State trails

hiking Hiking

Horseback Riding Horseback

Biking Biking

Mountain Biking Mountain biking

In-line Skating In-line skating

Snowmobiling Snowmobiling

Wheelchair access Wheelchair access
(electric wheelchairs allowed)

Heartland Trail Location

Heartland State Trail

The Heartland State Trail was one of the first rail-to-trail projects in the country. It is a 49 mile, multiple-use trail between Park Rapids and Cass Lake. The trail is located entirely on a level, abandoned, railroad grade, except for a four-mile segment north of Walker which is on a low-volume traffic road. Snowmobiles use the sharply rolling terrain in this area. Both the 27 mile segment between Park Rapids and Walker and the 22 mile segment between Walker and Cass Lake are paved. The Park Rapids to Walker segment also has a second grassy trail for horseback riding and mountain biking. The Heartland State Trail also connects with the Paul Bunyan State Trail system and other regional trail systems.

Map This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.

Slide show of photos taken on the Heartland State Trail. This slideshow requires the latest version of
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Virtual Tour

Check out the Heartland and Paul Bunyan State Trail video!


Events

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Landscape

Views of lakes, rivers and streams are numerous, and many are accessible from the trail. The trail passes through northern hardwood forests and stands of jack, red, and white pine, as well as the spruce fir forest community. The occasional majestic white pine can be seen towering over the trail. Common mammals noticed along the trail include whitetail deer, raccoon, red fox, porcupine, beaver and muskrat. The observant trail user may spot coyote, weasel, mink, bobcat or black bear. Many varieties of birds can be seen along the trail including the bald eagle, which has a large population in the Chippewa National Forest and surrounding area.

Permits

You will need a horse pass if you will be horseback riding and a ski pass for cross-country skiing and a snowmobile state trail sticker for snowmobiling. No other fees or passes are required to use the trail.

 

  • Parking
  • Restrooms
  • In the area
  • Etiquette
  • Winter

Parking

Do not leave valuables in your vehicle!

Parking is available at the following trail accesses:

  • Park Rapids: Heartland County Park - North 0.25 mile on Mill Street from Highway 34.
  • Dorset: North 1.4 miles on Highway 225 from Highway 34.
  • Nevis: At intersection of County Road 18 and Village Road off Highway 34.
  • Akeley: North from Highway 34 travel 0.1 miles on Hillside Avenue.
  • Walker: South on County Road 12 0.25 miles from Highway 371 to Lake May Drive and Heartland Place south.
  • Erickson's Landing: Two miles north of Walker on highway 371.
  • Steamboat Landing: West off Highway 371 travel 0.3 mile on 130st Street northwest.
  • Cass Lake: On the north side of Highway 2 at rest area 2 miles east of Cass Lake and across the highway on south side.

Restrooms

Most communities provide public restrooms nearby with some in local parks in proximity to the trail. Organizations such as chambers of commerce or tourism agencies provide restroom facilities within some larger communities. Local businesses provide restroom facilities for customers. Portable toilet facilities are often provided in the larger and often used trail rest areas. See the trail map This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it. for these locations.

In the area

Nearby DNR recreational areas include:

State Trail

State Park

State Water Trails

State Forests

Wildlife Management Area

Public Water Accesses

Other nearby recreational opportunities

The following links will take you off the DNR website.

Lake Country Scenic Byway This link leads to an external site.


Explore Minnesota Tourism This link leads to an external site.

This link leads to Explore Minnesota Tourism's website.

Trail etiquette

All users must yield to horses. Stop and dismount if requested.

  • Stay on the trail.
  • Keep to the right.
  • All pets must be on a leash.
  • Clean up all pet waste.
  • Obey traffic signs and rules.
  • Respect private property adjacent to the trail.
  • Camping and campfires are not permitted on the Heartland State Trail.
  • Enjoy the beauty of wild plants and animals, but leave them undisturbed for all to enjoy.
  • Minnesota Rules, 6100.3000 apply on the Heartland State Trail.

Winter use

Studded tracks for snowmobiling are permitted on the asphalt on both the 27 mile segment between Park Rapids to Walker and the 22 mile segment between Walker and County Road 76 south of Cass Lake. The Heartland State Trail also provides connections to many miles of groomed snowmobile trails in the Hubbard County Grant-in-Aid trail system. Learn more about snowmobiling in Minnesota and don't miss the interactive snowmobile trails map.

You will need a ski pass if you will be cross-country skiing.