Luce Line Trail
The portion of the Luce Line State Trail west of Winsted will be paved in 2015.

Luce Line State Trail in transition

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, new signage was added in 2010, titled “Winsted Byway.” The 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 1.

The trail has received significant financial backing from the cities of Winsted, Silver Lake, and Hutchinson.

The DNR completed 23 miles of base preparation work along the trail in 2014.

Paving the western part of the Luce Line State Trail from Winsted to Cedar Mills has been in the DNR’s master plan recommendations since 1997.

After bids are received, paving will probably start in the spring/summer of 2015.

In May, the state approved $1.732 million in funding for the Luce Line, which is less than the $2 million that was requested. If project bids are higher than the funded amount, representatives will need to decide how to proceed.

Once it is completed, the trail will be available for multiple uses, such as hiking, biking, inline skating, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling. A parallel horse trail will also be included.