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Discover the Natural Wonders of Hastings, Minnesota: Trails, Waterfalls, and Scenic Hikes

Updated: Jun 26

At last, summer has arrived, and many of us are excited to get out and explore the great outdoors. For residents of Hastings, MN, and visitors alike, this area offers a wellspring of natural beauty and breathtaking spaces that welcome you to enjoy during sunny months. From scenic trails and awe-inspiring waterfalls to invigorating hikes, Hastings is a haven for outdoor adventurers. Rivertown Eye Care is excited to share some of the best spots to explore - while also reminding you to protect your eyes from the summer sun!


Vermillion Falls Park

Start your adventure at Vermillion Falls Park, a local gem that boasts a stunning waterfall and beautiful walking trails. This park offers:

  • Vermillion Falls: A picturesque 35-foot waterfall that cascades over limestone, creating a perfect backdrop for photos and relaxation.

  • Walking Trails: Well-maintained paths wind through lush greenery, offering serene views of the river and falls, with dappled sunlight overhead.


Whether you’re planning a leisurely stroll, a delightful summer run, or a more vigorous hike, Vermillion Falls Park provides a peaceful escape into nature.


Hastings Riverwalk

For a scenic and leisurely walk, head to the Hastings Riverwalk. This trail offers:

  • Mississippi River Views: Enjoy panoramic views of the majestic Mississippi River as you walk along the paved trail.

  • Historic Downtown Hastings: The Riverwalk connects to the historic downtown area, where you can explore charming shops and eateries.

  • Picnic Areas: Perfect spots to take a break, enjoy a meal, and soak in the scenery.

  • Levee Park: from May through September the pavilion fills up with live music, classes and outdoor movies!


The Riverwalk is an excellent choice for families and those looking to enjoy a relaxing day outdoors.


Afton State Park

A short drive from Hastings, Afton State Park is a must-visit for hiking enthusiasts. The park features:

  • Diverse Trails: Over 20 miles of hiking trails that range from easy to challenging, winding through forests, prairies, and along the St. Croix River.

  • Stunning Views: Breathtaking vistas of the river valley and surrounding landscapes.

  • Wildlife Watching: Keep an eye out for deer, foxes, and a variety of bird species.


Afton State Park offers a more immersive nature experience, perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life.


Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center

Another fantastic spot for nature lovers is the Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center. Highlights include:

  • Educational Trails: Well-marked trails with educational signage about the local flora and fauna.

  • Bird Watching: A paradise for bird enthusiasts, with numerous species to observe throughout the year.

  • Scenic Overlooks: Enjoy beautiful views of the St. Croix River from various vantage points.

This nature center is great for families and anyone interested in learning more about the natural world.


Spring Lake Park Reserve

For a mix of recreation and relaxation, visit Spring Lake Park Reserve. The park offers:

  • Hiking Trails: Several miles of trails that traverse woodlands, prairies, and along blufftops with spectacular views of the Mississippi River.

  • Water Activities: Opportunities for kayaking and fishing in Spring Lake.

  • Picnic Areas and Playgrounds: Ideal for a family outing with plenty of amenities to enjoy.

Spring Lake Park Reserve provides a diverse outdoor experience, catering to all ages and interests.


Protecting Your Eyes While Enjoying the Outdoors

As you explore the natural wonders of Hastings, MN, it’s essential to protect your eyes from the summer sun. Here are some tips from Rivertown Eye Care:

  • Wear Sunglasses: Choose sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection to shield your eyes from harmful rays. Rivertown Eye Care carries a wide selection of fashion-forward and classically cool sunglasses, like these Salt frames below.

  • Use a Wide-Brimmed Hat: A hat can provide additional shade and reduce glare.

  • Stay Hydrated: Keeping hydrated helps maintain healthy eye moisture.

  • Take Breaks: If you’re spending a lot of time outdoors, take regular breaks in the shade to rest your eyes.




Hastings, MN, is a treasure trove of natural beauty, offering numerous trails, waterfalls, and scenic hikes for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy. Whether you’re exploring Vermillion Falls Park, walking along the Hastings Riverwalk, or venturing into Afton State Park, there’s something for everyone. Remember to protect your eyes while you’re out enjoying the summer sun. At Rivertown Eye Care, we’re here to help you maintain optimal eye health, ensuring you can fully appreciate the beauty of the great outdoors, without risking any damage to your retinas. Visit Rivertown Eye Care for expert advice and care - we would love to help you pick out a new pair of sunnies to keep it cool on hot summer days!




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