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.
Trail Condition Report
The Shooting Star State Trail from LeRoy to Taopi has several sections that are definitely showing signs of its age. This includes asphalt deterioration with cracking and spalling as well as locations where burrowing animals have caused the pavement to settle. We will be out later this season to do some crack filling and other repairs which require warmer weather. This segment is on the schedule for repaving but that work will not be done this season. This segment of trail also has had some issues with overland flooding in the past. Please use caution after heavy rainfall events, especially areas just west of Lake Louise State Park and the tunnel underneath State Highway 56 near Taopi.
Updated September 22, 2020
The Shooting Star State Trail is currently paved for about 29 miles, between LeRoy and Austin. It begins in the City of LeRoy, travels north through Lake Louise State Park, then west toward the communities of Taopi, Adams, and Rose Creek. There is a short break in the trail in Rose Creek between City Hall and Rose Creek Wayside Park. It picks up again in Rose Creek Wayside Park and travels west and north, primarily in state and county highway right-of-way, until it reaches the intersection of 28th Street NE and I-90. Just across the 28th Street bridge over I-90 is a paved path connecting to the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center in Austin. When complete, the trail will also connect with the community of Lyle (south of Austin) and the Wapsi-Great Western Trail in Iowa (south of Taopi).
Current and future portions of the trail will parallel Highway 56, also known as the Shooting Star Wildflower and Historic Route Scenic Byway. The native wildflowers and grasses are a highlight of this byway and trail. Most tallgrass prairie has been taken for agricultural use, but prairie remnants are places where prairie smoke, rattlesnake master and wild indigo, sunflowers, asters, goldenrods, and blazing stars, are found. The trail connects to Lake Louise State Park. The Upper Iowa River had been dammed to provide power for a grist mill, forming a lake. After the mill was abandoned, the site became Wildwood Park and later a state park. In the summer, the trail is popular for hiking, bicycling, and in-line skating. Winter uses include cross-country skiing.
The trail passes by several additional interpretive/recreational opportunities, including Rustic Retreat Wildlife Management Area, Shooting Star Prairie Scientific and Natural Area, Taopi Prairie Interpretive Area, and Mower County Natural and Scenic Area.
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There are currently no event listings.
- Trail uses
Accessible Outdoors (electric wheelchairs allowed)
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:
- Adams: Located on the south side of Highway 56 (West Main Street) just west of 5th Street
- LeRoy: Located east of County Road 14 on Lowell Street
- Rowe Pit: Located north of LeRoy off County Road 14
- Lake Louise State Park: (park permit required)
- Shooting Star Prairie SNA: From LeRoy 4.5 miles northwest on Highway 56. Turn west at 130th St and park on north road shoulder.
- Taopi: Located on south side of Highway 56, between Maple and Main Streets
Restroom facilities are provided along the trail at these points:
- Adams City Park and Campground: The park is located on the west site of town.
- Lake Louise State Park: Lake Louise picnic area and swimming beach (park permit required)
- City of Taopi
Share the trail with others.
- 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 Shooting Star 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 Shooting Star State Trail.
Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking are permitted winter uses. Trails are not groomed or packed. There is no snowmobiling on the trail.