Trailheads

Stearns County

The county has been instrumental in creating and maintaining the Lake Wobegon Trail.  The Stearns County Parks Department led the county's effort to build the trail in the late 1990's and has responsibility for maintaining and extending the trail. The parks department patrols the trail on a weekly basis to insure the safety of trail users and to make sure the trails are in good condition.  Please report any issues regarding the trail to the Park department at 320-255-6172.

The Stearns County Sheriff's department patrols the trail on a regular basis.  For emergencies call 911.   For non-emergency issues call the sheriff's department at 320-251-4240.

 

St. Joseph

Trailhead addresss:  605 1st Ave NE, St Joseph MN 56310  just east of mile marker 82.

 

The St. Joseph Lake Wobegon Trailhead is located just east of mile marker 82 and has plenty of parking along with restrooms , drinking water, bike racks, and a small picnic shelter. It is just a 2-3 blocks from several restaurants, downtown St Joseph and St Benedict’s Monastery and the College of St Benedict.

St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce
City of St. Joseph
College of St Benedict
St Joseph Newsleader

Collegeville Station

Trailhead Address:  Intersection of the trail and Old Collegeville Road between mile markers 84 and 85.


 

There is no formal "trailhead" here but the connection to St John's Abbey and University is at the junction of the trail and Old Collegeville Road between mile markers 84 and 85.  There is a large granite marker with a short history of Collegeville Station where students would catch the train on the Great Northern Railroad in years past.  You can bike to the St John's Abbey and University by heading south about two blocks on Old Collegeville Road and cross over I-94 on the pedestrian bridge and then continue to the main campus about two miles beyond the bridge.

Avon

Trailhead Address:  108 2nd St NE, Avon MN 56310 between mile markers 90 and 90.5

 

Wobegon Park is the trail head in Avon.  There is lots of parking, restrooms, fresh water, picnic shelters with tables and an observation tower where you can get an overview of the area.  If you would like you can go for a swim in Middle Spunk Lake at the public beach two blocks west of Wobegon Park.

 
Avon Area Chamber of Commerce
City of Avon
Avon Township
Avon Hills Initiative
Avon Hills North Scenic and Natural Area 

Albany

Trailhead Address: 400 Railroad Ave, Albany MN 56307 between mile marker 95 and 96

 

The trailhead is located at City Hall with lots of parking, restrooms and a picnic shelter as well.  The Great River Regional Library is located in the City Hall building as well and has access to the internet.  It's on the main street of Albany and there are serveral options for  restaurants just across the street from the trail. The Albany Golf Course is located just south of the trail as well if you'd like to add a round of golf to your Lake Wobegon trail experience.  It's one of the finest 18 hole courses in Central Minnesota and they provide rental clubs so you don't even need to bring your clubs! 

Freeport

Trailhead Address: 125 Main St East, Freeport MN 56310  Between miles 102 and 103

 

The trailhead is located across the street from Charlies Cafe and the Pioneer Inn.  These two central Minnesota icons served as two inspirations for Garrison Keillor's Chatterbox Cafe and the Side Track Tap in his News from Lake Wobegon stories.  There is ample parking and a small picnic shelter.   There are no restrooms but the city hall is located across the street and open weekdays and of course the restaurant and bar have restrooms as well.

City of Freeport
Lake Wobegon Trail Gallery 

Melrose

Trailhead Address:  116 Main St East, Melrose MN 56352 between mile 108 and 109

 

Located behind Dan Welle Car Dealership across the street from Coborn's grocery store at the corner of 2nd Ave and Main St. Small space for parking but street parking is available.  No restrooms at this locaion but just across the street Coborn's has restrooms and a deli too.  Camping is available in the Sauk River Park just a few blocks east and a block north just east of the Sauk River dam.

Sauk Centre

Trailhead Address:  826 Park Road Sauk Centre MN 56378 about mile marker 117

 

Sinclair Lewis Park serves as the trailhead for the Lake Wobegon Trail in Sauk Centre. The park is just a short 3 block ride off the trail. To get to the park go two 2 blocks east on South 2nd Street and take a left onto Willow Street for a block and the park will be on your left next to Sauk Lake. Another option is to take the sidewalk path off the trail at Fairy Lake Road North and bike about four blocks east to the park which will be on your left.

West Union

Trailhead Address:  31 Main St So West Union MN 56389  about mile 124.

 

West Union has a nice little park next to the trail with plenty of parking for riders and a shelter to enjoy your picnic lunch. There’s a little small town sculpture of farm animals for you to enjoy too along with an antique shop to visit and find some treasures to bring home from Lake Wobegon Trail Country.

Osakis

Trailhead Address:  15 Main St East, Osakis MN 56360 about mile 130

 

The trailhead is in downtown Osakis about two blocks south of Lake Oaskis... one of the best fishing lakes in MN.  There are bathrooms available at the City Offices about 100 feet south of the trail on the corner of Central Avenue and Main Street.  Osakis is the point where the Lake Wobegon Trail connects with the Central Lakes Trail.  In 2008 Garison Keillor made an appearance as part of the dedication of the "Forgotten Four Miles"conecting Sauk Centre to the rest of the Lake Wobegon Trail and the Central Lakes Trail. He asssited in driving the "Green Spike" reminicent of the Gold Spike driven when the fist transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869.
 
City of Osakis

Holdingford

Trailhead Address: 111 River Street East Holdingford MN 56340 about mile 140

 

Holdingford has one of the most unique trailheads on the trail.  They have a covered picnic area with bathrooms.  There is a freight railroad car with scenes of Holdingford painted ont he side commemorating the history of the community.  In 2009 they added miniature wooden trail with an engine and two rail cars for kids to play "railroad."  Holdingford has the longest coverd bridge in Minnesota reminicent of the Bridges of Madison County. 

Bowlus

Trailhead Address: 105 1st Ave So Bowlus MN 56314 about mile 147

 

Bowlus is technically not part of the Lake Wobegon Trail but is actually the Soo Line Trail... but we've adopted them as a part of the Lake Wobegon Trail and made them an "unofficial" Lake Wobegon Trail Community!  Bowlus has a beautiful trailhead with a community center attached to it.  The have bathrooms in the building open year around.  The owner of Jordie's Trailside Cafe located across the street from the trailhead park manages the building for the community.

Blandchard Dam

Blanchard Dam is located just east of mile marker 150.

 

The dam is an active hydroelectric plant on the Mississippi River owned by Minnesota Power and supplies electrical power to the area.  The bridge over the Mississippi at this point offers a great view the river.

Highway 10 Trailhead

The trailhead is located at about mile marker 152.

 

This is the end of the paved portion of the Soo Line Trail.  A large parking area is a available at this point along with non flush toilets.  

The Soo Line trail continues northeast from this point as an unpaved trail primarily for use by ATV's.  The trail ends just south of Superior Wisconsin.  Soo Line Trail Map

Did you know?

Trail Towns Unique Facts!

St Joseph

The name given to the town by the railroad was originally "Clinton" later it became St Joseph and is the site of the first consecrated Catholic Church in Minnesota.  St Joseph is home to St Benedict’s Monastery one of the largest Catholic women’s religious communities in the world.  

Collegeville Station

This area was originally referred to as "Sugar Bush" after the common practice of local Native American Indians collecting Sugar Maple sap to create maple sugar.  It is also the site where thousands of students over the years got off the train and made their way to St John’s Abbey and University for their college education.  The Benedictine monks came to St Cloud Minnesota in 1856 from St Vincent Abbey in Latrobe Pennsylvania and moved to the present location in 1857 and established the Abbey which is the largest Benedictine Abbey in the world.

Avon

Avon was originally called Spunk Lakes.  Legend has it the name came from the name of a local Indian Chief whose name was "Spunk"

Albany

The Albany area was referred to as "Two Rivers" from the name of the river that flows through the area and eventually flows into Two Rivers Lake northwest of Albany just south of Holdingford.  The river is also the inspiration for the Bad Battle River in Jon Hassler’s novels set in the fictional town of Staggerford Minnesota.

Freeport

"Oak Station" was the original name for Freeport because of the large oak savannas that covered the area.  The name was later changed to "Freeport" to avoid confusion with "Osakis" because the names were too similar and railroad freight was being miss-delivered because of names.  The name "Freeport" came from the Postmaster at the time, Frank Benolken.  He came from Illinois and the nearest town to where he was from was Freeport, IL.

Sauk Centre

Sauk Centre was the home town of Sinclair Lewis who was a very popular, successful and critically acclaimed author in the first half the 20th century.  His book "Main Street" was about life in a small town called "Gopher Prairie" and he used his home town as the basis for his story. Lewis received the Nobel Prize in literature in 1930 the first American author honored with the award. He published 27 books.  The townspeople of Sauk Centre were not happy with the portrayal of their town and did not embrace Lewis until much later.  The city now uses Sinclair Lewis to help promote their town. 

Holdingford

Another popular American Author Jon Hassler used Holdingford and Central Minnesota as the location for his novels.  He changed the name to "Staggerford" in his stories. He's the author of 12 novels.  He graduated from St John's University in 1955 and became a high school teacher and later a college professor.  He taught at Bemidji State and Brainerd Community College.  His last position was at St John's University where he held the positions of Regents Professor Emeritus and Writer-in-Residence.

 

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