Located on the St. Croix River, just 20 miles east of Saint Paul, Afton State Park 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 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
I was pleasantly suprised by this campground. Its a nice 1 mile hike out with a steeper incline at the end. It was a great way to test our pack weight for a longer upcoming backpacking trip at a campsite that was close to Minneapolis. The campsite has a vault toilet, firewood (you have to saw yourself - but it adds to the experience), and clean drinking water available. There are a number of sites but they sit far enough apart you are still able to have privacy and enjoy the peace and quiet.
The park has good trails, beautiful views and provides a sense of solitude without having to travel too far from the city. Would definetly recommend this park and campsite!
I love Afton. It's a mere 40 minutes or so from Minneapolis-St. Paul and it's a great beginner campground for backpackers. The campground is only a 1-mile hike in, but the last 1/4 mile or so is up a steep hill that has really taught me a lot about pack weight. There is firewood available and a water pump with some of the best tasting well water I have ever drank.
The first time I stayed, there were loud people awake until the wee hours of morning, but I have camped here 2-3 times since then with no issues. This is my go-to hike-in spot when looking for a place closer to the Twin Cities.
This park offers a number of hiking trails on mountainous (well, river valley) terrain and is nestled along the St. Croix River. There is a beach, picnic area, interpretive center and trail, cross-country ski trails, and more.
Afton State Park! Really enjoyed the hike-in camp site #7! Brought my dog Maya and we hiked up and down the bluffs in the evening and the next morning! Incredible star and moon viewing at night! Beautiful St. Croix River Valley! Tons of nature, forest, prairie, deer everywhere, wild turkeys, rabbits and squirrels! Had a blast! Great solar powered well water! Mid-week is nice n quiet! Awesome! Going back again this week! ****
Afton is a gorgeous park. There's beautiful trails that take you through dense woods and prairie, and then you take a pretty decline to get to the St Croix River. It was foggy when we were there but still gorgeous. We also managed to get a yurt and it was so much fun. Comfy beds, room for 7 and it was clean and well built. This is a great park!