Dakota Rail Regional Trail

Trail Map

Description Suggest an Edit

Sections of the Dakota Rail Regional Trail, which extends westward from the Minneapolis suburbs situated along Lake Minnetonka, have been opening since June 2009. The trail occupies the former Dakota Rail corridor, which ran for a total length of 44 miles to Hutchinson, Minnesota, before falling out of use in 2001. That same year, the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority, Carver County, and McLeod County jointly purchased the corridor with the goal of establishing a rail-trail. The 13-mile Hennepin County section of the trail begins at the lakefront in downtown Wayzata, an idyllic suburb of Minneapolis.

Lake views are never far away for much of the trail’s journey through Hennepin County. In fact, many of these communities were developed in the late 19th century as popular resort towns because of their stunning views of the clear water and convenient location along the expanding railroad lines. These towns, which are now largely residential, include Orono, Minnetonka Beach, Spring Park, and Mound. After passing through the town of St. Bonifacius, the trail enters Carver County.

The section of trail from the border with Hennepin County in the east to the small city of Mayer in the west was constructed in 2010. Like the first portion of the trail, striking lake views, now of vast Lake Waconia, make up much of the scenery. After the lake, the trail passes through an equally beautiful mix of open fields and forest.

The newest section of the Dakota Rail Regional Trail opened in early 2013. Running from Mayer to the Carver–McLeod county line, the trail parallels a lightly used rural road. Trail users pass through the tiny town of New Germany before reaching the current western endpoint. Work to upgrade and gravel the section of the trail extending from the McLeod–Carver county line into the town of Lester Prairie was in progress in the fall of 2015. Funding is being sought to pave this section. Development plans extend the paved trail all the way to Hutchinson, the largest city in McLeod County. Currently, the trail west of Lester Prairie is used primarily as an all-terrain vehicle/snowmobile trail.

Parking and Trail Access

To begin in Wayzata, from the intersection of I-494 and I-394, follow US 12 W. 1.6 miles, and take the exit for County Road 101 S. (toward Wayzata). Continue onto Bushaway Road/Gleason Lake Drive, and take the first right onto Wayzata Blvd. E. In 1.1 miles turn left onto Barry Ave. and in 0.2 mile continue onto Grove Lane E. In 0.2 mile designated trail parking spaces will be on your left in Shaver Park (175 Grove Lane).

In Mound, park at the downtown transit center adjoining the trail at the intersection of Lynwood Blvd. and Commerce Blvd. From the intersection of I-494 and I-394, follow US 12 W. 3.3 miles, and take the CR 15 W. exit. Merge onto CR 15/Shoreline Drive, and go 7.7 miles. The transit center will be on your left.

Parking is available in St. Bonifacius at Don Logelin Memorial Lions Park, located on Bell St. just off MN 7. From I-494, take Exit 16B. Follow MN 7 W. 15.8 miles. Turn right onto Bell St., and the trail is on the right.

Parking is also available in downtown New Germany on Broadway St. From I-494, take Exit 16B. Follow MN 7 W. 22 miles. Turn left onto MN 25, and in 1.8 miles turn right onto CR 30/First St. N.E. In 3.7 miles parking will be on the left.

Reviews

Awesome Dakota Rail Trail

   September, 2016 by vsnyc

I live in NYC and recently spent time visiting family in Lester Prairie. I rode the Dakota rail trail from end to end several times while I was home and cannot say enough wonderful things about it. Gorgeous views, had the trail to myself for the most ...read more

Nice trail with lots of shade

   August, 2016 by chriszerby1

Went as far as Waconia. Nice, fairly level, and a smooth trail surface. You can watch the boat traffic on the bays of the lake. Lots of signage to help. Ice cream shop (Lost Lake Creamery) in Mound was good. Apparently the construction work is done near ...read more

Construction In Wayzata

   July, 2016 by zuujam

Once you get out of Wayzata this is a great trail. I road 15 miles west starting in Wayzata. When I rode back a construction crew was working on removing section of the trail. Had to take the detour Shore Line Drive There were many markings on ...read more