One of the first state trails authorized by Minnesota when state trail legislation was passed in the 1960s, the Casey Jones State Trail currently consists of three separate segments. The rail-trail is named for the engineer immortalized in the "Ballad of Casey Jones." In 1900 in Mississippi, the engineer "died at the throttle" when the train he was conducting collided with another train.
As for the trail itself, it courses through a much different landscape in America's heartland, passing remnants of tallgrass prairie and woodland as it travels through ravines amid a sea of agricultural land. The longest sectionfrom Pipestone to just beyond Woodstockoccupies an abandoned railroad corridor for 13 miles. This section is paved for 5 miles immediately west of Pipestone before it switches to a natural surface for the rest of its journey.
Another section runs for just 1.5 miles due west from the small city of Lake Wilson. The third section, which is entirely paved, forms a 6-mile loop from the tiny city of Currie to Lake Shetek State Park. This portion of the Casey Jones State Trail is wheelchair accessible, but horses are not allowed. Nearby attractions include the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum in Walnut Grove and railroad artifacts in Currie and Tracey.
In the future, the three disparate segments will be linked, although there are no formal plans for construction at this time.
Parking and Trail Access
Parking for the Casey Jones State Trail can be found in Pipestone off State Route 23, in Woodstock at the community park on East Street, or in Lake Wilson at the community park on 1st Street E.
To access the paved loop, park in Currie at End-O-Line Railroad Park and Museum off Mill Street, just south of the trailhead. You can also park at Lake Shetek State Park. Take County Highway 37 northwest from Currie to State Park Road.