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