Afton State Park, Minnesota

Camping at Afton State Park

Our second camping trip of the summer was a bit closer to home, and this time we got to go with a couple of friends. Afton State Park is about a 30-minute drive from our apartment in St. Paul, but it truly feels like a world away. Located along the St. Croix River, Afton State Park offers trails through the woods, prairies and ravines for hiking, horseback riding and snowmobiling in addition to areas for camping and swimming.

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Due to the area’s proximity to the city, the surrounding community wasn’t happy when the State Park was in development—they were worried about the influx of people to the area. So, to limit the amount of visitors, the park created 28 campsites and they are all backpacking sites, which means that they are not accessible by car and the only way to reach them is to hike to the site. They also have a canoe-in site, a few recently added camper sites, and two group camping sites.

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

The hike-in campsites are located .75 miles to 1.25 miles from the parking lot, and the hike is straight up hill. It’s a pretty strenuous hike, so it is a good idea to pack light! We brought a bit more than we needed to and ended up forgetting a few essentials, but thankfully, our friends Ryan and Kristen had all the right supplies and saved us. We did decide to do a bit of cooking again, so we ended up lugging a cooler all the way to our site, as well. Micah, Ryan and Kristen all went to the same college for photography, and Kristen snapped some great shots of our weekend on Micah’s camera—only problem is that I don’t know who took what photo, so some of the photos here are thanks to Kristen!

Afton State Park, Minnesota

After the short but exhausting hike to our campsite, we got all set up and then ventured to get our water and firewood. Luckily, there is an area for cutting wood and a water station so you don’t have to haul either of those items in.

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Some of the campsites are out on the prairie and others are more secluded back in the trees. We booked a site that was more secluded, and it was so nice to feel like we were miles away from everyone else.

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Dinner consisted of potatoes and sausage packets again, but this time we had seasoning, which was a welcome treat since we forgot it last time around!

Afton State Park, Minnesota

We decided to eat well this trip, so the next morning for breakfast, we (and by we I mean Kristen) made delicious eggs, bacon and coffee.

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

After cleaning up our breakfast mess, we decided it was time for some hiking and a trip to a nearby lake for canoeing and perhaps a quick jaunt into town for some ice cream. There are miles of hiking trails, and the scenery is really pretty—we made our way through the prairies, then the woods and eventually found our way to the river. We weren’t able to find the path we were initially looking for, but it was still a nice stroll on a gorgeous day.

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Once we made our way back to the car, we decided it was finally time to do some canoeing—the boys were going to go fishing to try and catch us dinner, but the entire event turned into a comedy of errors. First, Micah needed a fishing license, and after trying 3 gas stations with machines that were out of order, we ended up making a stop at Walmart—talk about getting out into the wilderness! The funny thing is, that when we finally found someone to help us, it turns out the DNR still shows that Micah is a resident of Florida, which means his “out-of-state” license would now cost more than we wanted to pay and we couldn’t call to get it sorted out until Monday. That meant Ryan would be solely responsible for some fish catching once we made it to the lake. The first lake we stopped at was small and murky with no real boat launch, and the next spot we tried ended up having about a 100 ft. drop to the water. Eventually, we threw up our flags in surrender and decided to go get ice cream instead–not a bad consolation prize, I suppose.

When we got back to the campsite it was time for our alternative plan for dinner. This time we made pizzadillas—aka pizza quesadillas, and they were delicious!

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

The sunset and the stars were absolutely beautiful that night, and we sat in the field stargazing for quite awhile.

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Afton State Park, Minnesota

Thankfully, we had dodged the rain for the weekend so far and were considering sleeping with the rain fly off our tent, but an eventual forecast of possible showers convinced us to leave it on for the night. And, boy am I glad we did. Micah and I just about had a heart attack because there was something rustling around our campsite during the night. It was probably just a raccoon, but it sounded like a person or large animal and we were so glad we had that extra layer of protection between us and whatever was lurking outside. Eventually it went away and we finally got some shuteye.

Afton State Park, Minnesota

To round out our weekend, we woke up to oatmeal and coffee and packed up to head back to the city for some shopping. Don’t judge–Patagonia was having a sale, and we just couldn’t resist!

 

10 Comments
  • Lauren Bassart
    Twitter:
    Posted at 14:57h, 26 August Reply

    I now need campfire pizza in my life 🙂 Wonder if anyone else noticed you bringing Walmart and Target together in this post 🙂
    Lauren Bassart recently posted…The Splendid Splendor Farms of Bush, LAMy Profile

  • Megan Kennedy
    Twitter:
    Posted at 02:14h, 27 August Reply

    This place is only a 30 minute drive from you, lucky!

    I’m adding the campfire pizza to my list! We did regular pizza but love your version of it. Do you not have to worry about fire bans?
    Megan Kennedy recently posted…Canoeing Alouette Lake in Golden EarsMy Profile

  • Andrea Rees
    Twitter:
    Posted at 14:17h, 28 August Reply

    Great photos. This almost makes me want to give camping another chance, almost 😀
    Andrea Rees recently posted…The Last 30 Puppeteers of Yangon, MyanmarMy Profile

  • Lisa Schofield
    Posted at 18:23h, 05 February Reply

    Great trip you had. Never been to Afton State Park before. I like to camping and hiking with my families in the summer but it is so much work which occupies me. Will arrange sometime to do it this year.
    Thank you for your inspiring photos and please keep it up.
    Lisa Schofield recently posted…Best Camping Pillow Reviews 2017 – Top 5 PicksMy Profile

  • Kate Wells
    Posted at 21:50h, 08 May Reply

    Do you remember what campsite you stayed in? Did you notice if any more kid friendly than others? Trying to surprise my husband with a camping trip but not sure if our 3 littles are up to the hike in…

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 01:55h, 13 May Reply

      Sorry, unfortunately I’m not sure which campsite we were in–I think it might have been 19 or 20. We were pretty worn out by the hike but it’s because we were carrying so much stuff! You might be fine with the little ones–it wasn’t a super long hike in, but all of the campsites do require an uphill hike. We did see several young kids camping that weekend though, so it could be doable! Another option is the yurts at Afton–they are much easier to reach and a fun place to stay, as well. Hope you have fun whatever you decide!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…A Photo Essay: Chicago, Illinois My Profile

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