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, and a five mile stretch from Richmond to Roscoe 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.
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- 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)
You will need a horse pass if you will be horseback riding, and for snowmobiling, a snowmobile must be registered or have a snowmobile state trail sticker. No other fees or passes are required to use the trail.
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.
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
- In the area
Nearby DNR recreational areas include:
- Sibley State Park
- Roscoe Prairie Scientific and Natural Area
- Birch Lakes State Forest
- Spicer Area Fisheries
- Stearns County Wildlife Management Areas
- Kandiyohi County Wildlife Management Area
Attractions and points of interest
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 permitted only in designated locations on the Glacial Lakes 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 Glacial Lakes State Trail.
The trail is groomed for winter snowmobile use within Kandiyohi County. In Stearns County, snowmobile use is allowed on signed sections only.