Visit our trail-friendly sponsor!
Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota

Luce Line State Trail

The Luce Line State Trail stretches 63 miles in a westerly direction from the metro suburb of Plymouth to the small town of Cosmos in west-central Minnesota. Along the way you’ll visit the communities of Wayzata, Watertown, Winsted, Hutchinson, Silver Lake and Cedar Mills.
Read more …

 

Luce Line State Trail mapDownload map

Art on display in Hutchinson on the Luce Line State Trail

Art on display in Hutchinson

The Luce Line State Trail is built on an abandoned railroad grade with gentle elevation changes

The Luce Line State Trail is built on an abandoned railroad grade with gentle elevation changes

Read more here:

Along the Trail

The trail runs on a former railroad line covered with a variety of surfaces ranging from crushed limestone between Plymouth and Winsted, pavement between Winsted and just west of Hutchinson, gravel between Hutchinson and Cedar Mills to a mowed grass path between Cedar Mills and Cosmos. The western trailhead is just west of Cosmos in a county park on Thompson Lake.

Cairns along the Luce Line Trail near Cosmos

Cairns along the trail near Cosmos

Runner on the limestone segment east of Winstead on the Luce line State Trail

Runner on the limestone segment east of Winstead

While it starts in the heart of the western suburbs, the Luce Line Trail offers a varied landscape of woodland, marsh and lakes with a portion running through remnants of the Big Woods and stands of maple and basswood.

Crossing the south fork of the Crow River in Watertown on th Luce Line State Trail

Crossing the south fork of the Crow River in Watertown

Local residents walk the trail near Watertown on the Luce Line State Trail

Local residents walk the trail near Watertown

Just west of Hutchinson, the Luce Line State Trail passes by Campbell Lake on the right and Otter Lake on the left.

Just west of Hutchinson, the Luce Line State Trail passes by Campbell Lake on the right and Otter Lake on the left.

Observation platform along the trail in Hutchinson. Here, Otter Lake flows into the south fork of the Crow River

Observation platform along the trail in Hutchinson. Here, Otter Lake flows into the south fork of the Crow River

A horse trail parallels the Luce Line between Hutchinson and Plymouth. Farther to the west, the wooded landscape gives way to farm fields and remnant prairies. Just outside of Hutchinson, watch for a short connecting trail to Crow River Winery, a favorite stop with bike riders.

Connections

The Luce Line State Trail allows access to many Twin Cities metro area trails. In Plymouth, the natural surface part of the Luce Line State Trail connects to the paved Luce Line Regional Trail, which ends east of Sweeney Lake in Golden Valley, but further connections are ahead. At Medicine Lake this section connects to the 13-mile Medicine Lake Regional Trail and the Basset Creek Regional Trail. The Medicine Lake Trail ends at Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove. Connections from here include the Rush Creek and Crystal Lake Regional Trails.

In Wayzata, a short ride on city roads will take trail users to the Dakota Rail Regional Trail, which continues roughly southwest for 26 miles and ends just west of New Germany.

History

The trailway dates back to the old Electric Short Line of 1908, which moved goods and passengers in and out of the Twin Cities. It was renamed Luce Line after the family who owned and extended it as far as Lake Lillian. After the railroad ceased operations, the DNR acquired parts of the corridor to create the state’s first nature trail in 1970. By 1975 the state owned most of the right of way and between 1977 and 1980 built the trail to Winsted. In 2015 a 23-mile section between Winsted and Hutchinson was paved.

Visit these trail-friendly sponsors:

Explore Hutchinson
Visit Brainerd
Willmar Lakes Area Chamber
Explore Alexandria

Visit these trail-friendly sponsors:

Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota
Visit our trail-friendly sponsor!
Discover Stillwater

Please join our newsletter mailing list!

It’s your source for sneak previews of the next print issue, new trails to explore, upcoming events and the latest blog posts. We promise to keep it brief, entertaining and relevant and you can unsubscribe anytime. We will not share your info with anyone.

* indicates required