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HIKING

While Grand Marais is a year-round destination, these colder months are certainly its more off-season time. This means lodging is less expensive and the town isn’t overflowing with people — all pluses for me, as I was looking for a quiet and relatively inexpensive getaway.
One of four free park days comes the day after Thanksgiving.
The 20th destination on our 20-site tour of Minnesota's state parks brings us to the heart of the Twin Cities, where you will find an oasis of wilderness in the urban heart of the state. Fort Snelling State Park is neither as quiet or secluded as other parks in Minnesota, but for Twin Citians it offers history and hiking where the state's major rivers meet.
"Minnesota's Best Autumn Hikes" details how to get there and what you'll see.

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Destination No. 19 on our 20-site tour of Minnesota's state parks brings us to one of the great waterfalls, and one of the state's greatest mysteries, at Judge C.R. Magney State Park. One of the quieter and more remote places on the North Shore, a hike to see the Devil's Kettle has fascinated visitors for generations, even after the mystery was solved.
The 18th stop on our tour of 20 Minnesota State Parks is to a place where you can explore the land and the water, but the most intriguing visitors arrive by air. Kilen Woods State Park offers hiking in the woods and the prairie, canoeing and kayaking on the Des Moines River, and some of the best birding in Minnesota.
As the highest natural point in the state of North Dakota, White Butte sits at a 3,506-foot incline. Located in Slope County, the journey to hike White Butte is a scenic route that takes you into the heartland of agriculture.
Photos of a pup and her owner getting a good view of the area from the overlook at Miner's Mountain.
You drive through neighborhoods in one of southern Minnesota's regional centers to reach the 11th stop on our 20-site tour of Minnesota's state parks, then you turn a corner, go down a hill and find yourself in a wonderland of woods and prairie at Flandrau State Park, which is a perfect home base for hiking and heritage festivals.
Dudley Edmondson is joining an expedition by people of color to support the Gwich'in tribe.

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We reach the halfway mark on our 20-site tour of Minnesota's state parks with a visit to a geographical anomaly, and a site of centuries-old history, in mostly flat Aitkin County. Savanna Portage State Park is home to remote lakes, an excellent campground, and miles of hilly hiking trails, one of which was in use hundreds of years ago.
You will be excused if you are unfamiliar with destination No. 8 on our 20-site tour of Minnesota's state parks. Carley is a true hidden gem, less popular than its neighbors with a pretty campground that is only open in the summer months. But if you are seeking solitude along with fishing, hiking and stunning spring wildflowers, it is worth the effort to find.
State parks are enjoying a repeat of last year's surge in numbers. Activities, programming and visitors are back and on the upswing at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center as well. The heat wave has made a dip in the water the No. 1 attraction at parks in the region.

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