Fall is here, folks. The time is now to get outside and embrace the season of color because let’s face it— it’s Minnesota—and we know it won’t be long before we swap our hiking boots for cross-country skis.

If you’re like us, your love of the outdoors has truly taken on a whole new meaning as we look for new things to do and places to go. In a time when social distancing is the new norm, outdoor adventures are even more in demand.

So we asked our friends at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to fill us in on a few of the trails less traveled. Minnesota’s expansive state trail system, which provides an abundance of recreational opportunities all across the state, receives a portion of lottery proceeds through the Natural Resources Fund.

Here are five state trails that might just take you on the perfect path to see fall colors this season:

1. Minnesota Valley State Trail

If you’re looking to explore the scenic Minnesota River Valley, then hop on the Minnesota Valley State Trail. Lottery proceeds are currently being utilized for trail rehabilitation and development of the Bloomington segment.


2. Matthew Lourey State Trail


The Matthew Lourey State Trail connects the Nemadji State Forest and St. Croix State Forest in northeast Minnesota. Keep your eyes and ears open, you might get lucky and see some of Minnesota’s furry friends along the 80-mile trail. Whitetail deer, red fox and even black bears, coyotes and bobcats have been known to make an appearance.


3. Shooting Star State Trail


You’ll find a variety of native wildflowers and grasses along the 30-mile Shooting Star State Trail, which connects the small towns of LeRoy and Austin in southeast Minnesota, where you can see breathtaking views of Minnesota’s prairies.


4. Paul Bunyan State Trail


There’s no better way to see the sites of the north woods than on the Paul Bunyan State Trail, which extends from Brainerd all the way up to Bemidji. With 115 miles of continuously paved trail, Paul Bunyan State Trail is the longest in Minnesota’s state trail system.


5. Casey Jones State Trail

The Casey Jones State Trail consists of three segments between the cities of Pipestone and Woodstock. With a mix of paved and natural surface trails, it’s a great way to discover southwest Minnesota off the beaten path.

Say I’MN to your next outdoor adventure today. Where will your trails lead you?

A big thank you to the Minnesota DNR for the great photos!