Last updated on August 16th, 2019
Do you love to explore? Do spend your weekend’s camping, hiking, fishing, and everything outdoors? Do you have a Minnesota State Parks Passport or are you part of the Hiking Club? You should be! The programs work great together and gives you a good reason to get out and explore. That is why I was so excited when I got gifted an MN State Park Passport this past holiday season. Here is the lowdown on the programs and what you need to start an epic summer adventure!
The Minnesota State Parks Passport Program
The Minnesota State Park Passport Program is great for those that love to explore but maybe need a reason to go see them all! As you travel to each park, stop by the main office and get your passport stamped. The passport costs $14.95 and can be picked up at most of the parks or at the DNR License Center in 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.
In addition to the passport, you will also receive travel log giving you the opportunity to document some of your favorite parts of the parks. It won’t take long before you realize you are already collecting your first reward. After stamping 25 parks, you will get a certificate for a free night of camping and a pin. Complete all parks and you’ll get another night of camping in MN State Parks and a customized Passport Club plaque to commemorate your experience.
The Minnesota State Park Hiking Club
The MN State DNR also offers a Hiking Club. For $14.95 you can be a part of this too. By going on the designated hiking trails in MN State Parks, located at most of the parks and recreation areas, you’ll be earning miles. The hiking trails will lead you to a lot of the park highlights including, waterfalls, overlooks, geological wonders, and the historic sites. On the designated hikes you’ll see a sign with the password to verify that you made it through your hike.
The rewards for the hiking club are based on the number of miles you’ve completed. You’ll receive a patch for each milestone of 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150, 175 and all the miles. At 100 miles you’ll get a free night of camping and if you can complete them all, you’ll get another night of camping plus an engraved plaque. I plan on picking up a passport at our first park this year!
If you are serious about it visiting the parks, I highly recommend getting a parking permit too. It will give you unlimited access to the parks for the year. They cost $35. The permit expires on the Month you purchased the permit for the following year. So if you purchase a permit June 1 st this year, you have until June 30th of the following year to explore. It’s a great deal if you plan to go to a park more than once a year.
My friend Greta at Pickles Travel was trying to visit all the parks in one year. As fun as that would be, I plan to take it a little slower. The goal is to stay at maybe 10 or more a year. Has anyone else tried to do this epic adventure? I’d love to hear how many stamps and miles you’ve racked up on your Minnesota hiking club adventure!
Minnesota State Parks List
Here is the list of the participating State Parks where you can rack up your own stamps. Keep checking back to get a review of each of the parks as I cross them off my list.
1. Afton State Park
2. Banning State Park
3. Bear Head Lake State Park
4. Beaver Creek Valley State Park
5. Big Bog State Recreation Area
6. Big Stone Lake State Park
7. Blue Mounds State Park
8. Buffalo River State Park
9. Camden State Park
10. Carley State Park
11. Cascade River State Park
12. Charles A. Limberg State Park
13. Crow Wing State Park
14. Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area
15. Father Hennepin State Park
16. Flandrau State Park
17. Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park
18. Fort Ridgely State Park
19. Fort Snelling State Park*
20. Franz Jevne State Park
21. Frontenac State Park
22. Garden Island State Recreation Area
23. George H. Crosby Manitou State Park*
24. Glacial Lakes State Park
25. Glendalough State Park*
26. Gooseberry Falls State Park
27. Grand Portage State Park*
28. Great River Bluffs State Park
29. Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area
30. Hayes Lake State Park
31. Hill Annex Mine State Park*
32. Interstate State Park
33. Iron Range Off-highway Vehicle State Recreation Area
34. Itasca State Park
35. Jay Cooke State Park
36. John A. Latsch State Park*
37. Judge C.R. Magney State Park
38. Kilen Woods State Park
39. La Salle Lake State Recreation Area
40. Lac qui Parle State Park
41. Lake Bemidji State Park
42. Lake Bronson State Park
43. Lake Carlos State Park
44. Lake Louise State Park
45. Lake Maria State Park*
46. Lake Shetek State Park
47. Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park*
48. Maplewood State Park
49. McCarthy Beach State Park
50. Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
51. Minneopa State Park
52. Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area*
53. Monson Lake State Park
54. Moose Lake State Park*
55. Myre – Big Island State Park
56. Nerstrand Big Woods State Park
57. Old Mill State Park
58. Red River State Recreation Area
59. Rice Lake State Park
60. St. Croix Island State Recreation Area
61. St. Croix State Park State Park
62. Sakatah Lake State Park
63. Savanna Portage State Park
64. Scenic State Park
65. Schoolcraft State Park
66. Sibley State Park
67. Split Rock Creek State Park
68. Split Rock Lighthouse State Park*
69. Temperance River State Park
70. Tettegouche State Park
71. Upper Sioux Agency State Park
72. Whitewater State Park
73. Wild River State Park
74. William O’Brien State Park
75. Zippel Bay State Park
What’s MN State Park is Closest to the Twin Cities?
It didn’t take me long to find out that there are a lot of MN State Parks and it became hard to juggle them all. That’s why I’ve developed a tracking spreadsheet that includes all the different MN State Parks. I’ve got them broken out by distance from Minneapolis. It will also track your Hiking Club Miles, Passport Stamps collected and give you a running total. I took it a step further and identified the best amenities at each park.
Using the filters, you can identify which MN State Park Hiking Club Trail is less than 2 hrs from Minneapolis. Or which trial has groomed paths for winter hiking. Or which trail is under 2 miles for those just starting out. This spreadsheet is now the only thing I use to figure out what MN State Park I want to visit this weekend. Click on the picture below to get your copy.