Dairyland Trail


2 Reviews

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Dairyland Trail Facts

States: Minnesota
Counties: Stearns
Length: 10 miles
Trail end points: 2nd Ave. at baseball field (Elrosa) and 315th Avenue (New Munich)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone, Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 7562114

Dairyland Trail Description

Phase one of the development of central Minnesota’s Dairyland Trail was completed in April 2013, allowing trail users to hike, bike, or ride a horse for more than 6 miles between the small towns of Elrosa and Greenwald. Phase 2 was completed in September 2019 and extends the trail to 10 miles from Elrosa to just west of New Munich. The trail, named in recognition of Stearns County’s status as the top dairy producer in Minnesota, occupies a Soo Line Railroad corridor developed as a railroad in the early 1900s and rendered inactive in 1996. The trail will eventually stretch for 26 miles between Albany and Brooten.

The open portion of the trail passes through a landscape of cornfields, prairie remnants, and dairy farms. Small game and upland bird hunting is allowed on the trail, with specific restrictions determined by local ordinances.

When completed, the trail will link directly with the paved Lake Wobegon Trail in Albany, which offers several other connections to trails throughout the heart of Minnesota. It will also become part of a regional snowmobile trail network; all-terrain vehicles will not be allowed on this trail.

Currently, all services and facilities (that is, parking, restaurants, restrooms, drinking water, and equestrian areas) are available only in the trailhead communities of Elrosa & Greenwald . Drinking water at the baseball field in Elrosa is available only during summer.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available year-round in Elrosa (the current southern terminus of the trail) at the parking lot for the baseball field and trail on Second Ave. From I-94, take Exit 135. Head south on Second Ave. E./County Road 13, and drive 4.9 miles. Turn left onto MN 4, and in 2 miles, turn right onto W. Railroad Ave./CR 13. In 6.7 miles turn left onto Main St. Take the first right onto Second Ave., which dead-ends in 0.2 mile at the baseball field.

To reach the trail parking lot across from the Greenwald Pub in Greenwald, from I-94, take Exit 135. Head south on Second Ave. E./CR 13, and drive 4.9 miles. Turn left onto MN 4, and in 2 miles, turn right onto W. Railroad Ave. In 0.1 mile the parking lot will be on your left at S. Third St.

Dairyland Trail Reviews

Good crushed rock trail

This is my first crushed rock trail and used my gravel bike, keeping tires low (~30psi) for better traction. Riding on crushed rock is noisy compared to pavement with lots more vibration transmitted through the frame which tired my arms out. Only looser gravel in a very few spots. The landscape is mostly agricultural with the usual intermittent swamps, ponds and lakes typical of Minnesota. A few trees throw shade over the path but it is mostly open.

Started in the middle at Greenwald (ample parking) proceeding northwest toward Meire Grove but the trail ended after 5 miles so I returned. Lightly travelled local roads will take you into town. Next it was SW to Elrosa. Trail had a bit more loose gravel with a couple of gopher holes but still fine. Both Greenwald and Elrosa (more ample parking) have benches to take a break but there are no services (bathrooms or water) on the trail so only gets 4 stars.

no shades

Beautiful country side. However no shades and gets hot quickly.

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