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The Best of Banning State Park

  4.8 ( 5 ) Favorite


4.8 mile 7.7 kilometer loop
99% Runnable


Ascent: 222' 68 m
Descent: -220' -67 m
High: 1,106' 337 m
Low: 980' 299 m


Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 10% (6°)


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Trail shared by Kevin Killingbeck


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Minor Issues 91 days ago See History

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See the remnants of the old Banning Quarry, run Hell's Gate Trail, and see Wolf Creek Falls.

Kevin Killingbeck

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Waterfall · Wildlife

Hell's Gate Trail is not recommended for small children.


This run will bring you through the old Banning Sandstone Quarry, the rough Hell's Gate Trail, then a trail leading to Wolf Creek Falls, and back to the parking area.


Starting at the parking area of Banning State Park, begin your journey by heading southwest to the Quarry Loop Trail. You'll want to take the southern side of the loop, this will lead you to the lower parts of the Quarry. Continuing on, you'll reach Hell's Gate Trail; this terrain is rough and not recommended for small children. You'll pass by, through, and over rock formations formed by the river, which is an exciting variation on your everyday run. Some areas will require some climbing; make sure you'll be able to get back up before going down some of the rock ledges. The trail ends at Hell's Gate Rapids.

After you reach the end, head back to the start of Hell's Gate Trail and take a left at the fork to continue. Take a left onto Deadman Trail, this will lead you uphill. When you reach High Bluff Trail, turn left, this will lead you to Wolf Creek Trail. Taking another left will lead you to Wolf Creek Falls.

Closer to Wolf Creek Falls, the trail becomes more difficult to follow due to its smooth rock surface. Continue working your way south until you reach the edge of this area; from here, you should be able to see the trail continue on. At this point, you'll have to find a way down to where the trail continues, some scrambling could be involved. Not far from here is a map sign, and the top of Wolf Creek Falls is to the right. From the top of the falls, you should be able to see a way to get to the side of the pool for a better view.

Once you've enjoyed your time at the falls, retrace your steps back to High Bluff Trail, but this time, continue on Wolf Creek Trail, pass the campground and take a right on Spur Trail. This will lead you to the upper part of Quarry Loop Trail, continuing on will lead you back to the parking area.

History & Background

Banning State Park is the location of the Banning Sandstone Quarry which was active in the late 1800s.

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Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 5 votes


  4.8 from 5 votes
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in Minnesota


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This is an example of the terrain on Hell's Gate Trail. To pass through, you'll travel through this slot, then climb down on the other side.
Mar 14, 2017 near Sandstone, MN
This is another example of the rough terrain on Hell's Gate Trail – you'll need to climb down this.
Mar 14, 2017 near Sandstone, MN
Hell's Gate stands along the Kettle River.
Mar 14, 2017 near Sandstone, MN
Waterfall at the end of the trail. Banning State Park
Oct 26, 2019 near Sandstone, MN
Wolf Creek Falls slowly cuts through the bedrock in Banning State Park.
Mar 14, 2017 near Sandstone, MN
As a testament to its history, large slabs of rock are piled next to the Quarry Loop Trail.
Mar 14, 2017 near Sandstone, MN


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