Shooting Star State Trail


9 Reviews

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Shooting Star State Trail Facts

States: Minnesota
Counties: Mower
Length: 24.3 miles
Trail end points: 215st St. (Nicolville and W Lowell St. (Le Roy)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016312

Shooting Star State Trail Description

Shooting Star State Trail, which is over 24 miles long, is an 8-foot-wide asphalt path from Nicolville (east) to Le Roy (west). It follows an unused railroad bed on Milwaukee Road, which once stretched from the Midwest through the Rocky Mountains.

The eastern end of the trail begins in Le Roy, just 0.25 mile beyond Lake Louise State Park. The trail winds through open meadows and hardwood groves before emerging onto the agricultural fields to the west. The trail then skirts both the Mower County Natural and Scenic Area and the Shooting Star Prairie Scientific and Natural Area as it heads west through the communities of Taopi and Adams and, finally, to the western trailhead at Rose Creek.

Midway between Adams and Rose Creek, a memorial in the form of a Norwegian church has been erected as a rest stop in honor of Margie Meier, a staunch supporter of the trail. The scenic trail includes bike racks and rest benches in key places along the route.

After the church, the trail continues north and then west until reaching its northern terminus in Nicolville. 

Restrooms and picnic areas are available in LeRoy, Lake Louise State Park, Taopi, and the Adam City Park and Campground on the west side of town.

Parking and Trail Access

There are several parking options along the trailhead including in Le Roy, at the southern terminus along W Lowell St., Taopi between Main and Maple St, at the Adams Swimming Pool at 704 W Main St, and in Rose Creek along the Shooting Star Byway just south of 170th St.

See TrailLink Map for more options and detailed directions.

Shooting Star State Trail Reviews

Seas of Bluebells!

Drove to Lake Louise Sate Park on Monday May 16, 2022 and rode the short section of the trail located within the park boundaries. Also rode south out of the park to the trailhead in Leroy and back to the park. The ride to Leroy and back was especially beautiful as we were surrounded on both sides by seas of blooming Virginia Bluebells. Just before getting to Leroy the trail crosses a river on a trestle bridge and from there, we saw a goose nesting on a little island below. Just before that point we encountered two wild turkeys crossing the trail. Within Lake Louise State park while riding through a grassy prairie area, we saw Turkey Vultures kettling, a Bobolink and an Indigo Bunting. Lovely time of year to be riding in this area.

Half good, half not so good.

Grade the trail! This review serves as a guide so that you know what condition the trail is in before you go. Here is the code:
A – Excellent condition, new or like-new.
B – Very good condition, not new, but still a great trail.
C – Fair condition, starting to see a fair amount of ruts, bumps or heaves.
D – Poor condition, lots of ruts, bumps or heaves.
F – Very poor condition, would not recommend riding this trail at all.

From Leroy to Taopi = D/F – in need of lots of repairs. From Taopi to Rose Creek = B. I have not ridden the section from Rose Creek to Nicolville, but would assume it is fairly new like the section from Taopi to Rose Creek.

Overall rating of 3 stars because of the bad section.

needs help but a nice trail

This trail needs a bit more love. A lot of cracks. And gritty parts when your out in the open due to weathering. Head wind is a thing to be aware of on this trail it is very exposed the further you get in.

Rode this trail on a week night gad a great ride. Road from Rose Creek east. This trail tends to be wet towards Lake Louise on the eastern end. a few bumps but otherwise well maintained, few riders but can be tough on a windy day.

Rode this trail on a week night gad a great ride. Road from Rose Creek east. This trail tends to be wet towards Lake Louise on the eastern end. a few bumps but otherwise well maintained, few riders but can be tough on a windy day.


Pleasant ride, couple of bumps

This is a pleasant enough trail. Most of it runs along beside a highway, but in many places there are trees and bushes shielding you from the road. The trail is asphalt, but there are several places where there are big bumps, as if the asphalt was put down in sections, with small breaks between each section. Many of the bumps have been marked with red paint, but the paint has faded and the bumps are still difficult to steer around.
The eastern end, approaching Le Roy, moves away from the highway and winds around a state park. It's quite pretty and very secluded and shady.

Beautiful scenery, lots of headwind

But don't let that stop you from exploring this beautiful trail. We started our trip in Rose Creek and thankfully, the wind was against us on the first half of the trip; but that's okay because we had the energy! We lost 30-minutes on the return trip and it was mostly downhill. Being a railroad trail, there's no real "hills" and it is a well-maintained trail, particularly from Adams to Rose Creek. East of Adams, there's cracks and potholes, but they are well-marked. The section through Lake Louse State Park has a lot of tree coverage, and a swimming beach.

We parked in Rose Creek at City Hall (there's no real trailhead parking lot) and the bathrooms in Adams, Taopi and Lake Louise are nice and clean. We ended up eating at Sweet's Hotel in LeRoy - great food and a lovely place to visit. We couldn't find any place to eat in Taopi, so bring water/snacks if you think you'll need them by then. Adams has a nice park along the trail, with playgrounds for the kids.

We only saw about 8 other riders the entire day, maybe because it was a Saturday and folks were avoiding the wind (a storm arrived later in the evening) but it was a great trip!

Fast, flat, and smooth

I rode this trail from west to east with a car shuttle. The western trailhead in Rose Creek has no official parking lot, but it is across the street from the town hall, and there was a porta-potty at the end of the trail.

The trail is dead flat and mostly open except at the far east end in LeRoy. In fact Taopi bills itself "the heart of the prairie." The trail surface is very smooth, with only a few minor cracks and dips. A strong west wind made it a very fast one-way trip for me, but a little slower for my wife who rode back from LeRoy to meet me. I have encountered a strong west wind every time I'm in this part of the state, so be prepared.

The western half of the trail parallels Highway 56 but it was mostly quiet and didn't detract from the scenery. The eastern half, after passing through a tunnel under the highway, is more often away from the road and meanders through the prairie. There are trailheads with parking and facilities in Adams and at the midpoint in Taopi, but nothing else directly on the trail until LeRoy. Just west of LeRoy you pass through Lake Louise state park, including a short on-road section across a bridge. The trail restarts to the west of the bridge without any signage.

The LeRoy trailhead is hard to spot; the trail begins on the north side of Lowell St directly across from a parking lot for the high school baseball diamond. There are restrooms in the building next to the parking lot.

The state map doesn't include a mileage chart and I only saw mile markers near the east end. My mileage (west to east):

0.0 Rose Creek
5.7 Adams City Park
10.1 Taopi trailhead
11.2 Tunnel beneath Highway 56
13.0 Enter the prairie (trail jogs a few yards north)
19.6 LeRoy trailhead

Sort of a blended trail?

My wife and I rode this trail Sept.24, from Adams to LeRoy and back. The trail starts as a rail-trail but after Taopi, becomes a meandering curving path, with squarer corners than a rail trail. Trail maintenance is very good. It was a wonderful ride through farm fields, grass meadows and woodlands. A stiff west wind sort of spoiled our fun, but it did decrease as the afternoon became evening. (Hint: There's a reason all those wind generators are located around here!!) Really enjoyed our time,in spite of the windy conditions.

Hot Humid Day...

I rode this trail with my wife and 4 kids- oldest being 11. We started in Adams, which was good because the trail goes very slightly uphill all the way to LeRoy. There was a little rest stop in Taopi, and of course in LeRoy. The trail was not very shady at all- but where there was shade it was really nice.

Nice trail- we will definitely do it again!

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