Many trails get busy in nice weather and on weekends - consider visiting during off-peak hours if you can. Visitors are encouraged to use trails close to their homes, and to practice safe social distancing by keeping at least 6-10 feet away from others, including when approaching or passing on the trail. If you see a lot of cars in the parking lot or at the trailhead, turn around and find someplace else for outdoor recreation.
Updated April 10, 2020
The Matthew Lourey State Trail is a multi-use, natural and gravel surfaced trail that spans approximately 80 miles and passes through forests linking St. Croix State Park with Chengwatana, St. Croix, and Nemadji state forests. The entire trail is open to hiking and snowmobiling. The trail is also open to horseback riding and mountain biking; however, only sections in St. Croix State Park are managed for those uses. Off-highway vehicle riding is allowed on some portions of the trail in the state forests.
Some areas may be impassable in summer.
About Matthew Lourey
The Matthew Lourey State Trail honors the memory and service of Matthew Lourey, who grew up in Kerrick, Minnesota and graduated from Askov High School in 1982. Matt was an accomplished helicopter pilot as well as an avid long distance runner.
Matt was killed in action May 26, 2005, when his helicopter was shot down over Iraq. While serving first in the Marines, his career spanned 21 years in the United States military. Matt and his family enjoyed using this trail throughout the years.
Common mammals noticed along the trail include whitetail deer, raccoon, red fox, porcupine, beaver, and muskrat. The observant trail user may also spot coyote, timber wolf, weasel, mink, bobcat or black bear.
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- Trail uses
Primary uses of the trail include hiking and snowmobiling, and the entire 80 mile corridor is open to these uses. Portions of the trail are also open to horseback riding, mountain biking, all terrain vehicle (ATV), and off highway motorcycle (OHM) riding. More information about off-highway vehicle use of the trail.
The trail is generally level but is entirely unpaved, and therefore not ideally suited to wheelchair use.
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. Non-residents must have the correct non-resident OHV trail pass. No other fees or passes are required to use the trail, although parking in the state parks does require a daily or annual pass.
Do not leave valuables in your vehicle!
Parking is available at the following trail accesses:
Nemadji State Forest:
- Gafvert Campground and Day Use Area.
St. Croix State Forest:
- Tamarack Forest Road.
- County Road 173.
- Across the MN/WI border in Danbury, WI.
St. Croix State Park:
- Township Road 277.
- Township Road 1394.
Chengwatana State Forest:
- Chengwatana Road - Redhorse Lot.
- Chengwatana Spur A - Gravel Pit Lot.
- County Road 118 (snowmobiles only).
Restroom facilities are provided along the trail at the points below. None of these facilities have running water for hand washing, but there is water available at pumps at the Gaffert and Boulder campgrounds, as well as at the Tamarack horse camp.
- Grace's Lake parking lot in St. Croix State Forest *
- Boulder Campground in St. Croix State Forest *
- Tamarack Horse Campground in St. Croix State Forest *
- Mallard Lake lot in St. Croix State Forest **
- Net Lake Road in Nemadji State Forest *
- Gaffert Campground in Nemadji State Forest *
- Shelter north of the Harlis Road in Nemadji State Forest **
- Shelter at the Yellow Birch and Gandy Dancer Trail junction in Nemadji State Forest **
- Trail junction with the Continental Divide Trail **
- Trail junction with the Kingsdale Trail **
* These are ADA accessible "vault toilets" on a 6'x8' concrete pad. They are not closed in the winter, but they are not plowed or shoveled out in winter months.
** These are one-hole "pit toilets," basically a one-hole classic outhouse. Most are not accessible. They are not closed in the winter, but they are not plowed or shoveled out.
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 Matthew Lourey 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 Matthew Lourey State Trail.
In the winter, ATV use is permitted from Harliss Road in the Nemadji State Forest to Co. Rd. 173 in the St. Croix State Forest, and in the Chengwatana State Forest as shown on the map. Note that snowmobiles and ATVs are both allowed to ride the trail in winter!
For the safety and enjoyment of all and the protection of our natural resources, please follow all winter trail rules and etiquette:
- On the Matthew Lourey State Trail and the Nemadji and St. Croix state forest trails, ATVs are only allowed to ride when the air temperature is 30°F or below. This helps us keep trails sustainable and increases safety for everyone, including our trail groomers.
- Remember that you may encounter snowmobiles, ATVs and pedestrians on the trail.
- Approach narrow or winding sections of trail cautiously.
- Give an audible signal and pass on the left when safe.
- Stay to the right when others approach.
- Yield to pedestrians and slower trail users.
- Be safe! Stop means stop.
- Watch for traffic at intersections.
- More about riding motorized trails in winter.
You will need a ski pass if you will be cross-country skiing, and for snowmobiling, a snowmobile must be registered or have a snowmobile state trail sticker. Your off-highway vehicle will need the proper registration. Non-residents must have the correct non-resident OHV trail pass.