Minnesota’s secret hiking trails

Minnesota’s “Land of 10,000 Lakes” moniker evokes lasting memories of fishing, paddling and campfires at the edge of a shore. But being on the water isn’t the only way to enjoy the outdoors.

Thousands of miles of hiking trails crisscross Minnesota, with some seeing more foot traffic than others. From well-maintained, easy-to-access trails to narrow footpaths ­hidden deep in the wilderness, there’s a trail to suit all tastes and skill levels.

On Aug. 21-23, the North Country Trail Association will host the Minnesota Hiking Celebration at Spirit Mountain in Duluth. In addition to seminars on hiking equipment and guided tours on the famous Superior Hiking Trail, the event will promote hiking on the lesser known North Country Trail and other under-the-radar routes.

“Our goal is to raise awareness of the North Country Trail,” says Matthew Davis, regional trail coordinator for the North Country Trail Association in Minnesota and North Dakota. “We want to get more people to think about hiking as a great way to get out and enjoy the outdoors and disconnect from our fast-paced society. Enjoy a healthy activity,” says Davis.

Minnesota will be home to 775 miles of the North Country Trail, but only about 60 percent of the state’s network is complete, with two contiguous sections.

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