Best Hike at Crow Wing State Park, MN

Check out the best hike in Crow Wing State Park for history, river views and gorgeous pine forests.

Of the 18 miles of hiking trails in the park, the hiking club trail covers the most interesting and most picturesque views in the park. From river views to pine forests, this hike has all the features.

Distance: 2.2 miles

Level: Easy

Time to go: Spring-Autumn

Dog Friendly: Yes, on Leash

Fees: Yearly State Park Pass $35, Daily $7

Parking and Trail Head

Follow the main entrance road all the way to the farthest parking lot. There is a small building available for gatherings and restrooms available.

State Park Pass: Parking passes may be obtained at the park office (if the office is open) upon entering the park or online at the MN DNR website.

The trail begins at the informational stand, there is a map available. The hiking club trail is well marked with small “Hiking Club” signs and there are maps posted throughout the trail.

Two Rivers Meet

Possibly the second most beautiful spot in the park (the first is Chippewa Overlook). See where the two rivers, the Crow Wing and Mississippi, converge. These calm waters come together as one and make their way along the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. Visit in early morning to watch the mist rise off the water. Wait quietly and long enough, you may just see a beaver or muskrat working along the rivers edge.

Old Crow Wing Village

The old town once catered to travelers and fur traders on the river. When the railroad passed through Brainerd, the town fizzled out and was abandoned. A little spooky, but so neat! Check out the old building and boardwalk. It’s a neat splash of history in the forest. There are signs posted in the area describing what kind of building and business stood in different locations in the area.

Ox Cart Trail

The Ox Cart Trail is part of the hiking club trail and travels the path that was used for ox carts, imagine that! The trail leads along the riverbank of the Mississippi and is part of the hiking club trail. You won’t need to watch for ox droppings these days though, but do check out the spot where they crossed the river.

Chippewa Lookout

The most beautiful and picturesque location in the park. If you don’t have the the time to hike the entire hiking club trail on your visit, you can access this overlook by parking at the boat ramp access on the Mississippi. It’s so worth the hike though. There is a set of steps leading up to the overlook from the access. If hiking, there is a slight incline giving views of the Mississippi along the way.

Church and Grave Markers

An old, restored church stands in a small clearing in the pine forest. There is a memorial and burial sites. This eerie resting place is actually a quite peaceful place along the hike.

Also Check Out:

Paul Bunyan State Trail: The Paul Bunyan State Trail encompasses 115 miles of paved bike trail. This trail runs from Bemidji State Park to Crow Wing State Park. The trail begins or ends at Crow Wing, depending on which direction one is heading. It’s neat to see a section of this long trail.

Say “Hi” to Paul: Zip across MN-371 after visiting the park to say “Hello” to Paul Bunyan. Paul is waiting outside of the area visitor’s center to greet visitors. A great spot for a photo in Minnesota.

Wildlife: Slow down and observe the wildlife in the park. Search for tracks along the riverbank, watch the chipmunks and squirrels, there are a number of animals who call this park home.

  • Beavers & Muskrats
  • White Tail Deer
  • Chipmunks & Squirrels
  • Coyotes & Fox
  • Waterfowl, Eagles, Hawks

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