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The 3-mile-long Bottineau Trail runs through the small town of Red Lake Falls to a rural area to its north. The trail is named after Pierre Bottineau, a Minnesota frontiersman who died in the community in 1895. Scenery along the rail-trail includes a mix of residences and industrial properties within the city limits. Once you cross the Red Lake River, however, the northern half of the route runs through dense forest. The experience is highlighted by crossings over both the beautiful Red Lake and Clearwater Rivers on restored railroad bridges.
From the south end, the first mile of this short trail weaves through the neighborhoods of Red Lake Falls and through the center of town, offering easy street access to shops along the city portion of the trail.
If you access the trail from Riverside Park, about 1 mile north of the southern end of the trail, you will find restrooms, water, a picnic area, and camping. Access between the trail and the park is via a short spur that links up with the southern end of the railroad bridge in the residential section.
From this trail junction, you can head north across the historic, 467-foot-long Warren pony truss bridge, built in 1915, and over the Clearwater River; you’ll continue for about 0.5 mile before crossing County Road 13.
The trail continues on another 0.5 mile through a wooded corridor to where it crosses the Red Lake River, a popular put-in site for local river tubers. The Bottineau Trail ends about 1 mile ahead at its northern terminus at CR 19. Because there is no parking at this end, this is a good turnaround point for an out-and-back round-trip from the park along the most scenic and historic segment of this short trail.
From I-29, take Exit 141 for US 2 in Grand Forks, ND. Follow US 2/Gateway Drive 6.5 miles east, and turn left onto County Road 17. Head east 22.7 miles into Minnesota. Continue straight on CR 13, and go 13.1 miles to Red Lake Falls. Turn right onto Bridge St. N.E., and in 0.3 mile continue on Main Ave. In 0.1 mile turn right onto Bottineau Ave. N.W., and park at Riverside Park on the right. The park is about 1 mile north of the southern end of the trail. Parking can also be found along city streets closer to the southern trailhead.
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