Trail travel is popular in Minnesota, be it by foot, bicycle, cross-country skis, snowmobile, horseback, wheelchair or stroller. And Minnesota rewards travelers with magnificent views and varied landscapes. State trails highlight a cross-section of these landscapes.
State trails may be a good choice for some people with physical disabilities, because most trail surfaces are paved asphalt and are 8 to 12 feet wide. Most of these trails have been built on abandoned railroad grades, with a maximum slope of typically 4 percent (a 1:25 rise or descent--that is, a one-foot rise or fall for every 25 feet traveled).
Steeper slopes may exist on portions of trails away from the railroad grade and at road crossings. Some state bicycle trails, such as the Gitchi-Gami State Trail, are not developed on former railroad grades and can have more significantly sloped grades.
Use extra caution at road crossings. Brightly colored clothing makes all trail users more visible to vehicle drivers traveling along roads that intersect with the trail.
Most state trails are open to several non-motorized uses by people of all abilities: walking, biking, inline skating, horseback riding, cross-country skiing. Some trails are also open to snowmobiling. Electric wheelchairs are permitted on all state trails.
Trail facilities (picnic areas, hand pumps* for drinking water or vault toilets**) set on concrete pads are sometimes surrounded by soil or grass. Maneuvering a wheelchair between soil/grass and concrete may be difficult.
*(Hand pumps are farm-style iron pumps with a long, lever-like arm moved up and down to bring water up. Bring drinking water if you have doubts about operating a hand pump.)
**(Vault toilets are outhouse-style pit toilets.)
Three state trails have been reviewed for accessibility details. Read the details. These trails are:
Maps of each state trail, with further information on facilities and the surrounding area, are available from the DNR Information Center or on the individual state trail's web page.