75 reasons to join the MN State Parks Passport and MN Hiking Club
Do you love to explore? Do you spend your weekends camping, hiking, fishing, and everything outdoors? Then you need a MN State Parks Passport or are you part of the MN Hiking Club?
The programs work great together and give you a good reason to get out and explore. That is why I was so excited when I got gifted a 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!
DayTripper is supported by it’s audience. When you purchase though links on our site, we may earn a small commission. It doesn’t cost you anything additional. I never promote things I haven’t vetted myself.
The MN State Parks Passport Program
The MN 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 purchased at most of the parks or at the DNR License Center at 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.
What’s included in the Mn State Parks Passport?
Besides the passport, you will also receive a 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.
How to earn MN State park Passport Rewards?
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 MN Hiking Club. For $14.95 you can be a part of this too. By going on the designated hiking trails in MN State Parks, 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 historic sites. On the designated hikes, you’ll see a sign with the password to verify that you made it through your hike.
How to earn MN State Park Hiking Club Rewards?
The rewards for the hiking club are based on the number of miles you’ve completed. It’s the amounts listed in the book, not the miles your fitness tracker counted.
You’ll receive a patch for each milestone of 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150, 175, and all the miles. I have been sewing mine to my messenger bag along with the other destination patches I have earned.
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!
Pro Tip: Finding the Hiking Club Passwords is a great motivator to get younger kids to start hiking
MN Hiking Club and Passport Tips
Nothing is worse than getting to the MN State Park only to find the office is closed. Don’t stress out, you can still get your passport stamped still.
Most stamps hide in a box outside the park’s main office window, near their map stash. If not, they will post a sign telling you where to go. I’ve seen them around the corner.
If it’s not at the park, you can mail in your passport to Park Office in St Paul’s office and let them know the date you were there and that you could not get the stamp.
They will mail it back to you with a stamp included. Some have even left their passport in the pay box outside the gate with a return envelope and requested a stamp.
Hiking Club Maps
There are plenty of GPS programs like All Trails and The Hiking Project that help you plot out your adventure. But the one thing they are missing is the MN State Park Trails.
You’ll need Avenza Maps if you plan on hiking. It works by taking the same MN State Parks maps you used to and placing your GPS position on top of it.
This app is free. make sure to download your maps before you leave as some locations have spotty internet signals. Once on the trail, it uses your phones GPS, so no internet is needed.
This gives you a good piece of mind that you are on the Hiking Club Trail and not some offshoot.
This is a game-changer for anyone directionally challenged or those that want a little reassurance when you come to an intersection with more branches than shown on the map.
Pro Tip: Track your progress with a Push Pin Map of Minnesota!
How much does it cost to get into MN State Parks?
A daily MN State Park pass is only $7. If you are serious about it visiting the parks, I highly recommend getting a MN State Park parking permit. It gives 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.
If you purchase a permit on June 1st 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.
Check out more Minnesota State Park Pass Hacks, Tips, and Free Days
How Many MN State Parks Are There?
Here is the list of the MN State Parks where you can rack up your own stamps. There are 75 in total. Each time I visit a park, I give out trail descriptions and tips. 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. Lindbergh 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 are my favorite State Parks?
MN has some amazing State Parks. Of my adventures, there are a few that are especially memorable. I spoke about them on Fox9 Morning Show recently. Check them out.
How To track your hiking club miles?
Hiking club miles are tracked by the official miles listed in the book, not actual miles hiked.
The miles listed on are approximate. We’ve seen a 6 mile trail actually be closer to 8 and a 3 mile trail be closer to 2. Throughout the years, the park has shifted the official trails around. This happens for a variety of reason, but most commonly it’s due to trial maintenance and erosion.
Go Digital to Find out What’s Left
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.
The spreadsheet will also track your MN Hiking Club Miles, and 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 trail 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.
Why I love Hiking
Make sure to check out my newest guide on Enjoying the Hike Again. It’s a free guide I put together spilling all the dirt on hiking. Based on what I’ve seen online, we’ve all lost our way.