(44 Reviews)
100% Recommended

Laurie Zeller

Apple Valley, MN
Walt Disney World, Florida ~ A Dreamer's Paradise

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Close to Home~Minnesota State Parks Hiking Club

Fort Ridgley State Park Hiking Club Trail
Fort Ridgley State Park Hiking Club Trail

Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources wants to encourage residents to visit the state parks so they created the Hiking Club. An inexpensive kit is available for purchase at most state park offices or by contacting the DNR. If you want to start hiking right away and cannot get your hands on the kit due to park office closures, don't worry! You can still get started without the kit.

Here’s how it works:

• Grab some friends and your walking shoes!

• Go to a Minnesota State Park. Of the 75 state parks and recreation areas, 68 of them have designated Hiking Club trails.

• At the park office, purchase a Minnesota State Park permit for your vehicle that's good for one year from the month of purchase. The cost of this permit in 2020 is $35.00. Permits can be purchased online as well if park offices are closed.

• Purchase the Hiking Club Kit once. It does not expire. This quest will take you some time! And that’s ok. This is a marathon, not a sprint! If you cannot purchase a kit due to park office closures, bring a pen and a small notebook.

• If possible, ask at the park office which of the park's trails is the Hiking Club Trail and ask where you should begin. There are maps that are usually marked with the designated trail and your kit comes with a trail guide. However, I’ve found that asking questions at the office can be beneficial sometimes. The trailhead is not always easy to find, even with a guidebook. The park staff is usually familiar with the trail and may offer suggestions such as taking the trail in one direction versus the other.

• Hike the designated Hiking Club trail! 2-3 miles is the average trail length but it could be as high as 6.5 miles, depending on the park. Only a handful of the trails are truly challenging. Most are an easy walk.

• At some point along the trail you'll find a blue sign that shows that park's password. I usually snap a photo of the sign with my phone. Write the password in your guidebook/notebook. Also record the length of that trail which is noted in your guidebook and also noted below. A small reward is given of a simple patch as you reach milestones such as 25, 50, 100, etc. miles hiked as well as free nights of camping here and there. Rewards are given at park offices.

Afton State Park ~ 2.5 miles

Banning State Park ~ 2.6 miles

Bear Head Lake State Park ~ 3.0 miles

Beaver Creek Valley State Park ~ 6.2 miles

Big Bog State Recreation Area ~ 2.0 miles

Big Stone Lake State Park ~ 2.2 miles

Blue Mounds State Park ~ 6.2 miles

Buffalo River State Park ~ 2.5 miles

Camden State Park ~ 2.4 miles

Carley State Park ~ 1.8 miles

Cascade River State Park ~ 3.5 miles

Charles A Lindbergh State Park ~ 2.8 miles

Crow Wing State Park ~ 2.3 miles

Father Hennepin State Park ~ 2.0 miles

Flandrau State Park ~ 2.8 miles

Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park ~ 2.0 miles

Fort Ridgely State Park ~ 2.6 miles

Fort Snelling State Park ~ 3.0 miles

Franz Jevne State Park ~ 1.3 miles

Frontenac State Park ~ 2.6 miles

George H Crosby-Manitou State Park ~ 4.2 miles

Glacial Lakes State Park ~ 4.7 miles

Glendalough State Park ~ 3.3 miles

Gooseberry Falls State Park ~ 2.2 miles

Grand Portage State Park ~ 1.0 mile

Great River Bluffs State Park ~ 2.5 miles

Hayes Lake State Park ~ 2.0 miles

Interstate State Park ~ 3.0 miles

Itasca State Park ~ 3.5 miles

Jay Cooke State Park ~ 3.5 miles

Judge C.R. Magney State Park ~ 2.5 miles

Kilen Woods State Park ~ 2.0 miles

La Salle Lake State Recreation Area ~ 2.9 miles

Lac qui Parle State Park ~ 2.0 miles

Lake Bemidji State Park ~ 2.0 miles

Lake Bronson State Park ~ 3.4 miles

Lake Carlos State Park ~ 2.9 miles

Lake Louise State Park ~ 1.3 miles

Lake Maria State Park ~ 2.0 miles

Lake Shetek State Park ~ 1.0 mile

Lake Vermilion & Soudan Underground Mine State Park ~ 2.5 miles

Maplewood State Park ~ 6.2 miles

McCarthy Beach State Park ~ 3.0 miles

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park ~ 3.2 miles

Minneopa State Park ~ 2.7 miles

Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area ~ 4.0 miles

Monson Lake State Park ~ 1.0 mile

Moose Lake State Park ~ 2.0 miles

Myre-Big Island State Park ~ 6.2 miles

Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park ~ 2.2 miles

Old Mill State Park ~ 1.4 miles

Red River State Recreation Area ~ 2.2 miles

Rice Lake State Park ~ 2.4 miles

St Croix State Park ~ 4.0 miles

Sakatah Lake State Park ~ 2.2 miles

Savannah Portage State Park ~ 5.3 miles

Scenic State Park ~ 2.9 miles

Schoolcraft State Park ~ 1.8 miles

Sibley State Park ~ 4.0 miles

Split Rock Creek State Park ~ 2.6 miles

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park ~ 5.8 miles

Temperance River State Park ~ 1.9 miles

Tettegouche State Park ~ 2.0 miles

Upper Sioux Agency State Park ~ 4.3 miles

Whitewater State Park ~ 2.2 miles

Wild River State Park ~ 3.3 miles

William O'Brien State Park ~ 6.0 miles

If you don’t live in Minnesota, I highly recommend exploring the state parks of your home state. Check to see if maybe they offer a similar program. Maybe they don’t offer something through your state, but you can find other hiking opportunities through social media groups.

My Travel Albums

Minnesota State Parks Hiking Club
Blue Mounds State Park

My Travel Stories

Hiking Club Thoughts

In the autumn of 2018, I completed both the Minnesota State Park the Hiking Club program. And I enjoyed every single step of the nearly 200-mile hiking journey. I documented my experiences via social media along the way which led to a lot of questions about the Hiking Club from friends asking how...Read more.

My Reviews

95 of 157 people found this review helpful
Attention to detail
Laurie has had attention to every detail of our traveling, things that I never would have thought of Laurie has covered!! She has helped us before, during and after our vacations. We have had experiences we have contacted her for while traveling such as illness that she was able to make phone calls on the home front taking the worry out of details for us. After working with her over the past few years, she knows what things we like to do and puts together travel plans for us that we would not think of!
Thanks Laurie for your professional and fun planning!
Pam and Steve Oslos
Brainerd MN
By  Pam and Steve Oslos  from  Brainerd MN
Traveled to  Alaska ~ USA
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends

Laurie Zeller responded:
Thank you, Pam & Steve! Working with you has always been a privilege. Your kind words mean so much and I'm very grateful!

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35 of 55 people found this review helpful
Another Great Memory!
This was our 4th Disney trip and working with Laurie has been great for every trip! Very knowledgeable about the Disney experience. Full of ideas and new experiences we could try each trip.
By  The Sisters  from  Rosemount, MN
Traveled to  Orlando ~ Florida ~ USA
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends

Laurie Zeller responded:
It's always such a pleasure to work with you ladies! Looking forward to the next one and I have lots of new ideas for you!

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45 of 78 people found this review helpful
DisneyWorld Florida
Excellent knowledge of Disney. Very helpful and answered all questions promptly.

We went to Disneyworld Florida. Destination below did not let me choose that.
By  Buetow  from  Apple Valley
Traveled to  Disneyland ~ California ~ USA
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends

Laurie Zeller responded:
Thank you! So glad you had such a wonderful vacation!

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78 of 146 people found this review helpful
Best trip of our lives!!!
Laurie is amazing! Not only has she planned 2 of the most organized & hassle free Vacations for my family she has planned the best vacations we have ever taken! As a family of 5 there is many headaches that go into traveling, Laurie has made our trips headache free by helping us get the most out of our family time. I literally do not have enough positive words to describe how great Laurie is! She is the BEST & the BEST at what she does!
By  Kelly Kriesel  from  Farmington, MN
Traveled to  Florida ~ USA
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends

Laurie Zeller responded:
You've brought tears to my eyes. I am so very honored by your sweet words, Kelly! It's always a pleasure to work with you and plan new adventures for you and your family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

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21 of 36 people found this review helpful
Family trip
Laurie 's knowledge was so important to us. She helped us plan the best trip possible. Having an agent made our trip planning less stressful.
By  Julie  from  Prior Lake
Traveled to  Orlando ~ Florida ~ USA
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends

Laurie Zeller responded:
Thank you for your kind words! So happy to hear that you had such a wonderful vacation and that the plans we made together were so helpful for your family!

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Destination Expert:

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Travel Specialist:

  • Adventure
  • Nature


  • Travel Leaders Certified Leisure Travel Specialist
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