The 25-mile, paved Glacial Lakes State Trail follows the former right-of-way of the Burlington Northern Railroad between Willmar and near Paynesville, at the Kandiyohi and Stearns county line. The trail passes through the towns of Spicer, New London and Hawick and past Green Lake. The segment between Willmar and Spicer includes a parallel grass track for equestrians and the rest of the trail includes a grassy shoulder for equestrians.
In New London you can take a side trip to Sibley State Park (about 3 miles away); follow State Rt. 9 to County Road 148. Note, by bike you'll have to ride in a bike lane on the shoulder of CR 148. In Paynesville you can connect to city trails that circle Lake Koronis.
Beyond the county line near Paynesville the trail is undeveloped to just past Richmond; railroad ballast still covers the surface and some bridges are out.
The Glacial Lakes State Trail traverses the gently rolling prairies of central Minnesota and travels between a landscape of tallgrass prairie and deciduous forest. Among the farmlands you can catch glimpses of the original prairie and wetlands, which makes ideal habitat for whitetail deer, small mammals, birds, reptiles and butterflies.
Services are available in the towns along the route, including rest areas and restrooms. The trail is groomed for snowmobiles in winter in Kandiyohi County.
Parking and Trail Access
You can access Glacial Lakes State Trail in many places along its route. In Willmar take U.S. Hwy. 12 East to County Road 9. Turn north (left) and go 2 miles to the parking lot at the Civic Center (west).
In Spicer at the junction of State Rt. 23 and County Road 10 there is a parking lot west off 23.
In New London follow State Rt. 9 North to the public water access parking lot on east (right).
Finally the NE section beyond Hawick doesn't dead-end. There is a 2 mile spur into Paynesville on very nice smooth asphalt. Once there you'll find many stores & eateries. It appears the city has some additional "in-town" trails, also. This is a great ...
Smooth but noisy
We rode from Spicer to a little past New London on September 23, 2008. It's an easy, comfortable ride. The trail surface is flawless smooth asphalt, and the terrain is mostly flat. Late September turned out to be the perfect time to ride for fall colors: ...
Some parts are nice
We rode this trail from Willmar to New London on our tandem. The section from Willmar to Spicer was nice, quiet, and scenic; but the section from Spicer to New London was too close to a busy highway. We also tried to follow an "other trail" (marked on ...