Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
70.00 ft (21.34 m)
Trail type
2.90 mi (4.67 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Hiking Club Trail (see the end of this article for information about the Hiking Club) at Lake Carlos State Park is a 2.9-mile-long loop that goes past wetlands and through a deciduous forest. The trail is wide with some gently rolling hills. Parking for this hike can be found at the swimming beach parking area. There is a fee to enter the park; a day use or annual permit can be purchased at the park office.

The Hiking Club Trail is composed of all or part of three other park trails. Look at the blue Hiking Club signs as well as the lettered signs at trail intersections while taking this hike. Start this hike by heading to the southwest end of the swimming beach parking lot and following the gravel road for a short distance. Look for the Maple Basswood Trail to the right. This portion of the trail passes by wetland for about a tenth of a mile. At intersection C head straight onto the Red Oak Trail. The Red Oak Trail runs through a deciduous forest. After about a half mile the Red Oak Trail makes a 0.6-mile loop at intersection H. This loop can be taken in either direction. After completing the loop stay to the right to begin hiking the Hidden Lake Trail. The Hidden Lake Trail is a 1.4-mile-long trail that leads back to the beach area.  The Hidden Lake Trail is mostly wooded, but does pass by a section of wetlands. The last part of the Hidden Lake Trail runs near Lake Carlos.

The Minnesota State Park’s Hiking Club program encourages hikers to hike a designated Hiking Club Trail at most state parks. A Hiking Club password is found on all of these hikes. You can earn patches, free camping, and even a plaque (if you hike all of the Hiking Club trails) for participating in the club. A Hiking Club kit can be purchased at most state parks for $14.95 (as of 2022). More information about the program can be found here.

A map of the park and its hiking trails can be found here

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

State Park Day-Use Fee

Open Year-round



Wide trail through forest and by wetlands.


Mosquitos can be bothersome.

Trailhead Elevation

1,359.00 ft (414.22 m)

Highest point

1,417.00 ft (431.90 m)


Near lake or river
Family friendly
Flushing toilets

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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