The Central Lakes State Trail is a 55 mile former railroad route turned paved bike trail that runs through 3 counties and 10 communities. This trail begins in the city of Fergus Falls, and ends in the city of Osakis. Trail users will enjoy the many differing landscape views, ranging from open grassland/prairie, lakes, wetlands, farmland, and forested rolling hills.
Video about the trail:
Watch Pioneer Public Television's Minnesota's Greatest Parks: West, featuring stories about Central Lakes State Trail. Originally aired May 15, 2014.
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The area is historically significant because the Kensington Rune Stone, dated 1362, was found near a small town southwest of Alexandria. An often misunderstood artifact with over 200 medieval runes chiseled in its surface, the Stone suggests Norsemen adventured in the area 130 years before Christopher Columbus.
The region is also known for its unique geographic features around Lake Christina, including the Seven Sisters Prairie on the north side of the lake, which is a group of seven, glacially-produced knolls. Lake Christina is an important stop for many species of waterfowl during migration. For more information on the Central Lakes Trail, visit the Central Lakes Trail Association website.
Primary trail uses
In the summer, the developed trail is popular for hiking, bicycling, and in-line skating. Winter uses offer snowmobiling opportunities.
The Central Lakes State Trail connects to the Lake Wobegon Regional Trail. in Osakis. The Lake Wobegon Trail is a 46 mile, paved trail that leads into the town of St. Joseph, MN.
- Trail uses
Accessible Outdoors (electric wheelchairs allowed)
Do not leave valuables in your vehicle!
Parking is available at the following trail accesses:
- In Fergus Falls in DeLagoon City Park.
- In the cities of Dalton, Ashby, Evansville, Brandon, Garfield.
- In Alexandria at Big Ole Park.
- In Nelson.
- In Osakis by the downtown trailhead (Osakis Information Center).
Restroom facilities may be available in each of the communities along the trail.
- In the area
In the area
Nearby DNR recreational areas include:
State Parks and Waysides
State Wildlife Management Areas
- Great Northern Wildlife Management Area
- Gustave-Melby Wildlife Management Area: North Unit
- Gustave-Melby Wildlife Management Area: South Unit
- La Grande Wildlife Management Unit
- Thornberg Wildlife Management Area
- Mavis WPA
- Haugen WPA
- Hintermeister WPA
- Arfsten WPA
- Morrison WPA
- Stowe Lake WPA
- Nelson Lake WPA
Use the DNR Recreation Compass to find out where they are!
The following links will take you off the DNR website.
Share the trail with others.
- Stay on the trail.
- Respect adjoining landowners rights and privacy.
- Keep right so others can pass.
- Warn other trail users when passing by giving an audible signal.
- Obey traffic signs and rules.
- Keep all pets on leash.
- Pack out all garbage and litter.
- Camping and campfires are not permitted on the Central Lakes State Trail.
- Enjoy the beauty of wild plants and animals, but leave them undisturbed for all to enjoy.
- Trail users are legally responsible for obeying the rules and regulations provided in Minnesota Rules, 6100.3000.
The trail is groomed for winter snowmobile use by the Otter Country Trails Association and Douglas Area Trails Association. Be aware of local speed limit restrictions. There are no stud restrictions on the Central Lakes State Trail, however, metal studs on tracks are prohibited on the Lake Wobegon Regional Trail from the city of Osakis to St. Joseph.