Explore Nature’s Beauty Along the Luce Line State Trail
The Luce Line State Trail follows the corridor of a former railroad line and has been maintained by the DNR since 1976. It runs 63 miles, from the western metro suburb of Plymouth to the small town of Cosmos in west-central Minnesota.
From Plymouth to Winsted, the surface is crushed limestone, with a parallel trail for horseback riding. West of Winsted, the trail is primarily gravel, although it has a mowed-grass surface from Cedar Mills to Cosmos. In Hutchinson, a nearly 3-mile section of the trail is paved.
It crosses the southern end of Winsted, with the only break in the entire trail being a gap caused by Winsted city development. Because of the separation, there are two entry/exit points in town, one on the east side and one on the west side.
Efforts are being made by the city to entice visitors to the lakefront promenade, parks, and the downtown areas of Winsted from those Luce Line entry points.
Where the trail enters Winsted by Southview Park on the east, signage was added, titled “Winsted Byway.” Signs can be found throughout town along the trail, and they direct visitors north to Mill Reserve Park and the lakefront promenade. Plans are being considered to create a plaza entry in this area, as well, to provide trail users with seating and landscaping to make it more inviting.
A paved city trail along the north side of Main Avenue, where pedestrians previously had to use the street, was completed in 2010. Although the path doesn’t connect the gap in the trail, it’s one of the city’s efforts to provide a safe walkway through town for trail users.
The Luce Line Trail entry on the west side of Winsted is south of the Cenex Winsted Farmer’s Co-op, on the west side of McLeod County Road. About 19 miles (from the Carver County line east of Winsted to McLeod County Road 115 west of Hutchinson) was paved in 2015 in order to enhance this amenity.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) completed the trail base prep (including the creation of a parallel horse-riding trail) in 2014.
Currently, trail users going through Winsted take city streets to connect to the trail on the other side of town. In the future, Winsted hopes to create a connecting trail along Kingsley Avenue, routing people along Winsted Lake and through the downtown area. Near the Winsted Municipal Airport on the west edge, a portion of the trail is a natural mowed grass surface due to Federal Aviation Administration runway protection zone requirements. (A small section will be paved just west of the airport, next to McLeod County Road 1.)
The trail is available for multiple uses, such as hiking, biking, inline skating, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling. A parallel horse trail will also be included.