Top Outdoor Trails in Central Minnesota


Finding a great running or walking trail in Central Minnesota is actually pretty easy since it seems that a major trail goes through many cities and towns in our area. If you’re looking to get off the treadmill this summer and enjoy the great outdoors, here are some of our favorites for you to choose from.

Beaver Island Trail

This trail was built along the route of an inactive railway that was part of a charter railroad of the Minneapolis and Northwestern Railway Company. The railway connected Clearwater to the south side of St. Cloud.

The Beaver Island Trail goes 5.1 miles and begins on the south side of the St. Cloud State campus and goes south to Clearwater Road. There is also a small segment of the trail behind the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center. The trail is asphalt, and biking, inline skating, walking and cross-country skiing are allowed.

Lake Wobegon Trail

This 60-mile trail takes its name from the fictional town of Lake Wobegon, which has been made famous by Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.”

Some of the cities along this trail include St. Joseph, Holdingford, Avon, Albany, and Osakis.

The trail is 10-feet wide and opened in 1998. Along the trail, you’ll find plenty of lakes, woodlands, and open farmland. Most of the trail follows Interstate 94. The trail goes by St. John’s University, which is part of 2,000 wooded acres. Biking, inline skating, snowmobiling, walking and cross-country skiing are all allowed on the trail, depending on the season.

The Rocori Trail

This trail is named after the three cities it runs through (Rockville, Cold Spring and Richmond). It has two disconnected segments that the public can use. The first piece, which opened in 2009, is in Rockville. The newest extension, which opened in 2012, runs halfway between Richmond and Cold Spring. The trail runs along the side of Highway 23 for its entire 3-mile length. After that, it connects to the Glacial Lakes State Trail.

The Cold Spring Baseball Park and Rich-Spring Golf Club are some of the sites on the trail. There is also beautiful scenery like the Sauk River, the Rockville granite quarry and the Cold Spring dam and waterfall. It’s possible both extensions of the trail could be linked in the future. This asphalt trail allows biking, inline skating, walking and cross-country skiing.

Glacial Lakes State Trail

This 29-mile asphalt trail runs through both Stearns and Kandiyohi counties. The trail has two different sections with one starting one mile west of Paynesville and running through Willmar. The segment between Willmar and Spicer has a 10-mile grass road for equestrians and features farmland galore with plenty of tall prairie grass and wetlands. There are plenty of deer, birds, small reptiles and butterflies to see along the route.

There is a bike repair station at the Willmar Civic Center. The city added an information kiosk and a rack of bikes that can be used all over town. Other sites along the way include Sibley State Park and Lake Koronis. Biking, inline skating, snowmobiling, walking and cross-country skiing are all allowed on this trail.

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