 2.5 hour drive north was a bit frustrating but that didn't take away from the experience. Nice site overall. The lights from the ski hill took away from the experience of being further out from the standard camp site but the hiking was beautiful, nice views along the trail and we hiked. I would recommend for someone who has gone winter camping before.
Spent a portion of the day at the park as the campground was closed. Right near the St Croix river and the park offers a great swimming beach and hiking trails. There is a golf course and ski hill as additional opportunities. Looking forward to the campground opening.
This may be an ongoing issue but none of the fwater faucets or water pumps on the trails at Afton State Park are working. The good news is you can fill up on cold drinking water at the visitor center before trekking around the park's beautiful hiking trails!
Afton state park is a 1700 acre park just outside Woodbury that has excellent river views from the campground. Afton state park has something for everyone from its great but challenging mostly uphill walk to the campground to some great canoe/ boat in sites. They also allow people to boat in as well and pay to camp on their north beach. Afton has two great group camps that can have 50 people.
We had our wedding there and the staff were amazing. Very helpful and knowledgeable about the park.
The park has several blackberry patches spread throughout as well.
Park has a dock you can fish from as well as several miles of equestrian trails. It’s next to Afton alps ski area which has summer mountain biking trails that are easily accessed via park trails.
Beautiful views, awesome trails, however lots of mosquitos
Less than an hour drive from Minneapolis this is a good get away. As expected it has many walk trails. Highlight of this location is beach which is nice for swim and sun bath. But beach isn't motor vehicle accessible so expect 5-10 min walk. Campgrounds are nearby beach and require further walk.
Lots of hiking. Nice campsites. Beautiful park.
Afton State Park is just 30 minutes east of the Twin Cities along the St. Croix river, but feels deep in the wilderness. Camping facilities include hike-in individual sites, group camping, canoe/boat-in sites, and horse sites. The hike-in sites are about a mile from the parking lot. The trail is partially paved and then gravel up to the campground, though it is not an easy hike. It is mostly uphill and includes a couple of switchbacks, so packing light is a good idea!
There are 26 hike-in sites, each with a different feel. Some overlook the valley, some are in a meadow, and some are partially to fully shaded. Each contains a picnic table, fire ring, and designated space for a tent or two. Water is available and wood can be cut yourself for a small daily fee. There are two vault outhouses in the campground that we’re clean and well-stocked with toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Dogs on a 6-foot leash are permitted in all areas of the park.
There are many trails for all levels of hiker to explore at Afton State Park. There is also a beach for swimming in the St. Croix river, though dogs are not allowed on the beach. The trails go through sunny meadows filled with wildflowers, areas of dense shade with beautifully majestic pines, and everything in between. Watch for wildlife! In addition to squirrels and rabbits, deer and even black bear have been seen regularly in the park.
Afton State Park is a great choice for camping, hiking, fishing, and skiing!
I have stayed multiple times in the hike in camp sites and also in the yurt! The hike in sites were beautiful with a view looking over the St. Croix River. It was a shaded site perfect for our hammocks, it was quiet and very secluded. The Yurt was very cool! Very comfortable beds and plenty of space for the 6 of us to stay and sleep. The fire pit and picnic table wasn't far from the yurt which made it nice to not have to walk too far since we camped in the winter. I highly suggest the expeeience of the yurt!
Afton State Park is awesome. Only reason it is 4 stars is for the rough hike up to the camp site haha