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As of spring 2016, bridge access to the Minnesota Valley State Trail was still closed at Memorial Park in Shako-pee until further notice. Check the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website for updates.
The Minnesota Valley State Trail is used by cyclists, equestrians, hikers, snowmobilers, and cross-country skiers. The trail passes through the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area at its southern end as well as other natural areas along its route. Portions of the trail run parallel to the Minnesota River, which means that it is subject to flooding in high-water years. Along the trail, you’ll encounter oak hardwood forests, oak savanna remnants, and hillsides and bluffs featuring scenic overlooks of the Minnesota River below. Wetlands include floodplain marshes, wet meadows, fens, and lakes. Wildlife and wildflowers abound.
Currently, the trail is more than 27 miles long; the 17.6-mile portion of the trail between Belle Plaine and Chaska has a natural surface and can be rough in places. Between MN 41 in Chaska and Stagecoach Road (at the intersection of US 169 and County Road 101) in Shakopee, the 9.5-mile segment of the trail is paved. There are plans to extend the trail to cover a total of 80 miles between Fort Snelling (where work is already under way) and beyond Belle Plaine to Le Sueur.
A portion of the trail traverses the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area, providing access to trails and natural amenities in the Lawrence and Louisville Swamp Units for a more intimate opportunity to experience the flora and fauna within the floodplain of the Minnesota River. The historic features of the Jabs Farm site and Little Rapids campsite along the Mazomani Trail within the Louisville Swamp section can be accessed off of the Minnesota Valley State Trail.
There are restrooms at the Lawrence Unit as well as in cities and parks along the route.
For parking in Shakopee, take I-494 to Exit 10A for US 169 S. Merge onto US 169, and go 4.7 miles south. Take the exit for Hennepin County 101/Shakopee. Merge onto County Road 101, heading northwest, and go 5.5 miles. Turn right onto Fillmore St., and park at Huber Park.
For parking near Chaska, take I-494 to Exit 11C. Merge onto US 212, and go 9.1 miles west. Take the MN 41/Chestnut St. exit. Turn left onto MN 41/Chestnut St., and go 2.7 miles. Turn right onto the dirt road just past the trail access sign.
For Lawrence Unit (Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area), take I-494 to Exit 11C. Merge onto US 212, and go 12.7 miles west. Take the CR 11/Jonathan Carver Pkwy. exit. Turn left onto Jonathan Carver Pkwy., and go 2.6 miles. Turn left to stay on Jonathan Carver Pkwy., and go another 3.8 miles. Parking is on the left immediately after crossing the Minnesota River.
Loaded up two small children and our bikes and drove a short distance to Lawrence. There was a sign at the trail head stating that it was closed. :(
You can now ride this trail from SW Bloomington out to Carver. A short section between Chaska & Carver has new, smooth pavement. Just follow the Chaska dike trail, when you get west near the ball park you go on a street for a short ways & then the trail is there--maybe they'll put up signs someday? Carver is a cute little town. There is a Casey's near the trailhead.
Once you get in to Carver you can take the trail a little farther, then a road for a mile & then you can pick up on another trail & go up some steep hills & loop back to Carver or Chaska.
We used this trail from memorial park, Shakopee to Chaska. The trail was in great shape. Only trick was finding where to get on from memorial park. The bridge from the park to the trail is out. We rode toward Shakopee to Levee Rd and easily found the trail. Beautiful scenery and great historical markers along rhevwatc and Chaska was a great stop For a cold drink.
Neither the locals nor the police knew where this trail started in Belle Plaine. We finally found it down a short narrow road right next to the river (Belle Plaine side of the river...north side of highway 25). Late September growth of grass and weeds etc. all the way to Chaska? We didn't even attempt it.
Rode these trails quite a few times this summer between Jordan and Belle Plaine on horseback. Some areas are a little muddy but not too bad. There were a couple downed trees we had to ride around in a couple spots. Can get buggy especially after the rains. But all in all love riding these trails. Can't wait to ride them this fall with all the fall colors.
I can only talk about this trail from Huber Park to the berms in Chaska. I had ridden it (on my road bike) earlier this year from Chaska to Shakopee right after a storm. There were many branches down and even trees blocking the trail. VERY slow going. In fact, I regretted following the trail instead of the roads. BUT...
Yesterday (9/7/15) I went from Shakopee to Chaska, and while there were no downed trees, there were a lot of leaves and acorns on the trail. There were a few spots that were quite rough and it was necessary to go slow. There were lots of people out yesterday, so slow was wise anyway.
I'm spoiled by the bike trails in Hyland Park - they must have leaf sweepers there, because the trails are usually very smooth and clean. The drawback is that there aren't many miles of trails.
For a pretty ride if you don't want to maximize your MPH, I'd suggest this trail.
I liked this trail, it has some fun hills, some good workout hills, but it was creepy at certain spots, came across quite a few "shady people" where after I saw them I just didn't feel safe :( so because of that I didn't stop to take pictures of the old Shakopee brewery. and it was really cool looking! I should say I started in Chaska and headed east to Shakopee, it was a couple miles from Shakopee where I didn't feel safe.
west of chaska it is like a horse trail and not crushed stone but rough surface. rocks / sand and vegetation. not easy going unless you have a sturdy mtn bike and are willing to ride slow and then you have to fight the bugs.
between shakopee and chaska it is beautiful though paved. I can only image how pretty it will be with the fall color -- cant wait to do that section again this fall.
Since no one has added a review for over a year I thought I'd confirm that the trail is open--no flooding issues in Sept. 2012. :) You can tell that in the spring this trail does flood easily since the river is right there and the trail was built on the flood plain. It's a nice trail and I echo everything TimBee says. The only call-out we witnessed was the lack of a continuing, non-paved (crushed limestone, per this website?) trail after getting to Chaska (we started in Shakopee). We found a snowmobile/hiking/horseback trail that appears to be the non-paved path that continues but only avid mountain bikers should attempt. The trail is very rough with tree debris and it's sandy/silty. We never found a crushed limestone trail anywhere near Chaska to keep heading south. Maybe that's only on portions of the trail closer to Jordan or Louisville Swamp? One other addition that needs to be updated. The bike trail now starts as far east as Memorial Park (aka, Shakopee's Visitor Center and park with the large military helicopter memorial you can't miss). So parking there is another option and tag on another mile and half of riding east of Huber Park if you want.
As of early July '11, much of the paved trail from Chaska to Shakopee & eastward to Bloomington is impassable due to flooding caused by heavy spring snow melt and persistent rain. There are portions on the Chaska dikes that are still good but anything low is flooded out. The section between Shakopee and Chaska has only been open a few days so far this season.
Normally by this time of the year flooding isn't an issue but not this La Nina year. In normal years you can jump on this trail in west Bloomington, cross the river at the old ferry bridge, then zoom past Valley Fair & into Shakopee either on the trail or local roads. A new trail is planned going past Valley Fair, so you won't have to ride on the highway anymore.
There's a great park/trailhead in Shakopee--Huber Park--beautiful new building with water & bathrooms, plenty of parking and playground equipment. It's also close to stores & restaurants. The route over to Chaska has heavy shade but is somewhat rough. Once in Chaska you can ride the dikes and go north along some trails (which aren't marked) into the Jonathan development then back on 41. When open, you can ride 35-40 miles out & back from Bloomington to Chaska & back. Let's hope the water evaporates soon.
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