Longboard Trails in Minnesota

by Goody Clairenstein
Discover all that Minnesota's paved recreational trails have to offer longboarders.

Discover all that Minnesota's paved recreational trails have to offer longboarders.

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Minnesota is home to many paved recreational trails that are used and enjoyed by everyone from hikers to bikers and longboard skateboarders. Longboards are engineered for maximum enjoyment on smooth, paved surfaces, which every region of Minnesota has in spades. Wherever you are in Minnesota, you're sure to find a new favorite longboarding trail.

Northern Minnesota

The Mesabi Recreational Trail (mntrails.com/poi/mesabi-trail) connects Grand Rapids and Eveleth, crossing through Hibbing and Virginia. The paved, zigzagging trail makes for exciting longboarding, as it includes both climbs and descents. The Mesabi is also relatively isolated, with little highway noise and few residences in sight. Go to the Paul Bunyan Trail (mntrails.com/poi/paul-bunyan-state-trail) for a whopping 88.5 miles of mostly level, paved trail that's easier for inexperienced longboarders to handle. Crossing through a popular vacation spot for Minnesotans, the Paul Bunyan Trail goes through Crow Wing State Park and the Chippewa National Forest.

Northeastern Minnesota

For a scenic longboarding trail offering vistas of Lake Superior and the Sawtooth Mountains, check out the Gitchi Gami State Trail (mntrails.com/poi/gitchi-gami-trail). The 86-mile-long Gitchi Gami runs parallel to Highway 61, the Superior Hiking Trail and the Lake Superior Water Trail. The Willard Munger State Trail (mntrails.com/poi/willard-munger-state-trail) has 55 miles of paved surface that's excellent for longboarding. Named for a long-serving state representative from Duluth, the Willard Munger trail takes longboarders through state parks, rock outcroppings and lake shoreline.

Southern Minnesota

The Dakota Rail Trail (mntrails.com/poi/dakota-trail) extends from Wayzata to St. Bonifacius. Paved over a former railroad bed, the Dakota is a quiet and level trail that will appeal to longboarders who want a long stretch of paved surface for practicing. For residents of the greater St. Paul and Minneapolis area, the Gateway Trail (mntrails.com/poi/gateway-trail) extends for 18.3 miles, beginning in the heart of St. Paul and running through suburbia and forests to Pine Point Park. The Cannon Valley Trail (mntrails.com/poi/cannon-valley-trail) charges riders a $3 wheel pass -- or a $20 seasonal pass -- that goes toward trail maintenance. The Cannon Valley Trail runs 20 miles, from Cannon Falls to Red Wing, and is less than an hour away from the St. Paul-Minneapolis metropolitan area.

Central Minnesota

Longboarders have less to worry about when sharing the Glacial Lakes Trail (mntrails.com/poi/glacial-lakes-trail), which has a separate branch exclusively for horseback riders. Glacial Lakes has 22 miles of paved recreational trail, extending from Wilmar to Paynesville. The terrain -- marked by rolling hills, prairie lakes and woodlands -- was created by glacial movement tens of thousands of years ago. The Lake Wobegon Trail (mntrails.com/poi/lake-wobegon-trail) runs for 50 miles, stretching from St. Joseph to Osakis. It also offers access to the campus of St. John's University as it crosses through Collegeville. Go to the Soo Line West (mntrails.com/poi/soo-line-west), beginning in Holdingford or Bowlus, for a more remote longboarding excursion. The Bowlus endpoint of the trail has bathroom facilities and parking available, and a trailhead is also accessible from Highway 10.

About the Author

Goody Clairenstein has been a writer since 2004. She has sat on the editorial board of several non-academic journals and writes about creative writing, editing and languages. She has worked in professional publishing and news reporting in print and broadcast journalism. Her poems have appeared in "Small Craft Warnings." Clairenstein earned her Bachelor of Arts in European languages from Skidmore College.

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