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Afton Trail Run 25K - 50K

Extremely Difficult


16.1 mile 26.0 kilometer loop
93% Runnable
Extremely Difficult


Ascent: 1,883' 574 m
Descent: -1,886' -575 m
High: 989' 301 m
Low: 693' 211 m


Avg Grade: 4% (3°)
Max Grade: 30% (17°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Trail Run Project Staff

One of the most challenging and beautiful trail races anywhere.

Trail Run Project Staff

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

The park officially opens at 8 AM for non-campers, but opens earlier on race day since the race starts at 6:30 AM.


This is the route for the Afton Trail Run Trail Race, which has been run on the first Saturday in July since 1994. There are 25k and 50k options, with the 50k being a second pass around the loop.

Need to Know

Vehicles require a permit which is $5 per day or $25 for the year.

It's recommended to bring a water bottle or hydration pack. The race includes aid stations along the trail.

Runner Notes

Be on the lookout for pocket gopher mounds, as the ground around them may have some hidden holes and soft spots. Also, watch out for horse droppings on some of the trails.

Some of the steep sections have non-uniform stairs built into them, which can sometimes mess up your rhythm. However, two of the steepest climbs on this run are bare. They are showing a bit of erosion, so it seems likely that they will get the stairs at some point in the future as well.


Only a short drive from the Twin Cities metro area, this arduous run takes you up and down ravines cut out by massive flooding from receding glaciers.

Almost all of the intersections have maps posted, making it easy to keep yourself on course with a quick glance as you go by.

History & Background

Race History
The race was established in 1994 and is now one of the oldest, largest, and most competitive trail races in the country garnering national attention and attracting runners from all over the United States and beyond.

Park History
Early settlers thought the area bore a strong resemblance to descriptions of the Scottish River Afton found in Robert Burns poem "Afton Water."

The geologic features of the park were carved out by glacial floods. The outcrops of sandstone bank the sides of deep ravines and offer spectacular views of the St. Croix river from the top of the bluffs.

The park itself was established in 1969 to give opportunities to view the unique natural features. Te prevent overuse, minimal development has been done and the camping sites and beach area are accessible by trail only.

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May 26, 2017
Bill Schmelzer
modified section of 25k. no gusto this morning, fun route though 7.1mi

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Extremely Difficult



Beautiful fall colors and a light fog in the valley
Oct 27, 2015 near Afton, MN
Stop to enjoy the wildflowers, especially if you get tired going up the hill.
Jun 28, 2015 near Afton, MN
Trout Brook before it heads into the St. Croix
Jun 29, 2015 near Afton, MN
Bridge over Trout Brook near where it heads into the St. Croix
Jun 29, 2015 near Afton, MN
Trout Brook and singletrack
Jun 29, 2015 near Afton, MN
Looking down at Trout Brook from the foot bridge
Jun 29, 2015 near Afton, MN

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