Afton State Park

Snapshot virtual tour

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.

Photo of Afton State Park lower picnic area.


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.

Photo of people playing at the Afton State Park swimming beach.


Swimming Beach

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.

Photo of a family resting at the end of the boat dock and fishing pier at Afton State Park.


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.

Photo of people wading along the edge of the sand bar at Afton State Park.


Sand Bar

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.

Photo of the a former trout stream at Afton State Park.


Trout Brook

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.

Photo of one of the three bridges remaining from an old railroad line.



This is one of three bridges remaining from the old railroad line that once ran along the river to Stillwater.

Another photo of the old railroad bridge at Afton State Park.


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.

Photo of a family enjoying a walk along the trail that runs from the parking area to the lower picnic area.



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.

Photo of bright green ferns growing below birch trees at Afton State Park.



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.

Photo of a child leaning across the railing at the spectacular overlook 300 yards from the main parking lot.



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.

Photo of the Afton State Park Visitor Center.


Visitor Center

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.

Interior photo of the Afton State Park Visitor Center.


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.

Photo of Afton State Park's half-mile self-guided prairie restoration trail, flanked by native Big Bluestem grasses.


Prairie Restoration

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.

Photo of the scenery as you first drive into Afton State Park.


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.

Photo of tents set up at Afton State Park's Group Camp #2.


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.

Photo of a camper at Afton State Park getting water from a solar pump near the backpack campground.


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.

Photo of the main trail through Afton State Park's backpack sites, surrounded by native prairie restoration.


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.

Photo of a picnic table and fire ring at one of Afton State Park's hike-in campsites.


Hike-in Campsites

This campsite is one of the more open sites, offering a spectacular view of the St. Croix River valley.

Another photo of a picnic table and fire ring at one of Afton State Park's hike-in campsites.


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.

Photo of a hiker enjoying the riverside railroad trail at Afton State Park.


River Trail

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.

Photo of the view from Afton State Park's 'honeymoon cabin' site.


NE Overlook

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.

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