The Greater St. Cloud area is full of unique and fun outdoor adventures just waiting for you. There are plenty of parks for hiking, lots of great trails for a bike ride, and many other great venues for cross country skiing, swimming, and much more. These are all really fun things to do, but sometimes you just want to take it up a notch and really experience a one-of-a-kind outdoor adventure. That’s where these ideas come in! There is something for adrenaline junkies
& into a 116 foot deep former granite mining quarry! Quarry Park & Nature Preserve is 620+ acres of hiking trails that wind through scenic woodlands, beautiful meadows, and of course twenty different retired granite quarries. Both quarry #2 and #11 allow for swimming, and #11 even has a sandy beach for younger visitors to enjoy. You can also go trout fishing, rock climbing, scuba diving, cross country skiing, and more at Quarry Park. It’s a must-see in Greater St. Cloud!
Newly opened and touted as one of the biggest and best in the Midwest, Heritage Park Skate Plaza is every skateboarder, biker, or blader’s dream come true. Spanning 20,000 square feet and featuring a large multi-depth bowl, several walls, stairs, ledges, rails, and more, skaters of all skill levels will love to test out their tricks and skill’s on the parks many features. There is also a restroom located onsite and an open-air shelter for catching up with friends in-between sessions.
Whether you’re a seasoned yoga pro or new to the workout, make it even more interesting by attempting your moves on a stand up paddleboard! Clear Waters Outfitting will set you up with all the equipment you need and shuttle you and your friends (up to 7 people max) to Warner Lake in Clearwater for a 1.25 hour class. Because is there anything more Minnesotan than yoga ON a lake?!
Greater St. Cloud is home to many unique and fun disc golf courses, but Airborne Disc Golf at The Preserve really takes the cake. Offering the Red Fox course for beginners, the Lynx course for intermediate golfers, and the Timberwolf course with over 8,000 feet of challenging holes, The Preserve offers a truly elevated disc golf experience. The course is open daily from sunrise to sunset, and the onsite Tavern is the perfect place to unwind after a day on the course.
A best kept secret of Central MN is that Holdingford is home to the longest covered bridge in the state! Located over the Lake Wobegon Trail, this bridge spans 186 feet over the South Two Rivers. It’s the perfect little getaway to explore just outside of St. Cloud, and would make for a great location for an informal photo shoot with it’s pretty structure.
If there’s one way to get up close and personal with an animal, it’s by feeding them their favorite treat. We promise, that thrill doesn’t wear off as you age. Head out to Hemker’s Zoo to see for yourself as you take part in a giraffe, otter, or rhino feeding! Stand on the tall deck to feed the giraffes leaves of romaine lettuce, toss fish in to the otter pool and watch them snack, or offer a gigantic rhinoceros some leafy greens! There are also bird and fish feedings available as well as several other opportunities for close encounters.
Newly opened in 2021, The Ledge Amphitheater is Greater St. Cloud’s newest outdoor music venue, and when we say outdoor, we mean it! Built in between granite quarries and sprawling over rock formations, wooded trails, and the wide open air, The Ledge Amphitheater is a truly magical place to catch a concert, play, or even come together for a community gathering. All in the great outdoors!
Most hikes lead to something – a great view, a campground, or possibly back to the parking lot. But how about one that takes you out to a secluded, historic chapel in the middle of the woods? The Stella Maris Chapel Trail at St. John’s Arboretum is a one of a kind hike on the shores of Lake Sagatagan at St. John’s University. This semi-challenging hike is about 3 miles round trip, and while it is open to the public, no dogs or bikes are allowed.
Ever wanted to let your inner cowboy or cowgirl out to play, but found yourself lacking in the whole “having a horse” area? Well you’re in luck, El Rancho Manaña Campground, located just outside St. Cloud in Richmond, MN has all the horsing around you need. Make a reservation for a trail ride! They will get you set up with a trustworthy horse and take you out for an hour long ride through the beautiful woods and fields. Or you can do lead-arounds for the little ones!