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The Afton to Lakeland Trail links its namesake towns on the Minnesota side of the St. Croix River. The trail runs between Quinlan Avenue North/Eighth Street at Crocker Park in Lakeland and Pike Avenue South near Afton City Hall (the southern trailhead). The flat trail passes through Lakeland Shores, Lake St. Croix, Lake St. Croix Beach, and Saint Marys Point.
Although this trail travels through the lower portion of the beautiful St. Croix River Valley, it runs parallel to the highway (St. Croix Trail South/County Road 18) for its entire length, with the closest view of the river 0.25 mile to the east.
The northern trailhead is linked to the Hudson to Lakeland/Afton Trail that crosses over the St. Croix River via the I-94 pedestrian bridge/bikeway and travels immediately north into the town of Hudson, Wisconsin. Though the trail in Lakeland begins its run through five semi-urban river communities along a relatively busy highway, the landscape becomes more woodsy and inviting along its southern segment toward Afton. The section that crosses Valley Branch Creek is on a railroad grade through a floodplain and includes tree-covered hills.
Beyond the southern trailhead at Afton City Hall, trail users can continue south into the old village section of Afton via city streets and a pathway between 32nd and 34th Streets. Restrooms and supplies need to be sought out in the communities along the route, although there is a portable toilet at the city park in the old village section of Afton.
To reach the southern trailhead from I-94, take Exit 258. Head 5 miles south on St. Croix Trail/County Road 18. Turn left onto Pike Ave. S. Limited parking is available at Afton City Hall.
To reach the northern trailhead, from I-94, take Exit 258. Head south on St. Croix Trail/CR 18, and immediately turn left onto Hudson Road N./Eighth St. N., and access the trail at the intersection with Quinlan Ave. N. in Lakeland.
You can also access the trail at its midpoint on Fourth St. and park at Afton-Lakeland Elementary School on weekends, or park farther south of the school off Seventh St. To reach this trail access, from I-94, take Exit 258. Head 1.3 miles south on St. Croix Trail/CR 18, and turn left just past Fourth St. into the school parking lot. To reach Seventh St., head 1.5 miles south on St. Croix Trail from the interstate.
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