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The beach at Afton State Park

Here’s the beach at the park. It’s a river, but it’s very calm and a great place to wade or swim! Photo by McGhiever, Creative Commons license BY-SA 3.0,


A favorite! It’s a short enough ride to do in a half a day, and being along the river in a hilly area gives a feeling of remoteness.

Bike Ride

Much of the bike ride is on one road, Military Road which becomes 70th Street. The road has light traffic and a wide shoulder. When you get close to the park, there are rolling hills. Overall I find it easy to navigate and it’s a fast ride, though I’m tolerant of hills.


Be aware that it’s a steep hike up to the campground, and walking your bike up (biking is not allowed, and I don’t think I could do it if it were) is challenging. There is a back way to get in that is longer but not as steep. The campsites are fairly secluded.

Why I would go again

  • The ride is short and it doesn’t have much traffic!
  • I like swimming in the St. Croix!
  • Free wood! In the upper campground, there is plenty of free wood. You have to cut it yourself with the provided saw.
  • There are trails through the oak savannah, hardwood forest, and prairies, with rolling hills, and the trails are quite nice.
  • There are blackberries on the hiking trails

Why I would not go again

  • If I were riding with friends that prefer trails, there aren’t a lot of bike trails to get there
  • It’s a steep climb up to the campsite (though some day I’ll have to try the long way around, which is not so steep but requires a lot more walking)


I generally like to bike a moderate pace (for me that’s 11-13 miles / hour under average conditions) and take breaks as I please. I want to enjoy the ride, stop and talk to people, observe plants, and soak it in. If I wanted to go fast, a car would work better! But I have ridden to Afton State Park several times, and one time (one of my first ever tours) I rode there in 2.5 hours. My friend Bryan and I mostly knew where we were going and took no breaks. It amazed me that I could ride so far. And, if you did the math, we still weren’t going that fast.