Gateway State Trail (Willard Munger State Trail)


14 Reviews

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Gateway State Trail (Willard Munger State Trail) Facts

States: Minnesota
Counties: Ramsey, Washington
Length: 18.3 miles
Trail end points: University Ave & L'Orient St (St. Paul) and Pine Point Regional Park (near Stillwater)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016278

Gateway State Trail (Willard Munger State Trail) Description

The Gateway State Trail is an 18.3-mile-long segment of the Willard Munger State Trail that offers an urban link to the countryside. The western end of this paved trail begins on the north end of Saint Paul and heads northeast through urban and suburban landscapes along 8 miles of tree-lined corridors to the eastern edges of residential communities. As you approach Pine Springs, the mid-trail access point on 55th Street, just east of Hadley Avenue, offers ample parking and a good starting point for the more scenic and bucolic section of the Gateway State Trail’s eastern segment. Once it crosses under I-694 at the junction with MN 36, the trail continues eastward for another 10 miles through the countryside to Pine Point Regional Park. The trail offers a superb mix of parks, lakes, wetlands, and Midwestern northern prairie lands.

Multiple winter uses, including snowmobiling, are permitted along the Gateway State Trail. A 10-mile section of parallel gravel trail is also available for horseback riding along a segment located between I-694 and Pine Point Regional Park. The paved section of trail through here is groomed during the winter for cross-country skiers. Permits are required for horseback riding, carriage driving, and cross-country skiing.

The Gateway State Trail, built on the former right-of-way of the Soo Line Railroad, connects to trails in Phalen-Keller Regional Park, the Bruce Vento Regional Trail in Saint Paul, and Brown’s Creek State Trail, which links the Gateway State Trail east to Stillwater along the old Zephyr line.

The trail enters Pine Point Regional Park at its western boundary and links up with a network of trails within the park. An extension of the trail from the Stillwater area to William O’Brien State Park approximately 6 miles to the north is proposed for future development.

A Minnesota Department of Natural Resources bicycle tune-up station has been installed at the intersection of the Gateway State Trail and the Bruce Vento Regional Trail. Another station, purchased by the Gateway–Brown’s Creek Trail Association, has been installed at the Hadley Avenue access point.

Restrooms are located at the 55th Street/Hadley Avenue access, MN 96 under the trail bridge, Lansing Avenue (May–October only), Pine Point Regional Park, and other adjacent city and regional parks along the route.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at a number of locations along the trail. Please view the map for all the options and for detailed directions. 

To reach the southern parking lot at Cayuga Park in Saint Paul (198 Cayuga St.): From I-35E, take Exit 109 onto Maryland Ave. E. Head east for 0.5 mile and turn left onto Jackson St.; travel 0.7 mile south and turn left onto Cayuga St. You will see the entrance to the parking lot in Cayuga Park on your right after 0.2 mile. From the parking lot, continue in the same direction of travel (east) along the sidewalk until you reach L’Orient St. a short distance away; you’ll see a sign indicating the beginning of the trail on your left.

To reach the parking lot at Pine Point Regional Park (11900 Norell Ave. N., Stillwater): From I-694 take Exit 52B. Merge onto MN 36 E., and go 5.1 miles east. Turn left onto Manning Ave. N., and in 3 miles, turn right onto MN 96/Dellwood Road. In 1.6 miles turn left onto County Road 55/Norell Ave. N., and drive 3 miles. Turn left into the park. Note that a daily permit of $5 is required for motorized vehicles entering the park.

Gateway State Trail (Willard Munger State Trail) Reviews

Mostly Level

For me a 68 year old who just had a total knee in Jan of 22 this was a nice level trail for me. I started where the trail joins another to Stillwater. I rode up to Pine Point Regional Park where the trail ends or begins I suppose if you start there. I kind of made it a round trip riding down Noble Ave to catch the trail to Stillwater just past Hwy 96. No easy way down to that trail as you have to walk bike down under the bridge and very steep embankment to the trail. It’s then pretty much down hill to Stillwater. Low grade hill though. 20 miles round trip. Not bad.

beautiful northern half

Mostly great trail. The southern part leading to the city was a little rough and not marked very well. The northern part was great!

Citified start

The southern section between Cayuga St. and Arlington Ave. in St. Paul, starts with a view of the Trout Brook Nature Preserve (with a fine trail that does not connect at the north end) but quickly becomes sandwiched between junkyards and I-35E. Good it's there. Very urban.

beautiful woodland trail

North half is almost entirely tree canopied. Beautiful picture spots. Many benches along the way to stop. Several portapotties available. Easy slopes, well maintained pathway. Fairly popular trail.


ehhh it’s alright.

If you’re trying to have a nice easy ride, rip it up. However, if you’re trying to get wild and absolutely crush some PR’s, travel up north to the Paul Bunyan trail or south to the Root River trail. They will both offer beautiful views but also are perfect for the quick trail rider. I would say 85% of this trail is enjoyable. With that being said, the unmaintained areas are not worth the headache.

Diverse trail!

Starting in a bad part of St. Paul, this trail meanders through suburbs and natural area all the way to rural Stillwater (with a new connection to downtown Stillwater). I parked off of Arlington Ave and did a nice 40.2 mile ride round trip.

Beautiful experience

The Gateway State is something everyone should experience. Heading east past 35E there’s a ton of scenery to soak in and trail to cover. Easy to access and easy to lose track of time exploring up to Stillwater and back. Easily my favorite trail to ride.

Beautiful Trail

I have been riding this tail with my brother for over 10 years. Trail is well maintained and has benches along the way for those that want a break or stop for some water. Love this trail and use it 4 times a week when the weather permits for bike riding.

Great ride

The website advised different places to park a car which made it convenient for accessing the bike trail.
The trail itself is marked very clearly with signs.
Different stations along the trail with bike repair tools, water spigots, and park benches.
Not much bike traffic so it made riding side by side easier.
I definitely recommend this bike trail.

Urban link to the countryside

This trail is a beautiful transition to get out of the city and into a really rural area in a nice one day ride. If you ride from St. Paul all the way to the end of the trail, you can plan some rural routes to get to local lakes. I saw many road bikers on those hilly country roads out there, when I took a wrong turn from where I was heading. I learned about this trail on an organized ride to the Square Lake Music and Film festival in early August. What a blast! You put your tent on a sag wagon for a 60's concert experience. The festival occurs on private land, but there is a Square Lake Park with swimming, camping, showers, etc. I'd love to go out there again.

Great Trail

Very nice ride, gentle hills, gorgeous scenery, nicely maintained, almost no interaction with cars on the part we've ridden- 694 to the park at the end.

Willard Munger trail

I thought it was a beautiful trail with dense foliage in town giving way to a beautiful, more open view as you got further and further north. It was so different at the beginning that it seems like two different trails over a mere eighteen miles.


This trail is such a gift to MN. Smooth, very little worry about automobiles. Horseback riders on a dirt parallel trail at times. Saw a few goat eating trees along trail. Several free parking lots along the way. Lots of variety in scenery. Benches & port-a-potties along the way. Relatively flat with a few little hills over pedestrian bridges to keep thing interesting.

Better and better

"Begin on a busy metropolitan street and quickly enter a shaded trail through lake park and golf course scenes, re-enter (briefly) a busy area near North St. Paul High School, and then prepare yourself for a shift of scenery that just gets better and better--marshes, ponds, horse trails, and forests that belie how close you are to an urban center. There are enough curves and small rises to keep you interested; the trail consists of the smoothest asphalt you will ever ride and ends with an option to turn down to the historic Stillwater area or, the other way, to a pleasant lake picnic area. This is one of the nicest links in a trail system that will eventually connect Iowa to Canada."

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