About the Lake Wobegon Trail
Along the Trail
Church steeples, colleges, cows, lakes and the mythical city of Lake Wobegon greet you on the Lake Wobegon Trail as it passes through the state’s leading dairy county, seven communities, two colleges, two monasteries, lakes and the boyhood home of Nobel Prize winner Sinclair Lewis.
Start your trip on the eastern end of the trail at Rivers Edge Park in Waite Park and travel across the Sauk River on this newest stretch of the Lake Wobegon Trail.
The St. Joseph trailhead is easy to find, just under the water tower. A few miles west of St. Joseph, see the old town of Collegeville, which now consists of only a few homes, but once had a popular train depot, boarding house, post office and store. You can turn left at Collegeville for a 2.5-mile side trip to Saint John’s University. At Avon, you’ll find shelters, bathrooms, a water fountain and a two-storied lookout tower/shelter that gives you a bird’s eye view of the surrounding region.
The next 5.5 miles are perhaps the most beautiful along this stretch of trail, with deeper woods, prairies and lakes. Keep an eye out for Lady’s Slipper orchids in May and June.
Just west of Albany, a spur of the Lake Wobegon Trail goes north to Holdingford, home of Minnesota’s longest covered bridge. This spur connects with the paved Soo Line Trail at the county line and offers pastoral views of a natural landscape.
The Soo Line trail goes through Bowlus, crosses the Mississippi River at Blanchard Dam and ends at a trailhead on Highway 10.
West of Albany, you’ll find Freeport, the birthplace of Lake Wobegon. Garrison Keillor is said to have had the inspiration for some of his fictional places here.
Head west to Melrose, home of the historic St. Mary’s Church and Rectory and the Melrose Area Museum. The official Melrose Trailhead is across the road near the Melrose Feed Mill.
When you arrive in Sauk Centre, take a detour to see the Original Main Street made famous by Sinclair Lewis in his novel, Main Street. Farther up, you will find a city trail dropping back to Sinclair Lewis Park where you can find camping, bathrooms and parking. The 12-mile stretch between Sauk Centre and Osakis veers off into the country through the tiny town of West Union before entering Osakis, the western terminus
To the west of Osakis, continue on to the Central Lakes State Trail, a 55-mile paved trail to Fergus Falls. On the eastern end of the trail, an extension into Waite Park the so-called Saintly Seven, is currently being worked on. At the Stearns/Morisson county line to the north, the Wobegon connects to the paved Soo Line Trail.
The Saintly Seven is a reality!
The final segment of the Lake Wobegon Trail, the “Saintly Seven” now connects the Lake Wobegon Trail east into Waite Park.
Construction on this last segment started in late summer of 2017 and was completed in early summer of 2018.
A connection to Saint Cloud‘s Beaver Island Trail is currently being discussed.