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The Gateway State Trail is an 18.3-mile-long pathway that offers an urban link to the countryside. The western end of this paved trail begins on the north end of Saint Paul and heads northeast through urban and suburban landscapes along 8 miles of tree-lined corridors to the eastern edges of residential communities. As you approach Pine Springs, the mid-trail access point on 55th Street, just east of Hadley Avenue, offers ample parking and a good starting point for the more scenic and bucolic section of the Gateway State Trail’s eastern segment. Once it crosses under I-694 at the junction with MN 36, the trail continues eastward for another 10 miles through the countryside to Pine Point Regional Park. The trail offers a superb mix of parks, lakes, wetlands, and Midwestern northern prairie lands.
Multiple winter uses, including snowmobiling, are permitted along the Gateway State Trail. A 10-mile section of parallel gravel trail is also available for horseback riding along a segment located between I-694 and Pine Point Regional Park. The paved section of trail through here is groomed during the winter for cross-country skiers. Permits are required for horseback riding, carriage driving, and cross-country skiing.
The Gateway State Trail, built on the former right-of-way of the Soo Line Railroad, connects to trails in Phalen-Keller Regional Park, the Bruce Vento Regional Trail in Saint Paul, and Brown’s Creek State Trail, which links the Gateway State Trail east to Stillwater along the old Zephyr line.
The trail enters Pine Point Regional Park at its western boundary and links up with a network of trails within the park. An extension of the trail from the Stillwater area to William O’Brien State Park approximately 6 miles to the north is proposed for future development.
As of spring 2016, construction/repairs have closed the Gateway State Trail near the western trailhead in the section between L’Orient and Cayuga Streets. The trail has been temporarily rerouted along L’Orient Street, Maryland Avenue, Jackson Street, and Cayuga Street. The Gateway State Trail should reopen in the Cayuga area sometime in the summer of 2016. As part of the I-35E/Cayuga project, the trail is being extended from Cayuga Street to University Avenue.
A Minnesota Department of Natural Resources bicycle tune-up station has been installed at the intersection of the Gateway State Trail and the Bruce Vento Regional Trail. Another station, purchased by the Gateway–Brown’s Creek Trail Association, has been installed at the Hadley Avenue access point.
Restrooms are located at the 55th Street/Hadley Avenue access, MN 96 under the trail bridge, Lansing Avenue (May–October only), Pine Point Regional Park, and other adjacent city and regional parks along the route.
To reach the southern parking lot at Cayuga Park in Saint Paul (198 Cayuga St.): From I-35E, take Exit 109 onto Maryland Ave. E. Head east for 0.5 mile and turn left onto Jackson St.; travel 0.7 mile south and turn left onto Cayuga St. You will see the entrance to the parking lot in Cayuga Park on your right after 0.2 mile. From the parking lot, continue in the same direction of travel (east) along the sidewalk until you reach L’Orient St. a short distance away; you’ll see a sign indicating the beginning of the trail on your left.
To reach the northern parking lot at Pine Point Regional Park (11900 Norell Ave. N., Stillwater): From I-694 take Exit 52B. Merge onto MN 36 E., and go 5.1 miles east. Turn left onto Manning Ave. N., and in 3 miles, turn right onto MN 96/Dellwood Road. In 1.6 miles turn left onto County Road 55/Norell Ave. N., and drive 3 miles. Turn left into the park. Note that a daily permit of $5 is required for motorized vehicles entering the park.
The Gateway State is something everyone should experience. Heading east past 35E there’s a ton of scenery to soak in and trail to cover. Easy to access and easy to lose track of time exploring up to Stillwater and back. Easily my favorite trail to ride.
I have been riding this tail with my brother for over 10 years. Trail is well maintained and has benches along the way for those that want a break or stop for some water. Love this trail and use it 4 times a week when the weather permits for bike riding.
The website advised different places to park a car which made it convenient for accessing the bike trail.
The trail itself is marked very clearly with signs.
Different stations along the trail with bike repair tools, water spigots, and park benches.
Not much bike traffic so it made riding side by side easier.
I definitely recommend this bike trail.
This trail is a beautiful transition to get out of the city and into a really rural area in a nice one day ride. If you ride from St. Paul all the way to the end of the trail, you can plan some rural routes to get to local lakes. I saw many road bikers on those hilly country roads out there, when I took a wrong turn from where I was heading. I learned about this trail on an organized ride to the Square Lake Music and Film festival in early August. What a blast! You put your tent on a sag wagon for a 60's concert experience. The festival occurs on private land, but there is a Square Lake Park with swimming, camping, showers, etc. I'd love to go out there again.
Very nice ride, gentle hills, gorgeous scenery, nicely maintained, almost no interaction with cars on the part we've ridden- 694 to the park at the end.
I thought it was a beautiful trail with dense foliage in town giving way to a beautiful, more open view as you got further and further north. It was so different at the beginning that it seems like two different trails over a mere eighteen miles.
This trail is such a gift to MN. Smooth, very little worry about automobiles. Horseback riders on a dirt parallel trail at times. Saw a few goat eating trees along trail. Several free parking lots along the way. Lots of variety in scenery. Benches & port-a-potties along the way. Relatively flat with a few little hills over pedestrian bridges to keep thing interesting.
"Begin on a busy metropolitan street and quickly enter a shaded trail through lake park and golf course scenes, re-enter (briefly) a busy area near North St. Paul High School, and then prepare yourself for a shift of scenery that just gets better and better--marshes, ponds, horse trails, and forests that belie how close you are to an urban center. There are enough curves and small rises to keep you interested; the trail consists of the smoothest asphalt you will ever ride and ends with an option to turn down to the historic Stillwater area or, the other way, to a pleasant lake picnic area. This is one of the nicest links in a trail system that will eventually connect Iowa to Canada."
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