Afton Alps is located along the St Croix River Valley and is surrounded by Afton State Park in  Afton, Minnesota. This uniqe location is a second home during the winter to many ski enthusiasts as well as snowboarding lovers. It is spread out along a wedge-shaped ridge overlooking the river valley, it’s massive for a Midwest ski area. Almost 300 acres are skiable at Afton Alps. The resort has 300 feet of vertical drop. The Alps often utilize artificial snow for maintaining the slopes. A total of 50 trails and 18 chairlifts throughout the ski area, 2 conveyor lifts, and 2 rope tows in the Landing Zone Terrain Park. There are a total of 6 chalets, including the Meadows Chalet, the Highlands Chalet, the Alpine Chalet, Landing Zone (also has a Yurt) and the Alps Chalet (Main Chalet).

Afton Alps has a great variety of difficulty for the area. The Ski lodges are great places to warm up, store gear, and refuel during the day adventure. Food is good, but most options are fried/grilled. Outside fires will keep you warm while you are utdoors

Afton State park hiking trails have great views of the river, rolling glacial moraine, and bluffland it preserves. It is a popular place for picnics, camping, and skiing as well as other outdoor activities. To deter overuse of a state park only 20 miles (32 km) from downtown St. Paul, there is no vehicle access to the camping area or swimming beach.

Afton Alps, Skiing

Afton Alps State Park surrounds the unaffiliated Afton Alps ski area on three sides. The name “Afton” was given to this area by its settlers as a reference to the Robert Burns poem “Afton Water,” which is about the River Afton in Scotland.

Afton State Park’s campground has 28 backpacking sites. The various sites are a .75-to-1.25-mile  hike up a large hill. Firewood and water are provided in the campground. There is also a canoe site off of the St. Croix River open only to paddlers. The park also offers two drive-in group campsites which can each accommodate up to 40 people. In the fall of 2009, Afton opened four new camper cabins that include electricity.

There are more than 20 miles of hiking trails in the park. Some of the trails cover the tops of the bluffs, the bluffs themselves, and the floodplain of the St. Croix River. Other trails criss-cross the prairie areas of the park. A 4 mile  paved trail open to bicycles extends from the park entrance to the visitor center. Also, 5 miles of hiking trail are open to horseback riding. In winter 18 miles of trail are groomed for cross-country skiing. Many of them are quite challenging as they climb and descend steep hills. 6 miles are maintained for winter hiking and 4 miles  for snowshoeing. Snowshoers can also trek anywhere in the park, provided they stay off the groomed ski trails.

The park has two picnic areas and four reservable picnic shelters, one of which is in the visitor center and is heated in winter. There is a swimming beach on the river, and the park provides equipment for volleyball and horseshoes.

Afton Facts:

  • Location: Denmark Township, Washington County
  • Nearest city: Afton, Minnesota
  • Vertical: 350 ft (107 m)
  • Top elevation: 700 feet (210 m)
  • Base elevation 350 feet (110 m)
  • Skiable area: 300 acres (120 ha)
  • Runs: 50 total
  • Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg – 24% beginner
  • Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg – 56% intermediate
  • Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg – 20% advanced
  • Lift system: 18 chairlifts
  • 4 surface lifts
  • Lift capacity: 20,000 people/hr
  • Snowmaking
  • Night skiing

During the summer Afton Alps runs an eighteen-hole golf course and wedding receptions / hall rental. So why not go back just to play golf during the offseason/warm season? For more info go to: afton alps