Accessibility Details for Selected Minnesota State Trails
Douglas State Trail
The 13-mile Douglas State Trail cuts through agricultural land, scattered woodlots and occasional small wetlands from Rochester to Pine Island. The trail is fully paved, but the asphalt is interrupted in places by gravel roads that cross the trail. Vault toilets are not accessible, and there are grassy approaches to most toilets and the hand pump. At Pine Island, the ramp from the parking lot to the trail has a potentially hazardous slope (approximately 35 percent). This slope can be avoided by getting into or out of vehicles where the trail crosses the road.
Root River State Trail
In hilly, southeastern Minnesota, the Root River State Trail descends into the Root River Valley from the town of Fountain, traveling east along dramatic limestone bluffs. The trail begins at a paved, curbless parking lot in Fountain. Non-accessible bathrooms with water are available in the city park. Within the first mile is a long 5% grade. The next five miles east of Fountain is a 3% grade to Isinours Forestry Unit. There is a gravel curbless parking lot here, with non-accessible bathrooms and a hand pump. The trail follows the river, going through lovely, historic towns.
For people using wheelchairs, walkers or crutches, the 19-mile stretch from Lanesboro to Rushford is ideal. This entire section is paved with asphalt.
From the asphalt parking lot, the Lanesboro trail interpretive center is reached via a concrete sidewalk. The trail center was designed to be accessible, has restrooms inside, and the door has a ramp with two landings on it.
Approximately three miles east of Lanesboro is a 1/8 mile reroute with two short hills of 5% grades. One-half mile east of Whalan, a gravel patch connects the trail to a curbless gravel parking lot. There are two vault toilets there and no drinking water. One-quarter mile east of the gravel parking lot you will find a trail reroute with an 8%, 60-yard uphill slope. Peterson has no DNR facilities and parking is on city streets or at the football field. No curbs exist between the road and trail. There are no further barriers between Peterson and Rushford. The Rushford parking lot is asphalt. A curbless concrete path connects the trail and the lot, which has designated handicapped parking spots.
The old Rushford railroad depot, now an interpretive center, is reached by brick sidewalk. The center's restrooms are designed to be accessible, but drinking fountains are not.
Six miles east of Rushford there is a 500' bridge across the Root River with 3% approaches for 300 feet. Half a mile further east is a 350 foot long 5% grade. For the next 3/4 mile, grades vary from 0% to 5% up and down. Then there is a 2,000 foot long 5% grade, approximately 600 feet of level grades before a 2,700 foot, 5% downhill. The next 1/4 mile has short grades of 2%-5% hills. The remainder of the trail into Houston is fairly level with no grades exceeding 3% until the approach to the dike one mile west of Houston, which has a 5% grade for 350 feet. Finally, you will find a 4% slope leading into the parking lot.
Willard Munger State Trail
Two segments of the Willard Munger State Trail are paved with asphalt. The 32-mile Hinckley-to-Moose Lake segment winds past Skunk Lake, which provided refuge to people escaping the great Hinckley Fire of 1894. Near Rutledge, there are grades from 11% to 19%.
The 14-mile segment from Carlton to West Duluth runs through a spectacular mixed hardwood-pine forest. Sections along the beautiful bedrock cliffs overlook Lake Superior. The trail crosses the St. Louis River gorge and parallels Jay Cooke State Park.
There are three moderate grades in a one-mile stretch between Carlton and Duluth, where the trail ends. The first is a pair of 9% to 10% down, then up, grades through an old washout area, followed by a second dip of approximately 8% grades. The third grade is 4% to 6%. The remainder of the trail descends to Duluth at a 1% slope.
A parking lot alongside the trail at Carlton is gravel. Duluth has an asphalt parking lot.