Douglas State Trail

Minnesota

Douglas State Trail Facts

States: Minnesota
Counties: Goodhue, Olmsted
Length: 12.5 miles
Trail end points: Center Drive between 1st Ave. NE and 3rd Ave. NE (Pine Island) and Valleyhigh Dr. NW at Douglas-Cascade Trail (Rochester)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016269
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Horseback Riding, Snowmobiling, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Douglas State Trail Description

The Douglas State Trail occupies the railbed of the former Chicago Great Western Railway corridor between the cities of Rochester and Pine Island. Several of the concrete obelisk railroad mile markers are still visible along parts of the route.

Along the trail, users are treated to a diverse, bucolic landscape of verdant agricultural land, rolling fields, and forest. Not far from Rochester, the trail passes through its namesake town of Douglas. The trail is paved over its entire route, but there is also a parallel natural-surface treadway for horseback riders and snowmobilers. In Rochester, connect directly with the Douglas-Cascade Trail to continue farther into Rochester’s extensive 60-mile trail system within the city.

The trail crosses over the Zumbro River and two creeks along the route as it winds through a canopy of hardwoods lining the trail. It also passes by, and through, working farms, mixing agriculture with nature along its route. Recently widened and repaved, the trail provides a smooth, flat ride throughout. Two bridges damaged in the floods of 2010 closed the trail for two years but have since been repaired.

Just before crossing County Road 3, about 4 miles south of Pine Island, you can rest at a shelter next to the trail. There is a gravel parking lot providing access to the trail from New Haven Road. A couple of benches at other points on the trail provide convenient rest stops along the route.

Ample parking and services at each major trailhead make it easy to enjoy segments of this trail: about 8 miles between Douglas and Pine Island to the north or the 4-mile stretch between Rochester and Douglas in the southern segment.

Several county roads (some gravel) intersect this trail along its course, providing short-looped excursions off the main route. There is often limited parking at these intersections.

The Pine Island trailhead offers a Borrow-a-Bike program for those who would like to ride the trail.

Parking and Trail Access

Three trailheads along the route provide parking and restrooms, and all are accessible within a few miles from US 52.

To reach the northern trailhead from Saint Paul, go 59.7 miles south on US 52, and take the County Road 11 exit. Turn right onto Center Drive, and in 0.5 mile turn left onto First Ave. N.E. Pine Island City Park is on the left.

To reach the Douglas trailhead midway along the trail, from Saint Paul, go 69.1 miles south on US 52, and take Exit 61 for US 63/CR 14/75th St. N.W. Turn right onto 75th St. N.W./CR 14, and go 2.6 miles. Parking is on the left.

To reach the southern trailhead in Rochester, from Saint Paul, go 71.2 miles south on US 52, and take Exit 59 for CR 22 W./W. Circle Drive/55th St. N.W. Turn right onto 55th St. N.W./W. Circle Drive, and go 2 miles. Turn left onto Valleyhigh Drive N.W. in Rochester. The parking lot will be on your left in 0.2 mile.

 

 

Douglas State Trail Reviews

I rode this trail from Pine Island to Rochester and back. The trail pavement was in very good condition--a smooth ride the entire way. Most of the trail is covered with a canopy of trees, providing nice shade.

Trail remains as previously described. Beautiful tree canopies, especially just north of Rochester. Beautiful bicycle overpass looks to be ready to open anytime on the northwest side.

The Douglas Trail passes through verdant farm country north of Rochester. The trail is smooth & flat yet the scenery is varied with some open sunny stretches, as well as deeply shaded sections. The meandering Zumbro River runs nearby. On the Rochester end you can ride an extra mile or so near the IBM campus and then get onto city trails. There are several bridges which allow you to cross busy roads without waiting or danger. The city of Douglas has an easy to find starting point.

Pine Island is a quaint, small town with interesting, historic architecture. You'll also find cafe's and a good convenience store--Kwik Trip. The starting point has had a bridge wash-out, so you have to detour on city streets for a block or two. There's a place that borrows bikes for free--"Borrow-A-Bike" on weekends. For variety, you could take county road 3 (wide shoulder) from Pine Island south to make a loop with the trail. The only drawback with this trail is that it's so short before you know it you're done.

Accordion

I wasn't expecting such a nice smooth ride virtually all the way from Pine Island to Rochester, what a treat even though we peddled in the rain from Douglas to Pine Island. If you hate hills this is your ride, the elevation couldn't have varied more than a few feet. The scenery is wonderful. Tree canopy keeps you cool. Hope this eventually connects to other SE MN trails.

The north end of the Douglas State Trail has now been resurfaced. The roughest part of the trail is now the two miles immediately north of Douglas - the section that was last resurfaced about ten years ago (approximately milepost 4.5-6.5).

The north end of the Douglas State Trail has now been resurfaced. The roughest part of the trail is now the two miles immediately north of Douglas - the section that was last resurfaced about ten years ago (approximately milepost 4.5-6.5).

"This is the trail that passes my neighborhood. The southern 6.5 miles are relatively smooth having been resurfaced in the last few years. The north end, however is quite rough for cycling and nearly impossible for inline skating."

"This is a short, flat, mostly straight trail that will appeal mostly to fans of fields. We prefer forested, wet, curving trails with more changes in terrain."

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