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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.
As of spring 2016, construction/repairs have closed the Gateway State Trail near the western trailhead in the section between L’Orient and Cayuga Streets. The trail has been temporarily rerouted along L’Orient Street, Maryland Avenue, Jackson Street, and Cayuga Street. The Gateway State Trail should reopen in the Cayuga area sometime in the summer of 2016. As part of the I-35E/Cayuga project, the trail is being extended from Cayuga Street to University Avenue.
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.
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 northern 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.
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