Minnesota's Rail-to-Trail Bikeways

Minnesota has more miles of paved rail-to-trail bikeways than any other state.

Enough said.

What’s rail-to-trail? It’s a network of trails created over former rail lines. That means connecting people from community to community, city to landmark, in a safe, healthy way.

biking trailsReally, it’s stunning to know you can bike straight from Hinckley to Duluth along paved paths with such picturesque surroundings. (Notice I said you can, not I. That’s 70 miles!)

After reading this fun fact in Minnesota Monthly, I was inspired to finally take down my bike hanging in the garage, top off those tires, and hit the trail around Centerville Lake, just 30 miles north of the cities. The path is 4.5 miles of very non-threatening terrain, and perfect for a casual ride to welcome spring. Fast or slow, I had to consider little more than the beautiful environment and some bike ettiquette.

Five more lengthy paved trails are featured in the April issue, “Ride On.” Read the full article to learn about difficulty, how to get there, and what you’ll experience:

  1. The Gateway Trail: St. Paul to Stillwater (22 miles)
  2. Root River Trail: Fountain to Houston (42 miles)
  3. Big Rivers Regional Trail: Mendota Heights to downtown St. Paul (8 miles)
  4. Sakatah Singing Hills Trail: Mankato to Faribault (39 miles)
  5. The Dakota Rail Trail: St. Bonifacius to Wayzata (14 miles)

There are also excellent regional maps detailing state trails and regional/local trails (more than rail-to-trail options) in the state’s official biking guide created in partnership with Explore Minnesota Tourism.

Those interested in shorter, urban trips: The Nice Ride Minnesota bike-sharing season just started yesterday. Minneapolis wasn’t named America’s Best Bike City for nothin’!