You all know I can't get enough of this fall season. When you need a quick day trip to enjoy this crisp fall weather, you'll be pleased to know there's an awesome multi-use park with a hiking trail in Owatonna. It's called Kaplan's Woods Parkway and it's one of 10 fall hikes featured in Explore Minnesota's Hike MN campaign.

Kaplan's Woods Parkway fall leaves

Need a day trip idea to get a dose of nature? I love day trips, especially when there are amazing fall colors all across Minnesota and a limited amount of days to enjoy them.  Just an hour south of the Twin Cities in Owatonna, you’ll find a wooded multi-use park with a scenic hiking trail that won’t disappoint. Scroll through below as I take you into Kaplan’s Woods Parkway , one of 10 fantastic fall hiking trails featured in Explore Minnesota’s Hike MN campaign!

Kaplan’s Woods Parkway is home to more than 6 miles of hiking and cross-country trails, nearly 2 miles of accessible trails and 8 miles of intermediate to expert level mountain bike trails. The park itself is 225 acres and much of it used to be “Kaplan’s Woods State Park” before the City of Owatonna acquired it. Fun fact!

This fall, we’ve been on go-mode non-stop. It seems like there’s always one big event after another. That’s probably why I really enjoy hiking. It’s taking intentional time out of your day or weekend to slow down, give your body exercise, pay attention to autumn’s beauty and maybe even explore a new city!

The hike at Kaplan’s Woods Parkway is easy to intermediate. I was in need of some exercise so I appreciated the hills paired with all of the scenic views along the Straight River and Kaplan’s Woods. The fall colors are definitely at peak this mid-October. Golden maples and copper-toned oak leaves cover much of the paths. There are still plenty of leaves holding onto the trees, not ready to let go just yet!

I found out the mountain bike trail system is fairly new. You can rent a bike at Straight River Sports & Fitness, maybe even a fat tire, and test out the trail.

We even ventured over to Lake Kholmire where we saw some folks fishing. There’s a really cute bridge that crosses over to an island on the lake where you can picnic, grill, fish and watch the ducks go by. There’s even a beach for those hot summer days and a fishing pier if you’re looking to catch some bluegill, bass, walleye or northern pike.

Map of Kaplan's Woods Parkway in OwatonnaBridge at Kaplan's Woods Parkway in OwatonnaHiking with dog at Kaplan's Woods ParkwayGirl of 10,000 Lakes at Kaplan's Woods ParkwayFall colors at Kaplan's Woods ParkwayOwatanna23Owatanna20Mountain Bike Trail at Kaplan's Woods Parkway
Owatanna32Lake KohlmeierLake KohlmeierLake Kohlmeier

Of course, after our hike we had to stop for some local eatin’. Nick and I decided to go to Mizuki Fusion Japanese & Thai Restaurant in downtown Owatonna. It had really great reviews and I’d have to agree! We got the Seaweed Salad, Chicken Tom Yun Soup, Chicken Yaki Udon and Chicken Teriyaki. We’re obviously big chicken fans – ha! Everything was fantastic. Who knew you could get delicious asian food in Owatonna!

Mizuki Fusion Japanese and Thai Restaurant in OwatonnaDowntown OwatonnaMizuki Fusion Japanese and Thai Restaurant in Owatonnaseaweed salad at Mizuki Fusion Japanese and Thai Restaurant in OwatonnaChicken Tom Yum Soup in OwatonnaAsian food in Owatonnahibachi chicken in Owatonnahibachi chicken in OwatonnaOwatanna48Owatanna29

If you have some extra time, Owatonna has much more to offer:

Kristi’s Clothing Boutique
Uncle Tom’s Antique Mall
KDs Rustique Consignment
Medford Outlet Center

Eating & Drinking:
Central Park Coffee
Costas’ Candies and Restaurant
Perfect Day Cakes
Torey’s Restaurant & Bar
Old Town Bagels
Kernel Restaurant
A Taste of the Big Apple
Pupuseria La Paz

Things to do:
Visit more parks
Kayak the Straight River, a State Water Trail
Historic Walking Tour
Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum
Owatonna’s downtown murals

There’s still time to enter the Hike MN Sweepstakes sponsored by Explore Minnesota. It runs from September 5 – October 21, 2018 with a chance to win Minnesota getaways and gift cards for Mall of America and Minnesota State Parks.

A huge thanks to @exploreminnesota for inviting me to explore Minnesota’s hiking trails this fall! I can’t get enough of this season! I seriously hope it lasts a bit longer before winter hits us. 🙂



  1. If you are looking for a great Minnesota trail to experience during the holidays, come to Sleepy Eye some evening between Thanksgiving and New Years. We have a beautiful 3.5 mile trail around Sleepy Eye Lake that connects Allison Park and Sportsmen’s Park. At Sportsmen’s Park we have a large display of lights called Holiday Lights In Motion which reflects off of the Lake so brilliantly that it looks like a fantasy. We also have horse drawn trolley rides through the display and down the trails offered by a coach driver who seranades you to live holiday songs and music. It is an amazing experience.

  2. If you are looking for a place to stay while checking out all there is to do in Owatonna … the Baymont by Wyndham Owatonna is a great place to end your day! … Clean, quiet, comfortable rooms with complimentary hot home-style breakfast and free WiFi. It also has a large pool area with hot tub and a Cybex fitness center! … You can’t do Owatonna in one day! 🙂

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