Autumn is falling and with that comes one of Minnesota’s greatest gift- the colors. The best way to soak them in is to spend time outdoors, on trails surrounded by woods. Owatonna Minnesota’s Kaplan’s Woods and Parkway are gearing up to make this autumn season’s trail experience the best one yet. Each trail is heavily marked, with maps at each trail head, and some sporadically along. Parking and admittance is free, and restrooms are available at the end of the Parkway at Morehouse Park. Owatonna’s trails provide something for everyone’s agenda.
Mountain biking, fat tire bikes, hiking, trail running- all welcome in Kaplan’s Woods. At the head of the trail, you’ll see the a marked “mountain bike” trail providing an 8 mile intermediate to expert level riding trail. For bikes, hit up Straight River Sports Fitness and they’ll be able to take care of you and provide tips. The 7 mile stretch of the Kaplan’s Woods trails are excellent training ground for any terrain runner, with hills to make things interesting. Hiking may give you the best chance to see the autumn colors, but will also give you a strong workout. To continue any workout, this trail, when turning north, also begins the paved tail of Kaplan’s Woods Parkway.This leads to Morehouse Park, which connects you to Buxton Trail, and you can add the miles from there. Also along Kaplan’s Woods Parkway are marked off-road trails for a little extra adventure
Families of all sizes and ages will enjoy the beauty of Kaplan’s Woods. The start of the trail is primarily for beginners, so even the smallest members of the family can enjoy themselves. After some time in the woods, travel north down the paved trail to Lake Kohlmier. There are docks for fishing and a playground next to the beach. If being near the lake is a bit chilly, keep traveling down the Kaplan’s Woods Parkway to reach Morehouse Park and you’ll find another large playground. From here there is a trail that winds it’s way right next to The Blast- a walk-up shop serving soft serve ice cream. No family member will fight some trail time if they know ice cream is at the end of it
Enjoying the trails doesn’t mean you have to break a sweat. If after you have tried the beginners portion of the Kaplan’s Woods trail and decided that paved trails are more your taste, head north and you are within 100 feet from the beginning of Kaplan’s Woods Parkway. At the trail’s head there is a picnic area on a little island, along the lake portion of the trail are several benches to overlook the water, 2 docks for fishing or water watching, and then the choice of continuing to walk around the lake, or going forward towards the next 1.5 miles of paved walkway among beautiful trees. This portion of the trail also has benches periodically and then ends at Morehouse Park, famous around town for being the best place to feed the ducks. The paved portion is wheelchair accessible, and for all levels and ages.
Whatever the goal, age or size of group, Owatonna Minnesota prides itself on free trails that are accessible and fun for every level. Kaplan’s Woods is featured in the 2018 Top 10 Fall Hikes by Explore Minnesota, and we promise Owatonna will not disappoint.