It’s that perfect time of year – a time when the evenings are cool, and the days light and breezy. A time when hot cider fills your mug and whistles of football games can be heard in the distance. A time when outdoor recreation requires a light sweater, and when the landscape begins her transition from green to gold. It’s the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors from one of Central Minnesota’s many trails, both in St. Cloud and just a short trip outside of Greater St. Cloud. Plan to soak in all that fall has to offer from one of these great paths, whether by bike, foot, saddle or skate. And as always, don’t forget to share your special autumn memories with #VisitStCloud.
Beaver Island Trail & St. Cloud Riverwalk
The Beaver Island Trail is asphalt and covers just over 5 miles, stretching along the Mississippi River from St. Cloud State University to River Bluffs Regional Park. Scenic views of the Mississippi peak through natural wooded areas as this urban oasis opens up to downtown St. Cloud. The St. Cloud Riverwalk is accessible from Beaver Island Trail, and spans about a half-mile below the River’s Edge Convention Center over the Mississippi River. It’s worth making the extra effort to reach the Riverwalk, as the views are quite spectacular.
This asphalt route spans from the Sauk River in Cold Spring to Richmond, where it meets up with the Glacial Lakes State Trail. Paralleling Highway 23, it’s the perfect trail for an easy, flat ride through both town and country. A recent expansion was completed in nearby Rockville as well, however this stretch does not yet connect with the remainder of the trail. Rocori Trail is ideal for an easy family outing or a quick exercise route.
For more information, visit Trail Link: Rocori Trail
Glacial Lakes State Trail
This beautiful asphalt stretches along 29 miles of scenic countryside from Richmond through Paynesville and on to Willmar. The trail’s landscape is a natural habitat for many native creatures, and visitors to the trail can expect to capture some amazing photos among the rolling hills and grassy plains. If you’re really feeling adventurous, the picturesque Sibley State Park is only about three miles off the trail in New London, or you can connect with lake trails in Paynesville that take you out and around Lake Koronis. Take note that there is a bike repair station located at the Willmar Civic Center trailhead if needed.
For more information, visit Trail Link: Glacial Lakes State Trail
Lake Wobegon Trail
Settle in for a stretch of this 60 mile asphalt trail, which has endpoints in Osakis and Waite Park, with many stops in between. This trail was originally made famous by radio personality Garrison Keillor from A Prairie Home Companion, with his fictional town of Lake Wobegon in Central Minnesota. Small towns give way to wetlands, grassy plains, deciduous forests and cropland as you travel through rural Minnesota. Highlights include the longest covered bridge in Minnesota, located on the Holdingford stretch, and close access to the famous St. John’s University. There are also connections to many other trails including the Central Lakes State Trail, the Soo Line Recreational Trail, and in the future both the Dairyland Trail and the Beaver Island Trail in St. Cloud. Easy to navigate for bikers, walkers, or skaters of any level, the Wobegon trail can provide days of entertainment for all.
For more information, visit Trail Link: Lake Wobegon Trail
Soo Line Recreational Trail & Southern Route
Connecting with the Wobegon Trail in Holdingford and stretching 10.5 miles to Royalton, the Soo Line Recreational Trail is an asphalt trail with much to offer. Travel through small towns, farmland, wooded areas and even across the Blanchard Dam for a photo opp. Connect with the Soo Line Trail – Southern Route in Royalton (also known as the Soo Line South ATV Trail) and you can continue over 105 miles to the Wisconsin border just south of Duluth. As the name suggests, motorized all-terrain vehicles are allowed on this stretch, however please note that they are not allowed on the Soo Line Recreational Trail section.
Aptly named after one of the top dairy producing areas in the state of Minnesota, the Dairyland trail – a crushed stone trail – stretches between Elrosa and Greenwald for 6.2 miles. Pass through farmland, open fields and even prime hunting areas as you explore rural Minnesota. Future plans include expansion of the trail all the way to Brooten, and a connection to the Wobegon trail in Albany. Visitors of this trail can travel by bike, foot, or even horseback and in accordance with local ordinances, small game and upland bird hunting along the trail is also allowed.
For more information, visit Trail Link: Dairyland Trail