Map of Heartland State Trail

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Heartland State Trail, Minnesota

Map area for Heartland State Trail, Minnesota

Heartland State Trail

LENGTH:

49 miles

SURFACE:

paved / unpaved

COMMUNITIES:

Park Rapids, Dorset, Nevis, Akeley,

HIGHLIGHTS:

rail trail, Minnesota farmland, woodlands, river crossing, local parks, Walker, Cass Lake

NEARBY TRAILS:

Paul Bunyan State Trail

RELATED LINKS:

Regional Trails

The Heartland State Trail is a 49-mile long paved & unpaved trail that runs from Cass Lake to Park Rapids in Central Minnesota. It is a multi-use trail open for bike riding, walking, running and inline skating. Some portions are open for snowmobiles in winter. The trail was constructed along an abandoned railroad line for the most part and the grades are gentle. There is a short portion of the trail located north of the community of Walker where you must travel along the roadway to get from one portion of the separate paved trail to the next. There is also a separate natural surfaced track for equestrians from Walker to Park Rapids.

This is a beautiful area of Minnesota with thick forests, wildlife, lakes, ponds, streams and picturesque farmland. There are other recreational activities in this area as well such as fishing and boating. These state trails offer an excellent way to get exercise and observe that natural areas away from traffic and city congestion.

Conditions

The Heartland State Trail is paved for the entire 49 miles. The section between Park Rapids and Walker has a side path for horses and mountain bikes. The trail is open for non-motorized use suchas bike riding and walking. Snowmobiles are allowed on the trail in winter months.

There are long stretches of the Heartland State Trail that are remote and do not have nearby services. Bring plenty of water and any other necessary supplies.

Nearby Trails

The Heartland State Trail intersects with the Paul Bunyan State Trail in Walker.These two trails are part of the Mississippi River Trail, a system of pathways and bike lanes that follow the Mississippi through several states.

There are also other local trails that meet up with the Heartland State Trail.

End Points and Trail Description

The north end of the Heartland State Trail is located in the community of Cass Lake, just south of U.S. Route 2. There is parking available at the MnDOT Rest Area on the north side of U.S. Route 2 and another parking area on the south side of the highway. You need to ride along surface streets to get to the main trail. The trail starts at Highway 371 and 1st Street NW, 1/3 of a mile south of U.S. Route 2.

The first portion of the trail runs alongside Highway 371 for most of the 22 miles to the City of Walker. There are a couple of locations where the trail diverges from the highway. At about 11 miles south of Cass Lake, the trail heads over closer to Steamboat Bay, part of Leech Lake. In this portion, there is a break in the trail where you will need to travel along the roadway to connect to the next section.

Approaching the community of Walker, the Paul Bunyan State Trail comes in from the west just north of County Road 38. The two trails conjoin for about 8 miles. There is also an access path to get into the center of Walker just north of Highway 371. After passing Lake Alice on the south side of Walker, the Paul Bunyan State Trail takes off to the south, where the Heartland State Trail continues running alongside Hidden Road the alongside Highway 34.

There is a trailhead with parking in the community of Akeley. The trail continues alongside Highway 34 to the community of Nevis then it runs alongside County Road 18 going directly west for a little more than 2 miles. At this point the trail runs cross country away from the highways to the small community of Dorset. There is a small trailhead with parking in Dorset. The trail keeps going west then turns to the south just after crossing County Road 4. The trail then heads into Park Rapids. In Park Rapids, the Heartland State Trail goes past Heartland Park and Skoe Park. There is parking and also restrooms in these parks. The trail ends at Highway 34 in Park Rapids.


Resources

Following are links to official off-site resources to find out more details about the Heartland State Trail in Central Minnesota.