Interstate State Park to Taylors Falls Trail


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Interstate State Park to Taylors Falls Trail Facts

States: Minnesota
Counties: Chisago
Length: 2.75 miles
Trail end points: Milltown Rd. in Interstate State Park and northern park boundary near River St.
Trail surfaces: Dirt, Grass
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016287
Trail activities: Mountain Biking, Walking

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Interstate State Park to Taylors Falls Trail Description

Until it became inactive in 1948, visitors used a rail spur to come to Taylors Falls from Minneapolis and Saint Paul to find relaxation, enjoy recreation, and see the rare Glacial Gardens of Interstate State Park.

Today, the former rail corridor hosts a small trail network—the Interstate State Park to Taylors Falls Trail—comprising two trails that run briefly along either side of the St. Croix, Minnesota’s only designated National Wild and Scenic River. One trail segment, the Railroad Trail, runs 1.5 miles on the northwest side of US 8/MN 95, somewhat removed from the river and among a densely forested canopy.

The 1.25-mile River Trail follows along the steep, forested slopes high above the river on the southeast side of US 8/MN 95. Together, they form a trail loop that can be accessed at either end of the parking lot at Taylors Falls past the boat rental area in the state park parking lot or from near the park headquarters in the southern state park unit on Milltown Road.

Both routes are fairly level but have steep stairways along segments of each trail. The trails can be taken independently or can be started at either end to create a 2.75-mile loop route that goes along the beautiful St. Croix River and through a dense corridor of Minnesota hardwoods. The north end of both the Railroad Trail and River Trail are linked by a short two-block segment along city streets (Government Street and First Street) and a pedestrian river walkway.

Trail users can snowshoe and cross-country ski on the railroad section of the trail during winter, but the river section of the trail would provide a challenge for snowshoers and would be too rough for cross-country skiing. Other park activities include climbing the bluffs along the river, flat-water canoeing, kayaking in the rapids, and taking an excursion by tour boat. During spring the park is alive with wildflowers, and during fall the forests turn brilliant colors. You can also see 10 different kinds of lava flow that are exposed in the park as well as glacial potholes and other geological features.

Future development associated with the trail includes the Swedish Immigrant Trail Project that will connect the cities of Taylors Falls, Shafer, Center City, Lindstrom, Chisago City, and Wyoming in southern Chisago County with a multiuse trail.

Parking and Trail Access

Interstate State Park is approximately 45 miles northeast of Minneapolis/Saint Paul on US 8. Parking and restrooms are available at both Taylors Falls and in the southern unit of Interstate State Park.

To reach Interstate State Park, take I-35 N. to Exit 132 (there is no exit from I-35 S.). Head east on US 8, and go 20.7 miles. Turn right onto Milltown Road into the park.

To reach parking at the north trailhead, take I-35 N. to Exit 132 (there is no exit from I-35 S.). Head east on US 8, and go 21.7 miles. Turn right onto South St. to access the parking lot.

Interstate State Park to Taylors Falls Trail Reviews

This is a nice short natural surface trail that runs along an old railroad bed. The old railroad bridges have been removed, so the southwest end has a lot of steps that lead down to or up from the main State Park camping area. Large Sandstone bluffs stick out above the treeline in a couple places and it's a great trail to walk when the leaves turn in the Fall.

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