Goodhue Pioneer State Trail


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Goodhue Pioneer State Trail Facts

States: Minnesota
Counties: Goodhue
Length: 9.7 miles
Trail end points: Pioneer Rd. and Hay Creek Valley Rd. (Red Wing) and Hay Creek Valley Campground; Covered Bridge Park on SR 58 (Zumbrota) to 180th Ave. (Minneola)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6031481
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Horseback Riding, Snowmobiling, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Goodhue Pioneer State Trail Description

The Goodhue Pioneer State Trail is a work in progress as part of a planned 47-mile trail linking the cities of Red Wing, Goodhue, Zumbrota, Mazeppa, Bellechester, and Pine Island along an inactive railroad corridor. The Duluth, Red Wing & Southern Railroad constructed the line in the late 1880s. However, a derailment in 1964 caused the line to be embargoed by the Chicago Great Western Railroad.

Currently, two sections of trail, separated by a 12-mile gap, are open for recreational use. The 4.2-mile northern segment begins at Pioneer Road on the southern edge of Red Wing. The trail follows Hay Creek as it winds through the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest. Rugged hills blanketed in hardwood forests of oak, elm, birch, black cherry, and basswood dominate the landscape. An adjacent unpaved trail allows for equestrian use. This portion of the trail currently ends at the private Hay Creek Valley Campground in Hay Creek Township.

The 5.5-mile southern half begins at Covered Bridge Park in Zumbrota, home to Minnesota’s last remaining covered bridge. Less than 2 miles from the southern trailhead, there is another covered bridge over a shallow ravine. This section of trail passes through farmland and prairies before ending north of 410th Street in rural Minneola Township. The trail is popular with snowmobilers in the winter.

In Red Wing, trail users can take a city trail about 2 miles north and several blocks west to reach the eastern trailhead of the popular Cannon Valley Trail.

Future plans connect the trail with the cities of Red Wing, Goodhue, Zumbrota, Mazeppa, Bellechester, and Pine Island (intersecting with the Douglas State Trail) for a distance of 47 miles.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach a small turnoff parking area in Red Wing, from Saint Paul take US 10/US 61 19.8 miles south. Turn left onto Red Wing Blvd./MN 316. In 9.8 miles turn right onto US 61, and in 11.5 miles turn right onto Bench St. In 1.5 miles turn left onto County Road 66/Pioneer Road, and go 1.4 miles. Turn right onto Hay Creek Trail, and in 1.5 miles reach the small pulloff.

Additional parking is available just inside the entrance to the Hay Creek Unit recreation area of the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest. Follow the directions above, but go 3.4 miles on Hay Creek Trail. Turn left into the day-use area to reach the parking lot.

In Zumbrota, park in Covered Bridge Park or at the library. From Saint Paul, take US 52 S., and drive 52 miles south. Turn left onto 445th St., and in 0.2 mile turn right onto Jefferson Ave. In 0.8 mile turn left onto W. Second St. In 0.4 mile turn left onto West Ave. for the library parking. Or go 0.5 mile on W. Second St., and turn left onto Main St. The Covered Bridge Park entrance will be on your left in 0.2 mile.

Goodhue Pioneer State Trail Reviews

If you have bikes on car rack - park your car at the Beer Stube Restaurant and bowling alley in Red Wing. Unload in parking lot and across the street you will find start of a Red Wing city asphalt trail that will take you to the Goodhue Trail. (Added bonus is that there will be a cold beer waiting for you upon your return at the Stube). The Goodhue state park trail meanders on asphalt path along hay creek. Lots of birds - watch during summmer for nesting Rose Breasted Groossbeak and Baltimore Oriole - among others. Trail abuts horse trail - lots of horse riders. Lots of bridges over creek to cross. Trails ends at campground - nice saloon there to whet your whistle or grab a bite to eat. Find it hard that anyone could give this trail less than five stars. Round trip mileage was 13 miles for the route above.

Yes, my friend but it's just outside of Zumbrota on the SW segment; not the part near Red Wing. There is also another covered bridge in the park at Zumbrota. Once this is connected to both the Douglas & Cannon Valley, it will be a nice long stretch to ride.

park at the campground bar and then ride to pioneer rd...and you can go farther and hook up with cannon valley trail..or just go to berstube for burgers...but this picture of a covered bridge in not on this trail...


In early June I tried the "other" section of this trail starting in Zumbrota. To begin with it's hard to find. There are no signs directing you to the start. There is a short park loop which is how you get to it mostly by trial and error. I asked some local kids & they kindly gave me some sketchy directions.

I'm sure the trail is a WIP (Work in Process) because it's currently a hodge podge of asphalt, limestone & very loose pea rock (don't attempt this with a road bike). The stretches of asphalt are very nice & smooth but start & end with no warning. The scenery is typical southern MN farmland--nice but a bit boring. There is another cute covered bridge a few miles from Zumbrota. The trail ends/start on an obscure gravel county road with no signs. I did about 10 miles out & back and won't be back until it's finished i.e. connected to the Hay Creek end. I give it 2 stars only because I can see they're working on it.

Since this has been paved it's provides a nice extension onto the Cannon Valley Trail from Red Wing. A little east (2-3 blocks) of the main Red Wing trail head you take a city trail south (maybe 2-3 miles) then it connects to the Goodhue Pioneer Trail and you go about 6 miles to the hamlet of Hay Creek which is mostly a bar/grill and campgrounds. There's a campground in Hay Creek which caters to horse camping with its hitchin' posts. The trail follows the Hay Creek much of the way. It's very peaceful and pleasant. Out and back this adds about 13 miles to the Cannon.

We parked at the #61 Cannon Valley Trail small lot, just off #19 and had a grand ride to the east end of the Cannon Valley Trail, along streets to the Red Wing Hay Creek trail to the Pioneer/Goodhue trail to Hay Creek and back to the bakery east of the trail in Red Wing. A good ride was had by all.

Peggy Prowe

Starting in Red Wing at the Route 66 intersection with the trail, it is approximately 2.75 miles to the Haycreek Picnic area. The route is now blacktopped and provides a nice ride for younger riders as there is not much of an incline other than entering the picnic area. The trail does continue south but I did not go that direction due to weather and my youngest son starting to get tired.

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