Hit the Trail with the Hiking Club

Hiking Club booklet graphics overlayed atop a nature trail

Dive into nature as you embark on a journey through Minnesota's breathtaking state parks and recreation areas. 

Join the Minnesota State Parks and Trails Hiking Club and explore the breathtaking beauty of our state's most scenic trails! 

Whether you're a seasoned hiker or just starting your outdoor journey, our Hiking Club offers an unparalleled opportunity to connect with nature, challenge yourself, and create unforgettable memories along the way. From cascading waterfalls to towering forests, each trail offers a unique and awe-inspiring experience waiting to be discovered. Join us as we wander through winding paths, marvel at majestic vistas, and immerse ourselves in the wonders of Minnesota's great outdoors.

Lace up your boots and let the adventure begin!

How it works

The Hiking Club is a set list of trails for you to explore at Minnesota’s state parks and recreation areas. The trails are various lengths and difficulties. Along the Hiking Club trails you will come across a sign that has a password on it. Collecting passwords and getting to 25, 50, 75, 100, 175, and all Hiking Club miles is how you will earn rewards. Only Hiking Club trails count toward your total miles.

New Hiking Club signs are navy blue and grey.


Hiking Club trails will be labelled both physically with signs and on the state park map. In 2023, state parks updated their Hiking Club signs. The new signs are mainly navy blue, grey, and bright green with the Hiking Club boot icon. There are a small number of parks that need to update their signs. Older Hiking Club signs are light blue and yellow. All state parks will have the new signs by the end of 2025.

Hiking Club password sign by a scenic overlook.


Hiking Club passwords will be printed on a sign somewhere along the Hiking Club trail. Where the passwords are specifically located will not be indicated on the map (nor will we tell you)—that’s part of the fun and adventure. Pay attention while hiking and write the password down as soon as you find it (or take a picture of it with your phone). Passwords are generally at an area you’d naturally be drawn to, such as an overlook or resting point.

We encourage you to download and use the free app, Avenza to stay on trail. With Avenza, you can follow your progress as you hike (even without cell service) to ensure sure you're still on the Hiking Club trail. 

Some passwords are being updated when the new navy blue and grey signs are installed. If you have the old password for a park, it still counts, you don’t need to re-hike a park to get the new password.  

In 2023, Upper Sioux Agency State Park was closed. If you did not get a chance to visit this park before it closed, you do not need the password in order to complete your booklet.

Hiking Club booklet

Getting started

To join the Hiking Club, simply grab your club book for $14.95 plus tax at any state park Nature Store or conveniently order online. Once you receive your book, make sure you fill out the name and contact information section in the booklet. Occasionally we find a lost booklet with no contact information. Don’t lose all your progress—fill out your booklet!


Your booklet will have a physical card to register for the Hiking Club in it. You can send the card in or register online.


When you join the Hiking Club, you will acquire excellent rewards. It’s hard to say what the best reward is: seeing some of Minnesota’s most beautiful vistas for the first time, spending countless hours in nature, the satisfaction of completing a hard-earned journey, or simply the memories made along the way.


To help you stay motivated on your journey, we will award you patches at certain milestones (25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150, 175, and all). To collect your patches, stop into an open state park office. Explain to the staff person that you are a member of the Hiking Club, and you would like to pick up a patch (as well as any additional rewards you’ve earned). Don’t be disappointed by a closed office—double check office hours before your visit on the park website! Especially in the winter, some park office hours can be reduced or only at request.  

Free Night of Camping Certificate

When you hike 100 miles and all Hiking Club miles, you qualify for a free night of camping certificate—totaling two nights. To get your certificate, visit an open state park office. Explain to the staff person that you are a member of the Hiking Club, you have hiked 100/all miles, and would like to claim your free night of camping certificate (as well as any additional rewards you’ve earned). Don’t be disappointed by a closed office—double check office hours before your visit on the park website! Especially in the winter, some park office hours can be reduced or only at request.

Your free night of camping certificate will be a paper certificate and will only be good for one year. The certificate must be redeemed in-person—it cannot be used when booking your reservation online. We will need the paper certificate to redeem the free night, so don’t forget to pack it with you!

Not a tent camper? The certificate’s value can be applied toward a different lodging type (camper cabin, lodge, etc.). The value of the certificate is equal to one night of non-electric camping at the specific park you are staying at. View the value of a non-electric camp site at each state park.


New Hiking Club signs are navy blue and grey.

Once you’ve conquered all the Hiking Club trails, you have the option of getting a plaque to memorialize your achievement. The plaque costs $21.95 and will have your name and completion date engraved on it. For members who purchased the Hiking Club booklet prior to 2019, the plaque’s cost was included in your original purchase price.

The best way to order your plaque is to print the Completion Form and mail it with your booklet to us. Read and follow the instructions on the form. You can also use this form to indicate missing rewards or patches that we will mail you with your plaque.  

We place bulk plaque orders at the end of odd numbered months (Jan., March…) to our vendor. Depending on when we receive your form, it is possible you may not receive your plaque and booklet back for over three months. You will get a confirmation email saying we received your booklet and form—after which we will not provide updates. Thank you for your patience!

Before you hike

Visit the park website

It is strongly encouraged that you preview your route before heading to a state park or recreation area. Once you are on the state park or recreation area’s webpage:

  1. Check for visitor alerts: park staff frequently update the website to include alerts about trail conditions, events, and closures due to flooding, emergencies, hunting, and more.  
  2. Preview the Hiking Club trail on the park map: Hiking Club trails are identified on park maps.
    • Select the appropriate seasonal map—summer vs. winter. Some Hiking Club trails become ski trails in the winter and do not allow hikers again until spring. See full list at below.
    • If there are multiple intersections along the trail, study them ahead of time and familiarize yourself with which way to go.

Download and use Avenza

A hand holds a cell phone showing the Avenza app at the Mississippi River headwaters.

Many state parks do not have cell phone service, especially once you venture into the woods or prairie. Download Avenza to your cell phone and use it while you hike!

With Avenza, you can preload state park maps before you hit the trail to use later when you are lost at a crossroads with no cell service. Avenza will show your location on the map as you move.

With every new park, download the new map ahead of time for smooth navigation and safety. You’ll never take a wrong turn again!

Avenza is free to use. Learn more and get set up before your first hike.

Hiking Club Trails that are not hikeable in the winter

As soon as there is snow, the Hiking Club trails at the parks listed below are closed to hikers for the remainder of the winter for skiing and snowmobiling. Do not hike on groomed trails!

  • Afton State Park
  • Bear Head Lake State Park
  • Flandrau State Park
  • Fort Snelling State Park
  • Glendalough State Park
  • Great River Bluffs State Park
  • Hayes Lake State Park
  • Itasca State Park
  • Jay Cooke State Park
  • Lake Bemidji State Park
  • Lake Bronson State Park
  • Lake Carlos State Park
  • Lake Maria State Park
  • McCarthy Beach State Park
  • Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
  • Savanna Portage State Park
  • St. Croix State Park
  • Wild River State Park
  • William O’Brien State Park

Back to top