Best Hiking Paths in Greater St. Cloud

These city, county and regional parks in Greater St. Cloud have easy, beautiful hiking (or strolling) paths with some of the best views in Minnesota. Don’t believe us? Go see for yourself! 

 

Take a Hike – Natural Surface Paths

Quarry Park & Nature Preserve

Quarry Park & Nature Preserve 

1802 County Road 137, Waite Park, MN 56387

Probably Greater St. Cloud’s most well-known park, Quarry Park has so much to offer visitors. During the warmer months, the trails lead to refreshing quarry swimming holes, fishing spots, and even rock climbing walls. But beyond all that, Quarry Park is simply a beautiful, relaxing place to take a walk. The entry fee is just $5 per car, and the trails seem to be nearly endless. Click here to view park map. 

George Friedrich Park

19th Ave SE, St Cloud, MN 56304

George Friedrich Park is a unique property located in East St. Cloud, at the end of University Drive. The park was once the site of Gottfried Hilder’s granite quarry business before it was purchased in 1934 by St. Cloud State University. The 50+ acre park has since been purchased by the City of St. Cloud, and in 2015 it opened to the public. With trails that are perfect for hiking, skiing, snow-shoeing and just exploring, it is truly a unique and beautiful place to get away.

Kraemer Lake – Wildwood County Park

12857 County Road 51; St. Joseph, MN 56374

Also located just a short drive from St. Cloud is Kraemer Lake Wildwood Park. With natural surface trails that lead to scenic overlooks, half a mile of lake frontage, and marshy areas that offer unique perspectives on native Minnesota wildlife, this 265 acre park is a great place to take a hike. Plus, half of this park is identified as a significant natural community, with some trees over 300 years old! Click here to view park map.

Warner Lake County Park

1485 County Road 143, Clearwater, MN 55320

This 264 acre park surrounds Warner Lake in Clearwater, and has been in existence since 1973. Not only does Warner Lake County Park have shelters, a picnic area, a play area, a swimming beach and a fishing pier, but there are also miles of hiking paths all through the park. Cross the creek, traverse the marsh, and even scale the shoreline on these perfect hiking paths. Click here to view park map. 

Bend in the River Regional Park

Bend in the River Regional Park

NE River Road, Rice, MN 56367

Just park at the old farmstead and head south – how picturesque does that sound? Bend in the River Park is a 289 acre park, including 3,300 feet of undeveloped shoreline on the Mississippi River. You will love the scenic views of the river from the high banks, which include views of islands and the adjacent 220 acre wildlife management area. Click here to view park map. 

Rockville County Park

11503 Glacier Road, Rockville, MN 56301

Located just outside of St. Cloud in Rockville, the walking pats in Rockville County Park encompass all types of natural areas. Stroll through whispering grassy fields. Get a glimpse of the rapids up close to the Sauk River. Hike (if you dare) up to the observation deck to see if you can spot a bald eagle. With options to just go a little ways or to walk all day, you will have so much fun exploring Rockville County Park. Click here to view park map. 

Sand Prairie Wildlife Management Area

Near the southeastern edge of Saint Cloud, south of Co Rd 7. Signs mark the entrance on the east side of Hwy 10 at its junction with Minnesota Blvd.

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!

St. John’s University Arboretum

Several trails around St. John’s University campus, located at 2850 Abbey Plaza, Collegeville, MN 56312

The Arboretum at St. John’s University features six different hikes of varying lengths, including the well-known Stella Maris Chapel Trail, the short and scenic Boardwalk Loop, and even several cross-country ski trails. Twisting through the beautiful Collegeville hills, these trails are great for any season. Check out the arboretum calendar for events throughout the year as well!  For a full list an map of all the hiking options at SJU, click here

Bring Your Bike – Paved Paths

Beaver Island Trail & St. Cloud Riverwalk

Trailheads are located off 3rd Ave. S. on the SCSU campus and Downtown St. Cloud off of 5th Ave. N.

The Beaver Island Trail is asphalt and covers just over 5 miles, stretching along the Mississippi River from St. Cloud State University to River Bluffs Regional Park. Scenic views of the Mississippi peak through natural wooded areas as this urban oasis opens up to downtown St. Cloud. The St. Cloud Riverwalk is accessible from Beaver Island Trail, and spans about a half-mile below the River’s Edge Convention Center over the Mississippi River. It’s worth making the extra effort to reach the Riverwalk, as the views are quite spectacular. Trail Link: Beaver Island TrailSt. Cloud River Walk

Rocori Trail

Begins at the corner of Main Street and 1st Ave SE near Quarry Cinema.

This asphalt route spans from the Sauk River in Cold Spring to Richmond, where it meets up with the Glacial Lakes State Trail. Paralleling Highway 23, it’s the perfect trail for an easy, flat ride through both town and country. A recent expansion was completed in nearby Rockville as well, however this stretch does not yet connect with the remainder of the trail. Rocori Trail is ideal for an easy family outing or a quick exercise route. There is also a small extension in Rockville, but it does not  yet connect to the rest. Trail Link: Rocori Trai

Glacial Lakes State Trail

The Rocori Trail turns into the Glacial Lakes State Trail in Richmond.

This beautiful asphalt stretches along 29 miles of scenic countryside from Richmond through Paynesville and on to Willmar. The trail’s landscape is a natural habitat for many native creatures, and visitors to the trail can expect to capture some amazing photos among the rolling hills and grassy plains. If you’re really feeling adventurous, the picturesque Sibley State Park is only about three miles off the trail in New London, or you can connect with lake trails in Paynesville that take you out and around Lake Koronis. Take note that there is a bike repair station located at the Willmar Civic Center trailhead if needed. Trail Link: Glacial Lakes State Trail

Lake Wobegon Trail

Multiple trailheads throughout all lengths of the trail, with the closest in River’s Edge Park in Waite Park near the Sauk River.

Settle in for a stretch of this 60 mile asphalt trail, which has endpoints in Osakis and Waite Park, with many stops in between. This trail was originally made famous by radio personality Garrison Keillor from A Prairie Home Companion, with his fictional town of Lake Wobegon in Central Minnesota. Small towns give way to wetlands, grassy plains, deciduous forests and cropland as you travel through rural Minnesota. Highlights include the longest covered bridge in Minnesota, located on the Holdingford stretch, and close access to the famous St. John’s University. There are also connections to many other trails including the Central Lakes State Trail, the Soo Line Recreational Trail, and in the future both the Dairyland Trail and the Beaver Island Trail in St. Cloud. Easy to navigate for bikers, walkers, or skaters of any level, the Wobegon trail can provide days of entertainment for all. Trail Link: Lake Wobegon Trail

Soo Line Recreational Trail & Southern Route

Accessed from the Lake Wobegon Trail in Holdingford

Connecting with the Wobegon Trail in Holdingford and stretching 10.5 miles to Royalton, the Soo Line Recreational Trail is an asphalt trail with much to offer. Travel through small towns, farmland, wooded areas and even across the Blanchard Dam for a photo opp. Connect with the Soo Line Trail – Southern Route in Royalton (also known as the Soo Line South ATV Trail) and you can continue over 105 miles to the Wisconsin border just south of Duluth. As the name suggests, motorized all-terrain vehicles are allowed on this stretch, however please note that they are not allowed on the Soo Line Recreational Trail section. Trail Link: Soo Line Recreational TrailSoo Line Trail – Southern Route

Dairyland Trail

Trailheads located in Elrosa and New Munich

Aptly named after one of the top dairy producing areas in the state of Minnesota, the Dairyland trail – a crushed stone trail – stretches between Elrosa and Greenwald for 6.2 miles. Pass through farmland, open fields and even prime hunting areas as you explore rural Minnesota. Future plans include expansion of the trail all the way to Brooten, and a connection to the Wobegon trail in Albany. Visitors of this trail can travel by bike, foot, or even horseback and in accordance with local ordinances, small game and upland bird hunting along the trail is also allowed. Trail Link: Dairyland Trail

Short Strolls

Munsinger Clemens Gardens
  • Munsinger Clemens Gardens, St. Cloud: Best visited when the flowers are in bloom, Munsinger Clemens Gardens is a perfect spot to unplug and take a relaxing stroll.
  • Lake George, St. Cloud: Just seconds from Downtown St. Cloud, the lake is a centerpiece to a beautiful walking path that includes fountains, overlooks, benches and even a beach.
  • Hester Park, St. Cloud: A unique place to catch both a view of the Mississippi River and a stroll down St. Cloud Granite staircases, Hester Park is small but delivers on charm.
  • Sauk Rapids Municipal Park, Sauk Rapids: Spanning the river on the opposite side is the Sauk Rapids Municipal Park, which features slow-strolling trails and access to the well-known photo op underneath the Bridge of Hope.
  • River’s Edge Park, Waite Park: The trails through the many sports and family fun features of this park lead to one of the most well known walking/biking trails in the area, the Wobegon Trail.
  • Millstream Park, St. Joseph: Nestled along the Watab river, this park has a range of recreational activities as well as wooding walking paths for all ages to enjoy.
  • 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.
  • Riverside Park, Clearwater: The Mississippi River is within sight at this quaint park, as well as access to biking and walking trails that include a bridge over the Clearwater River as well.