Minnesota's Rail-to-Trail Bikeways
Compiled By Kelly Fitzgerald
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.
Really, 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 trails for a casual ride to welcome spring. Fast or slow, I had to consider little more than the beautiful environment and some bike etiquette.
Here are five trails I have my eye on:
- The Gateway Trail: St. Paul to Stillwater (22 miles)
- Root River Trail: Fountain to Houston (42 miles)
- Big Rivers Regional Trail: Mendota Heights to downtown St. Paul (8 miles)
- Sakatah Singing Hills Trail: Mankato to Faribault (39 miles)
- 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 recently. Minneapolis wasn't named America's Best Bike City for nothin'!