Hidden Gem Hiking Trails in Greater St. Cloud

The St. Cloud area has many notable hikes, like the miles of trails at Quarry Park or the scenic views in the Saint John’s Arboretum. But perhaps you’d like to get off the beaten path and experience a trail less traveled in Greater St. Cloud. Here are some great ones to help you enjoy the outdoors! 

George Friedrich Park

In Town 

You don’t have to travel far to go for a hike in St. Cloud. Here are some parks in St. Cloud that have great hiking trails.

George Friedrich Park

George Friedrich Park is a unique property located in East St. Cloud, at the end of University Drive. The 50+ acre park, a former granite mining area, was purchased by the City of St. Cloud and in 2015 it opened to the public. With trails that wind through former granite quarries, woods, and prairies, this park is perfect for hiking, skiing, snow-shoeing and just exploring, it is truly a unique and beautiful place to get away.

Sand Prairie Wildlife Management Area

This 650 acre area in the glacial flood plain of the Mississippi River is designated as a Wildlife Management Area, which means it’s set aside for the conservation of wildlife and recreational activities involving wildlife – like hiking. Come enjoy the natural beauty of this area which is full of opportunities to view wildlife, study nature, and of course, go for a hike. Come ready to explore, and watch for sandhill cranes!

River Bluffs Regional Park

River Bluffs Regional Park is a 190 acre park and it includes a boat landing on the Mississippi, access to the paved Beaver Island Trail, and many beautiful hiking paths that wind through the woods. It is a great place to visit all season, with paths for skiing, snowshoeing, and biking, and it even connects to the Plum Creek mountain biking trail. Bring a bag lunch and enjoy a picnic when you’re done with your hike!

Sauk River Regional Park

This park features natural surface hiking trails, close access to the Sauk River, and a sliding hill. It can be accessed off of County Road 120 or from the Friends of Whitney dog park parking lot, which allows direct access to the Boys Camp Bridge across the Sauk River. Bring your family and even your pooch for a fun time exploring the woods and the Sauk River area!

Miller Landing County Park

Located behind the Stearns County License Center in Waite Park, this short loop offers a wide variety of sights in a short time. Access the park by the west end of the parking lot and continue on to a picnic and fishing area along the Sauk River. Hop on the trail and experience woodlands, prairies, riverside foliage and more. Perfect for a short stroll when you just need some time outdoors!

Bend in the River Regional Park

In the Area

While St. Cloud is full of unique hiking opportunities, these parks and trails also make for great time spent in the great outdoors around Greater St. Cloud. 

Bob Cross Nature Preserve – Sauk Rapids: This nearly 12 acre park is the perfect size for a quick stroll, with just over a mile of natural-surface trails through wetlands and nature areas with plenty of opportunities for observing wildlife. 

Eagle Park – Rockville: Enjoy a slow wander through the two large loops that this park provides as you enjoy the views of wildflowers, granite outcroppings, and easy access to the Sauk River with a fishing pier.

Bend in the River Regional Park – Rice: Bend in the River Park is a 289 acre park, including 3,300 feet of undeveloped shoreline on the Mississippi River. Enjoy scenic views of the Mississippi River from the high banks, which include views of islands and the adjacent 220 acre wildlife management area.

Clear Lake Scientific and Nature Area – Clear Lake: The Clear Lake SNA features .65 miles of shoreline on the east side of the Mississippi River. along with 78 acres of trails and wildlife to enjoy. With a mix of oak forests and beautiful river bluffs, it’s a scenic place to spend some time.