The Luce Line Trail follows a former railroad grade and accommodates biking, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, snowmobiling and cross-county skiing. The rail-trail heads west from urban Minneapolis through Minnesota's rural landscape, traveling through suburbs, wooded stretches, across wetlands, near lakes, through tall-grass prairie remnants and into the countryside. Wildlife encountered along the way include deer, foxes, minks, owls, pheasants and many species of duck and geese.
The Luce Line Trail occupies the former rail bed of the Electric Short Line Railroad, started in 1908. The tracks continued to be expanded into the late 1920s, when the rail became known as the Minnesota Western. Passenger service stopped in 1947, and in 1956 the Minneapolis and Saint Louis Railway took over. The corridor was abandoned by 1970 and the Luce Line Trail was born.
From Minneapolis to Plymouth (about 9 miles), the trail is paved. It begins at a juncture with the Cedar Lake Trail, just west of Interstate 394 and near Bryn Mawr Meadows Park. This section of the Luce Line was once called Bassett's Creek Trail but as of 2012 has been included in the Luce Line Trail system.
Between Plymouth and Winsted (a 30-mile stretch), the trail has a crushed stone surface with a parallel treadway for equestrians.
From Zebra Avenue in Winsted, through Silver Lake, and on to County Road 115 in Hutchinson, the trail is paved as of October 2015. This section is about 19 miles long.
Between Hutchinson and Cedar Mills, it is crushed stone.
Between Cedar Mills and Cosmos, it is mowed grass.
Snowmobiles are allowed on the trail west of Stubb's Bay Road. Certain areas are not maintained regularly and can be a challenge following severe weather when the surface becomes muddy or otherwise impassable.
Parking is available at the following locations:
- Plymouth, off of 10th Avenue and Vicksburg Lane
- Long Lake, off Stubbs Bay Road
- Lyndale, off County Road 92
- Off of Carver County Road 127, south of County Road 20
- In the towns of Watertown, Winsted, Hutchinson and Cosmos
- Schaper Park off Schapper Road (Golden Valley)
- Bryn Mawr Meadows Park off Morgan Avenue S (just west of Minneapolis)