By Jim Umhoefer Trails Reporter
Blue Earth, Le Sueur and Rive counties. 39 miles, from Mankato to Faribault.
Serious cyclists can easily breeze along the Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail in half a day or less, but if you prefer a slower pace, there are enough distractions along the route for a relaxing weekend mini-vacation, among them the numerous lakes along the way and Sakatah Lake State Park.
The trail, developed along an old railroad bed, is on the edge of two bygone plant communities. The Big Woods to the north was once a great hardwood forest; the prairie to the south and west was an immense sea of rolling grassland. Today, through most of the land is cultivated; trail users can still see patches of the former vegetation.
Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail is split by a half-mile break in Waterville, just west of the state park. To connect with the other segment, follow the city streets in Waterville. Many cyclists start in town and head east toward Faribault for an easy afternoon ride. The whole trail is currently surfaced for bicyclists, hikers and snowmobilers; another treadway will be developed for horseback riders and cross-country skiers. There is a trailhead parking lot on lime Valley Road near Mankato on the west end of the trail.