Not only is this Minnesota's first ever state park, it is also the second oldest state park in the entire country behind Niagara Falls. Frequently found on top lists of state parks in Minnesota and the Midwest, this park is a must visit. The old growth forest is a prime example of the north woods and the towering trees are a scenic treat. There are several developed campgrounds and many backpack sites, but this park sees more visitors than some national parks -- reserve in advance!
As the second largest Minnesota State Park by area, there are plenty of trails to explore. Hiking to the Headwaters of the Mississippi River is a quintessential experience as a visitor; the "Mighty" Mississippi is only a trickle here, and you can hop across a few rocks to cross this famous river. You can also climb to the top of the Aiton Heights Fire Tower for panoramic views above the forest canopy. For more serious hikers, 9.4 miles of the North Country National Scenic Trail cut through the park.