A third of Minnesota’s state parks offer backpacking campsites, generally just a short jaunt from car to campsite. They’re perfect if you’re trying to figure out if backpacking is for you, or if you just like a little more solitude than car camping affords. Two state parks near the Twin Cities — Lake Maria in Monticello and Afton — have only backpack sites. If you don’t have a pack for your gear, 10 state parks have what are called cart-in campsites — just load your stuff in a provided two-wheeled wagon and off you go. For an interactive map that shows where backpack or cart-in sites are available, go online to bit.ly/MNback.

Jeff Moravec