Glacial Lakes Trail Log

Glacial Lakes Trail Log

Willmar Trailhead

The Willmar trailhead is near the Willmar Civic Center and high school. To find it, take Civic Center Dr. off of either Hwy. 71 business route or Hwy. 71 bypass route to Cty Rd. 9, just south of the civic center. The trailhead parking lot (and that’s all there is at the trailhead) is just a stone’s throw north on 9 on what looks like civic center property. There may not be a lot of signs, but watch for a trail sign.

•M .4 After starting in open farm fields of corn and soybeans, with trees on either side and tall grasses flanking the trail, a canopy of trees make a lush tunnel for bikers. This will be the first of many.

•M1.7 On the left is a pond with what looks like two, lined culvert pipes on a platform. What is it? You’ll see these in several ponds along the way, so start guessing.

•M1.8 On the right is another pond, this one full of wildlife. Herons can be seen hunting for crayfish or other morsels, while ducks move from their nesting spots to explore the pond. Even birds walk across the greenish low spots in search of food. Cattails, some with nesting red-winged blackbirds, grow right up to the trail.

•M2.5 Spotted pincherries yet? Watch for their white flowers early in the summer, or red berries in mid-July and later.

•M3.0 The trail is high on a grade that puts bikers into the tree tops with a panoramic view of a large pond area.

•M3.4 After more canopies, a large bench awaits you under the cool shade of several trees. A toilet is also nearby.

•M4.9 Another pond and another bench, this one with a perfect view of several logs that were just right for over a dozen large turtles sunning their necks to get rid of parasites.

•M5.2 The trail goes through a tunnel beneath busy Hwy. 23. Slow down and watch for water that may have collected in the low-lying tunnel. This is a good spot to wait out a storm, although Spicer is less than a mile away.

•M5.2 The trail goes through a tunnel beneath busy Hwy. 23. Slow down and watch for water that may have collected in the low-lying tunnel. This is a good spot to wait out a storm, although Spicer is less than a mile away.

•M5.6 The trail begins to follow the highway into Spicer.

•M6.1 Spicer emerges, with a mall on your right and other businesses on your left.

•M6.8 This is the bike trailhead for Spicer, with a black-topped parking area.

•M8.8 The trail dips into the woods again, where sumac, pincherries, cattails and other lush vegetation grow right up to the trail that never seems to be very far away from a pond.

•M9.1 A wooden bridge crosses a channel over Nest Lake that can often be busy with boaters. On the other end of the bridge are steps down to the lake and a picnic area for a nice rest stop.

•M9.8 If you hear someone holler “Fore!,” duck, a golf ball could go flying your way if a slice from a golfer goes your way.

•M10.8 Here’s a good place to stop and smell the roses, but this biker hurrying under cloudy skies just couldn’t stop to see if this was a large patch of wild roses on the right. Looks like it, though.

•M11.0 Another tunnel under a busy highway, but not as long as the first one. Still, another good place to wait out a rain, although you are less than a mile from New London.

•M11.3 The trail crosses Hwy. 40, which goes into New London just a couple tenths of a mile away .

(A sign also says you can get to Sibley State Park on Hwy. 40, but that route means riding partway on a shoulder-less road as well as part way on busy Hwy. 71. A better option comes at the end of the trail.)

•M11.5 Here’s where the state championship water-ski team puts on its show every Friday night in Neer Park. You can get a peek at the grandstand and jumping area from the trail.

•M12 The paved section of the trail ends here, without much warning, no parking and no bench. The highway is No. 31 (187th St.) and takes you into New London (to the left) and also on to Sibley State Park, about 4.6 miles away. (See the accompanying information on the Sibley State Park Ride.)

The next ten miles were added in 2008 going through Hawick to the edge of Paynesville and will eventually go to Rockville.

 

TRAIL SERVICE DIRECTORY

Comment Here