Gandy Dancer Trail - Northern Section

Minnesota

3 Reviews

View Trail Map
View Map
Print
Complete
Favorite
Send to App

Register for free!

Register for free with TrailLink today!

We're a non-profit all about helping you enjoy the outdoors
  • View over 30,000 of trail maps
  • Share your trail photos
  • Save your own favourite trails
  • Learn about new trails near you
  • Leave reviews for trails
  • Add new and edit existing trails

Gandy Dancer Trail - Northern Section Facts

States: Minnesota
Counties: Pine
Length: 51 miles
Trail end points: Danbury, WI and Superior, WI
Trail surfaces: Ballast, Dirt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6227540

Gandy Dancer Trail - Northern Section Description

This 98-mile, "interstate" trail crosses into Minnesota and then back again into Wisconsin on its way from St. Croix Falls to its connection with the Saunders State Trail just south of Superior. In Wisconsin the trail is maintained and managed by Polk, Burnett and Douglas counties. The Minnesota DNR manages the section of the Gandy Dancer trail in Minnesota.

Built on a former railroad corridor, the trail is named for the work crews who laid the railroad tracks. The crews used tools made by the Gandy Tool Company of Chicago. The crews were known to work by keeping their voices and the movement of their feet and tools in harmony. This manner of work led the crews to become known as "Gandy Dancers."

The Gandy Dancer State Trail is divided into a northern segment and a southern segment. Trail uses for the two segments are also divided. Most of the year the southern segment allows only non-motorized recreation on the trail, while the northern segment offers motorized recreation year-round.

This northern segment begins on the Minnesota side of the St. Croix River. The trail runs for 32 miles in Minnesota and then crosses back into Douglas County for 19 miles. All-terrain vehicle (ATV) are permitted year-round on this segment. ATVs must display valid registration in both Wisconsin and Minnesota. Visitors from Minnesota will need a non-resident ATV trail pass to ride the Wisconsin portion in Douglas County. Walking, mountain biking, horseback riding and snowmobiling are also permitted on the northern segment. Bicyclists and cross-country skiers do not need trail passes on this segment.

Sections of the trail in Douglas County are typically closed each spring because of the soft trail base.

Parking and Trail Access

Gandy Dancer Trail - Northern Section Reviews

Northern end (Douglas County WI) completely impassable

The trail is not maintained at all and only usable by ATV's. A total bust.

Beautiful view worth the walk

The trail north from Danbury is an ATV trail not suitable for road bikes. However, we chanced upon a group walking south and they advised us to hike to the bridge. We were glad we did as the view overlooking the St Croix River is beautiful!

A bit disappointing

We were a bit disappointed in this trail. We started at the south end, which meant a 2-mile climb out of the river valley. This part was scenic, but grueling. After that, it was flat and rather dull, running through farmland. After the first 2 miles the asphalt gives way to crushed rock (like most Wisconsin trails). It was not well-maintained, at least when we were there. Crushed rock is okay, but not when it is full of ruts from tractor wheels. There were also some puddles and lots of small branches down from a recent storm.

On the plus side, the small towns come along every 5 miles or so, offering a wide selection of taverns serving burgers and beer every day of the week (yay, Wisconsin!). We especially liked the “Glass Bar” in Centuria.

Nearby Trails

Go Unlimited Today!

  • FREE Account
  • View over 40,000 miles of trail maps
  • Post your trail reviews
  • Share your trail photos
  • Save your favorite trails
  • Learn about new trails near you
  • Get a free map in the app!
Register for FREE
  •  
Purchase Unlimited

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews

Log in with Google

Log in with Apple

OR

Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more!

Register with Google

Register with Apple

OR