The Casey Jones State Trail is named after the famed railroad engineer Casey Jones, who died in a railroad accident in 1900, and was immortalized in a famed, well-known ballad. The Casey Jones Trail was one of the first state trails authorized by the state of Minnesota when State Trail legislation was passed in the late 1960s.
The Casey Jones Trail consists of three segments. The longest segment is 13 miles of natural-surfaced, former railroad grade between the city of Pipestone and the Pipestone/Murray county line. A second, small, natural-surfaced segment runs west 1.5 miles from the city of Lake Wilson. The third portion of the trail is a 6 mile, paved loop between Lake Shetek State Park and the city of Currie. Horseback riding is not allowed on this portion of the trail.
The Casey Joees Trail connects points of natural interest, such as remnants of tallgrass prairie, wooded ravines, Lake Shetek and the sloughs around it, which are remnants of the glacial landscape that once covered southwestern Minnesota. Historical and cultural sites around the area include sites associated with Laura Ingalls Wilder in Walnut Grove, railroad artifacts in Currie and Tracy, wind towers, and the pipestone quarries in the Pipestone National Monument
The Casey Jones Trail is situated in the rolling vastness of the agricultural landscape that characterizes the upper Great Plains, with individual homesteads appearing like islands in a sea of corn and soybeans. The landscape is truly the "heartland" of America and its seeming infinity and openness to the sky are highlights of this trail.