Minnesota Valley State Trail

Minnesota Valley State Trail

Trail Alert

The horse trail is open for the season.

The Minnesota Valley State Trail is closed from County Road 9 at Thompson Ferry to Louisville Swamp.

Construction has begun on the bridge connecting the state trail to Memorial Park in Shakopee. There will be periodic trail closures through July 2021 between Bluff Avenue East and Memorial Park. 

Updated July 14, 2021

 

The multi-use Minnesota Valley State Trail is ideal for hiking, biking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and snowmobiling. The trail is currently available in two segments and runs through several units of the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area. The first, longest segment starts in Belle Plaine and ends in Shakopee. This segment is unpaved for 19.5 miles and runs from Belle Paine to the Gifford Lake Unit near Chaska. From Chaska to Fisher Lake in Shakopee, the trail is paved for 9.8 miles. The second, smaller segment begins at Minnesota Bottoms Landing on the Minnesota River, near 35W and runs for 1.7 miles eastward to Blackdog Lake in Bloomington.

Minnesota Valley Trail Location

Map

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 with this regional virtual tour.

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.

Events Calendar

Scroll table right to see more »

There are currently no event listings.

Trail uses

hikingHiking

bikingBiking

mountain bikingMountain biking

in-line skatingIn-line skating

horsebackHorseback

snowmobilingSnowmobiling

Permits

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.

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 and continue 2/3 of a mile past the train tracks. Gifford Lake public water access is on the west side of State Highway 41, before Chaska.
    GPS coordinates: N 44.777932, W -93.594149, Map it
  • Lyndale Avenue Public Water Access: From I-35E, take the W 106th Street exit. Head east to Lyndale Avenue and take a right to the south. 
  • 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 Access:
    Take U.S. Highway 169 to Jordan, turn north onto County Road 9. Thompson Ferry Access 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:

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

Cross-country skiing is available throughout the trail and in the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area, but there are no groomed trails.

Snowmobiles are allowed on the Minnesota Valley State Trail, which connects to local snowmobile trail systems. Snowmobiles must be registered or have a snowmobile state trail sticker. Note: Snowmobiles are not allowed on the Minnesota Valley State Trail in Bloomington.

Learn more about snowmobiling in Minnesota and don't miss the interactive snowmobile trails map.