Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail-Faribault to Waterville Construction Update

The Faribault to Waterville section of the Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail is currently under construction to remove old blacktop, rebuild four bridges, regrade the trail and replace the blacktop surface. The MN DNR webpage for the trail states that construction on the Faribault to Waterville section is expected to be completed by October 31, '12.  With that date fast approaching, a major portion of the trail must already be completed so I wanted to check out what work had been done and what was still needed.

I took a trip to Faribault and started at the trailhead at White Sands Park just off County Road 48 in Faribault.  This is a nice trailhead with plenty of parking, restrooms, picnic tables and an off-leash dog park.

Newly paved section of trail

The trail is newly paved for about 10.5 miles from Faribault to Jackson Avenue in Morristown.  It is very smooth and very fast compared to the blacktop that preceded it.  For those cyclists that rode the trail before this project, you remember just how rough and bumpy it was.

There is one small area in this 10.5 mile stretch that is not paved yet.  It is at Shager Park on Cannon Lake just east of Warsaw.  It only runs the length of the park's parking lot and if you want to avoid it you can detour through the parking lot.

From Jackson Avenue through Sakatah Lake State Park to Waterville it still remains unpaved.  It is packed down and ready for paving so riding this section isn't too difficult, it just slows you down a bit.  Watch for loose sections of sand and gravel along the way to prevent spills.  There is some great scenery as you pass through Sakatah Lake State Park, so don't let the unpaved trail deter you.

There are four bridges stated by the MN DNR that are being rebuilt, three of them are completed.  

The first bridge you will come to when heading west from Faribault is near Cannon Lake just past Shager Park.  It is completed and completely paved across its span.

The second is located just west of the town of Warsaw on the Cannon River and is also completed and completely paved across the full length of its span.

The third is the nicest of the four bridges with its multiple viewing cut-outs that contain seating and great views of the Cannon River.  This bridge is located just outside of Morristown.

The only bridge not completed is located in Sakatah Lake State Park a short distance past Leroy Avenue.  Crossing the bridge can be done but exercise caution as there is no safety railing.

I did come across one bridge that the MN DNR did not list on their list of bridges to be rebuilt, it was located on the north end of Shager Park.  It is completely paved but has no safety railing installed yet.

This is one project that was very needed to improve the quality of this nice trail.  It had been many years since any major repairs were made to the blacktop and the surface quality of the trail had declined in recent years.  I stayed away from it because the surface was so rough and bumpy but I am glad that the state has replaced the old asphalt with new.  It's a fast, smooth ride like it was in the 90's when it was first paved. 

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