The Glacial Lakes State Trail is located on a former Burlington Northern Railroad grade, and is generally level and wheelchair accessible. The trail is paved for 22 miles between Willmar, Spicer, New London, Hawick, and the Kandiyohi/Stearns County line. An additional 7.5 miles from Roscoe to Cold Spring is also paved. The many lakes make this area a popular tourist destination. The towns along the trail provide access points, rest stops, and other services to trail users.
The gently rolling topography of central Minnesota was created by glaciers retreating 10,000 years ago. The trail cuts across the border between Minnesota's western tallgrass prairie and eastern deciduous forest. Though much of the area has been cultivated, remnants of virgin prairie, wetlands, and scattered woodlots can still be found along the railroad right-of-way. Whitetail deer, numerous small mammals, birds, reptiles, and butterflies can be seen along the trail. Between the Stearns/Kandiyohi County line to Roscoe, the trail is relatively undeveloped. Some railroad bridges are closed.
- Trail uses
In the summer, the developed trail is popular for hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, and in-line skating. Winter uses include snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.
Horseback riders will enjoy the ten mile stretch of parallel, grass treadway from Willmar to New London. From New London to the Kandiyohi/Stearns County line there are grass shoulders for horseback riding.
The Glacial Lakes State Trail connects to Sibley State Park via three miles of paved shoulder along County Road 148. The trail also connects with many miles of groomed snowmobile trails in the Kandiyohi County grant-in-aid trail system.
Accessible Outdoors (electric wheelchairs allowed)
- Trail events
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There are currently no event listings.
Do not leave valuables in your vehicle!
Parking is available at the following trail accesses:
- Willmar: Take Highway 12 east to County Road 9. Turn north (left) and go two miles to the parking lot on west (left) at the Civic Center.
- Spicer: At the junction of Highway 23 and County Road 10. Parking lot is west off 23.
- East Nest Lake Public Water Access: Two miles north of Spicer on Highway 23 and 1/2 mile west on the Township Road.
- New London: 1 mile northeast of Main Street on County Road 31, at the intersection of River View Lane.
- Hawick: North side of town, at the intersection of Highway 23 and County Road 2.
- Richmond: Off Highway 23. Go north one block on Central Avenue South.
Restroom facilities are provided along the trail at these points:
- North of County Road 26, parking area 3/4 mile
- North of Country Road 31 (Clark Trailhead) one mile
- Nest Lake East Public Water Access
- Hawick Trailhead
The trail is groomed for winter snowmobile use within Kandiyohi County. In Stearns County, snowmobile use is allowed on signed sections only.