Minnesotans who love the outdoors are lucky in that no matter where they live they aren’t far from a wonderful hiking trail, a scenic river or that perfect campsite. Two new guidebooks will help show you the way to scenic sites, some of which may be near your own backyard.
Photojournalist Tom Watson grew up enjoying Minnesota’s outdoors. With many articles and photos in national publications to his credit, Watson has found many scenic sites. He shares his secrets in Best Tent Camping: Minnesota 2nd Edition, published this month by Menasha Ridge Press. Instead of composing a simple list, Watson provides descriptive profiles of 50 of the best tent campgrounds located throughout the state. The guide points campers to the serene and secluded, away from the crowds and convoys of RVs. Entries include information about facilities, directions, websites, and even GPS coordinates, along with a list of nearby activities such as canoeing, fishing, mountain biking, and more.
For those outdoor aficionados looking for some adventure in and around the Twin Cities, Watson’s updated 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Minneapolis and St. Paul offers some tips for the nature-bound trek that’s close to home. As the title suggests, each of the recommended routes offer varying degrees of difficulty and terrain for hikers at all levels, each within a close radius of the Twin Cities: old native homesteads, native forests, wetlands prairies, and wildlife preserves. In this third edition, Watson updates the maps and trail photos, along with new trailhead coordinates. Some trails take trekkers through walkways of grass through stands of Minnesota hardwoods, while others lead to networks of trails through expansive parklands.