The Douglas State Trail is a scenic tour through some of southern Minnesota's most fertile farm country. It is a 12.5 mile trail on a former railroad grade that is designated as multi-use providing paved trail access to cyclists, skaters, hikers and has a separate natural surface treadway for horseback riders.
|Pine Island Trailhead|
There are three trailhead accesses to choose from to start your ride. The first is in northwestern Rochester, the second is at about the halfway point in Douglas and the third is in Pine Island.
All three have plenty of parking, picnic areas and restroom facilities. The Pine Island trailhead contains the Borrow-A-Bike program for those that would like to ride the trail but do not own a bike.
The trail has recently been widened and repaved for a smooth ride along its full length. You will experience quiet, peaceful rural views of rolling croplands, farms and woods along the way. Most of the trail is canopied with trees which makes it a great choice to ride on hot or windy days.
You will encounter multiple bridges along the way that cross creeks and roads. The two bridges in Pine Island that were damaged in the floods of 2010 have been replaced with new ones opening up the section of trail that had been closed for the last two years.
|Crossing the Zumbro River|
|One of the new bridges in Pine Island|
If you are looking to extend your ride mileage, the trail connects to more the 60 miles of Rochester city trails. Overall, I enjoyed this trail and found it worth the drive to experience the scenery it has to offer.