Welcome to the Afton State Park virtual tour! In this journey you'll peek inside the visitor center, meander along the hiking trail through a prairie restoration area, and check out the swimming beach and a few of our favorite fishing spots. We hope it prompts you to visit the park in person sometime soon.
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Lower Picnic Area
This very popular picnic area along the St. Croix River is about a half mile walk from the parking area. The picnic area features a shelter, fire rings, and pedestal grills.
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The swimming beach is adjacent to the lower picnic area. It is located in a shallow, calm section of the river, and is marked with buoys in the summer.
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Boat Dock / Fishing Pier
This boat dock provides access to the lower picnic area from the St. Croix River. When not being used by boaters it is very popular for fishing.
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Stairs along the river trail allow access to this sand bar below the Trout Brook delta when the river is at or below normal levels.
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Current land use practices have greatly improved the quality of this former trout stream. Trout currently do not use the stream due to the silt that covers the stream bed.
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This is one of three bridges remaining from the old railroad line that once ran along the river to Stillwater.
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Bridge from Brook
Standing along the brook you can see the railroad bridge, the lower trail crossing, and a number of wood duck boxes. This area frequently floods in the spring.
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This trail is one of the most popular in the park, running from the parking area to the lower picnic area. It is an old railroad grade, so it is safe from the high water and flooding that occurs each spring along the river.
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Numerous north-facing slopes in the park provide excellent habitat for a variety of ferns. These unique sites are being actively managed to protect the different ferns that grow here.
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This spectacular view of the St. Croix river valley is only a short 300-yard walk from the main parking lots. This overlook is an excellent spot to watch the spring and fall migrations of hawks, eagles, and turkey vultures.
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The visitor center is located near the parking area, and is open to the public daily. Visitors can use the center on a first-come, first-serve basis unless an interpretive program is scheduled. In the winter it becomes the trail center, where cross country skiers and snowshoers can warm up and socialize.
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Visitor Center Interior
Interpretive displays in the reception area provide an introduction to the operations and resources at Afton State Park. Modern bathrooms, a kitchen area, tables and chairs make it a great place for small groups to meet.
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Take this half-mile walk on the self-guided trail loop to learn about the restoration management activities and special features of the park. The tall, golden brown grass in this photo is Big Bluestem, a native grass that once covered vast areas of the west.
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Drive into Park
Examples of oak savanna, oak woodland, and prairie habitats can all be seen along the 1.5 mile drive to the main parking area at Afton State Park.
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Group Camp #2
There are two group camps at Afton. This site is best suited for tents, with limited parking. Group Camp #1 has a number of smaller sites and is better suited to RV groups or pop-up campers.
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Hike-in Camp: Water
The backpack campground is a one-mile walk from the parking area. There is water from this solar pump, and firewood is available at a central location in the campground.
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Hike-in Camp: Trail
The main trail through the backpack sites gives a spectacular view of the valley, and is surrounded by native prairie restoration.
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This campsite is one of the more open sites, offering a spectacular view of the St. Croix River valley.
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Hike-in Campsite #4
Many of the sites are similar to this one, with a mix of some shade and some sun. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring.
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This riverside trail follows almost three miles of old railroad bed. In the middle is the lower picnic area and beach. Either end of the trail leads up the river valley, providing challenging loops through a variety of habitats.
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Oliver Charley was a well-known early settler and conservationist in the area. He built what was known as the "Honeymoon" cabin on this site as a second home, and this was his view.