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Southern Minnesota Short & Sweet Bike Trails

If you have an hour or an afternoon, these trails are for you. They connect people to towns, parks and lakes and make for a nice getaway.

Blazing Star State Trail: 6.5 Miles

Albert Lea, MN to Myre-Big Island State Park

The Blazing Star State Trail connects the city of Albert Lea with Myre-Big Island State Park. There’s a planned future connection east through Hayward to Austin, where it will connect to the Shooting Star State Trail. The trail is groomed for fat tire biking in the winter.

The Blazing Star State Trail at Myre Big Island State Park

The Blazing Star State Trail at Myre Big Island State Park

Blue Mound Trail: 6 Miles

Luverne, MN to Blue Mounds State Park

A multi-purpose bike and pedestrian trail from Luverne to the striking rock formations of Blue Mounds State Park, across rolling prairies.  The city of Luverne plans to make this trail a part of the 6-mile Luverne Loop city trail in the future.

The Blue Mound Trail connects Luverne with Blue Mounds State Park

The Blue Mound Trail connects Luverne with Blue Mounds State Park

The trailhead is located at the corner of North Blue Mound Ave and East Fairway Drive in Luverne on the Blue Mound Trail

The trailhead is located at the corner of North Blue Mound Ave and East Fairway Drive in Luverne

Casey Jones State Trail: 18.5 Miles in three segments

Pipestone and Currie, MN

The trail consists of three main sections, not yet connected to one another: Eight paved miles and two gravel miles east out of Pipestone, 2.5 miles of natural surface west of Lake Wilson and a six mile paved loop between Lake Shetek State Park and Currie. Eventually, the Casey Jones Trail will span over 100 miles from Luverne through Pipestone through Redwood Falls.

Pipestone trailhead on the Casey Jones State Trail

Pipestone trailhead

A sunny day on the Casey Jones State Trail

A sunny day on the Casey Jones State Trail

Wind turbines are a common sight on the open stretches of the Casey Jones State Trail

Wind turbines are a common sight on the open stretches

Douglas State Trail: 12.7 Miles

 Rochester to Pine Island, MN

A pleasant ride from Pine Island to Rochester via the town of Douglas. It’s the perfect out-and-back ride and it connects with Rochester’s extensive city trail network.

Read: Trail Pairings: Douglas State Trail

Fair Ridge Bike Trail: 5 Miles

Fairfax, MN to Fort Ridgely State Park

Connects the city of Fairfax with Fort Ridgely State Park. Start at the Fairfax Railroad Depot Museum and bike south toward the state park and the Minnesota River.

Goodhue Pioneer State Trail: 9 Miles

Red Wing and Zumbrota, MN

This trail is a work in progress. Currently, two short, paved sections exist. A four-mile stretch starts at the southern end of the 1.5-mile Hay Creek Trail on Pioneer Road in Red Wing (The Hay Creek Trail completes the connection to the Cannon Valley Trail and takes riders through the Richard J. Dorer State Forest to Hay Creek.
The other paved section travels north five miles from Zumbrota. When complete, the trail will be 47 miles long and connect Red Wing with Pine Island, which is the start of the 12.7-mile Douglas State Trail into Rochester, MN.

Bridge crossing over Hay Creek near the intersection of the Goodhue Pioneer State Trail and the Hay Creek Trail

Bridge crossing over Hay Creek near the intersection of the Goodhue Pioneer State Trail and the Hay Creek Trail

Hay Creek is a constant companion along the trail on the Goodhue Pioneer State Trail

Hay Creek is a constant companion along the trail

Pastoral landscapes along the Goodhue Pioneer State Trail

Pastoral landscape along the Goodhue Pioneer State Trail

Enjoying a walk through the Richard J. Dorer State Forest on the goodhue Pioneer State Trail

Enjoying a walk through the Richard J. Dorer State Forest

The trail crosses Hay Creek several times on the Goodhue Pioneer State Trail

The trail crosses Hay Creek several times

The northern section of the trail ends at Hay Creek Valley Campground on the Goodhue Pioneer State Trail

The northern section of the trail ends at Hay Creek Valley Campground

Great River Ridge State Trail: 13 Miles

Plainview, MN

This paved trail is flat and level and travels through scenic bluff country near Carley and Whitewater State Parks. Future expansions will connect it to the town of Eyota and Carley State Park.

Hay Creek Trail: 1.5 Miles

Red Wing, MN

This scenic trail along the namesake creek is short, but it makes the vital connection between the Cannon Valley Trail in Red Wing and the Goodhue Pioneer Trail.

Minnesota River State Trail: 12 miles in three segments

This paved trail is envisioned to connect Ortonville, MN with LeSueur via Granite Falls and Mankato as it follows the Minnesota River. Currently, three unconnected segments exist.

Ortonville, MN

a 4.5-mile section links the city with Big Stone Lake National Wildlife Refuge starting at the Minnesota River headwaters at Riverside Park. After a very short paved segment the route runs on city roads for less than a mile and picks up again for the rest of the way at Mill Road. The route crosses the river three times, travels past 30-foot granite outcroppings and joins with roads inside the refuge.

Milan, MN

The next piece of three miles starts at the town of Milan and heads west to Milan Beach Resort on Lac Qui Parle Lake along Highway 40.

Montevideo, MN

The last segment of five miles takes off from the outskirts of Montevideo and travels south to the town of Wegdahl following Highway 15.

Okabena Lake Trail: 5.5 Miles

Worthington, MN

This loop of road routes and paved trail around Okabena Lake connects eight city parks and crosses a bicycle bridge near Lakefront Park.

The Lake Okabena Trail connects several of Worthington's city parks

The Lake Okabena Trail connects several of Worthington’s city parks

The Okabena Lake trail is a combination of on and off-road bike routes

The Okabena Lake trail is a combination of on and off-road bike routes

Lake Okabena derives its name from the Sioux language word for

Lake Okabena derives its name from the Sioux language word for “Home of the Heron”

Red Jacket Trail: 12 Miles

Mankato, MN to Rapidan, MN

The Red Jacket trail between Mankato and Rapidan crosses over three railroad trestles, including historic Red Jacket Trestle, which is 80 feet high and 550 feet long and has great views of the Blue Earth River. It connects to Mankato’s city network of trails and the Minneopa Trail into Minneopa State Park.

The trestle bridge at Red Jacket Park crosses the Le Sueur River and is about 500 feet long on the Red Jacket Trail

The trestle bridge at Red Jacket Park crosses the Le Sueur River and is about 500 feet long

Kayakers take a shore lunch on the banks of the Le Sueur River on the Red Jacket Trail

Kayakers take a shore lunch on the banks of the Le Sueur River

A bridge support damaged in a 2010 flood was pulled from the river and is now displayed at Red Jacket Trail Park

A bridge support damaged in a 2010 flood was pulled from the river and is now displayed at Red Jacket Trail Park

Eagles watch the banks of the Le Sueur River on the Red Jacket Trail

Eagles watch the banks of the Le Sueur River

Saint James and WatLine Trail: 9 Miles

Saint James, MN

The four-mile St. James Area Bike Trail circles Saint James Lake and connects to the 5-mile WatLine Trail which takes you to Long Lake Wayside Park in southwestern Watonwan County. An extension of the trail south into Ormsby is in the works.

Saint James Trail at Memorial Park on the eastern shore of Saint James Lake

Saint James Trail at Memorial Park on the eastern shore of Saint James Lake

Sleepy Eye Bike Trail: 3 Miles

Sleepy Eye, MN

Ride this paved trail around Sleepy Eye Lake year-round. Access at Allison and Sportsmen’s Parks.

Read about a trip to Sleepy Eye and a ride around town

Visit these trail-friendly sponsors:

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Minnesota's Paul Bunyan Trail is one of the state's best bike rides
Walker, MN is connected to more than 150 miles of paved trails!
Hutchinson MN: Home of the Luce Line State Trail
Turning Waters Bed, Breakfast and Brewery

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