State trails

Minnesota Valley State Trail

hiking Hiking

Biking Biking

Mountain Biking Mountain Biking

Horseback Riding Horseback

Skiing Skiing

Snowmobiling Snowmobiling


Trail features

Minnesota Valley State Trail Location Rest areaRest area
FishingFishing
CampingCamping
Bike rental nearbyBike rental nearby


Minnesota Valley State Trail

The multi-use Minnesota Valley State Trail is ideal for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and snowmobiling. The trail is paved from Shakopee to Chaska and a natural surface trail runs from Chaska to Belle Plaine, paralleling the Minnesota River. The trail travels within the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area in part of the Minnesota River Valley as it converges into the Mississippi River.

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Trail notes

Trail closed

The Minnesota Valley State Trail is closed until repairs are completed, due to damage from summer flooding.

(Updated July 16, 2014)

Virtual tour

Plan your next trip with the panoramic or snapshot virtual tour of the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area. Or, check out what's happening around the whole region including the SRA and beyond, with the regional virtual tour.


Events

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Landscape

The Minnesota River valley is a rich mosaic of plant and animal communities. The valley holds floodplain marshes, wet meadows, fens, and lakes. These wetlands are maintained by the river and by the spring-fed streams draining from the base of the bluffs.

The hillsides and bluffs support oak forest and oak savanna remnants, as well as outstanding scenic overlooks. As the seasons unfold, you will find spring wildflowers, fall colors, abundant wildlife, and the ever-changing river landscape.

Permits

You will need a horse pass if you will be horseback riding, 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:

  • Gifford Lake: Take U.S. Highway 169 to State Highway 41, turn north toward Chaska. Gifford Lake public water access is on the west side of State Highway 41.
  • Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Louisville Swamp Unit: Parking and trail access is available at the Louisville Swamp trail head. The wildlife refuge is located about 4.5 miles south of Shakopee. Exit Highway 169 onto 145th Street west. Follow the road past the main entrance to the Renaissance Festival and over the next set of railroad tracks. The Louisville Swamp parking lot is located on the left.
  • Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area, Lawrence Unit: Parking is available for the equestrian campground, state trail access, picnic shelter/warming house, Strait House historic site, hiking and cross country ski trails. Take U.S. Highway 169 to Jordan, at the traffic light turn north onto County Road 9, turn left onto Township Road 57.
  • Shakopee/Huber Park: The city park is located at First Avenue and Fillmore Street.
  • Shakopee/Memorial Park: The city park is located at 1801 East County Road 101.
  • Thompson Ferry PWA: Take U.S. Highway 169 to Jordan, turn north onto County Road 9. Thompson Ferry Boat Launch and parking area is on the east side of the road just before the bridge. Parking for horse trailers and other vehicles is on the west side of the road just before the bridge.
  • Trail Site 2: Take U.S. Highway 169 to State Highway 41, turn north toward Chaska. The parking lot is on the east side of State Highway 41.

Restrooms

Restroom facilities are provided along the trail at these points:

In the area

Nearby DNR recreational areas include:

State Park and State Recreation Areas

State Water Trails

Public Water Accesses

  • Fort Snelling State Park: Public Water Access, located in the Fort Snelling State Park, entrance at Post Road of I-494, south of Minneapolis-St. Paul international airport.
  • Minnesota Valley Refuge: Russel Public Water Access, under I-35W bridge in Bloomington, enter from Lyndale Avenue south.
  • Minnesota River: Cedar Public Water Access Site, Under the Cedar Avenue Bridge (State Highway 77), off State Highway 13, northwest on Silver Bell Road, north on Nicols Road.
  • Minnesota River: Shakopee Public Water Access, located in the city of Shakopee, on east of State Highway 101 on the north shore of Minnesota River.
  • Minnesota River: Winkle Park Public Water Access, located in the city of Chaska in Winkel Park, just west of the County Road 41 bridge, west on West 1st Street, south on Cedar St on the west bank of Minnesota River.
  • Minnesota River: Carver Public Water Access, located in the city of Carver, southeast of County Road 40, southeast on Oak Street, northwest on Main Street east, on the west bank of Minnesota River.
  • Minnesota River: Thomas Ferry Public Water Access, 1.5 mi north of Jordan, on County Road 9.
  • Minnesota River: Belle Plaine Public Water Access, located just north of the city of Belle Plaine on County Road 25.

Scientific and Natural Areas

State Wildife Management Areas

Other nearby recreational opportunities

The following links will take you off the DNR website.

Minnesota River Valley National 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 Minnesota Valley 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 Minnesota Valley State Trail.

Winter use

Cross-country skiiers will need a ski pass but there are no groomed trails. Skiiing is also available throughout the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area.

Snowmobiles are allowed on the Minnesota Valley Trail and connect to local snowmobile trail systems. You will need a snowmobile state trail sticker for snowmobiling. Learn more about snowmobiling in Minnesota and don't miss the interactive snowmobile trails map.