The Gateway Trail is a true getaway trail starting deep in metropolitan St. Paul, at Cayuga/L'Orient streets, just a mile north of the State Capitol. It finishes after 18.3 miles at Pine Point Regional Park, five miles north of Stillwater.
The trail is open to biking, hiking, horseback riding, in-line skating and skiing and is wheelchair accessible (electric wheelchairs are allowed). The paved trail on the old Soo Line railway grade quickly changes from an urban trail to a rural trail with forests, lakes, wetlands and prairies with very little development and road noise. It isn't as wide as current trail standards and can be busy, especially on weekends. The trail from Cayuga Street to Jamaca Avenue (11.9 miles) is plowed and open to all winter biking. East from Jamaca Avenue it is groomed for cross-country skiing only.
There is an unpaved trail north of Hadley paralleling the paved trail used by horses as well as dog sleds in the winter. The Gateway State Trail provides access to other trail opportunities in Phalen-Keller Regional Park, Bruce Vento Trail, and connections to Stillwater and other destinations in Washington County. It is is also close to Como Park, Lake Elmo Regional Park, Afton State Park, William O'Brien State Park and the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.
Brown's Creek Trail Connection
About 9 miles from St. Paul on the Gateway Trail, at Duluth Junction (about Highway 96), the Browns Creek Trail starts and runs 5.9 miles into downtown Stillwater. The trail passes through heavily-wooded areas and past golf courses. Riders can view a historic stone bridge from the mid-1800s. At about the halfway point, Brown's Creek Park provides restrooms and ample parking. Then, riders will descend a canyon to Highway 95. This section of the trail provides views of spectacular fall colors and small waterfalls. In this area, Brown's Creek is a designated trout stream.
The final miles of the Brown's Creek trail follow the St. Croix River into Stillwater. The trail will eventually cross the St. Croix River into Wisconsin on the historic lift bridge, once it is turned into a bike/pedestrian bridge and motor vehicle traffic is re-routed to a new bridge.