5 Top Walking and Running Trails in Rochester, Minnesota

May 24, 2016

Walking-Running-Trails-Rochester.jpgAccording to our world-famous Mayo Clinic, regular exercise helps us control our weight, combat disease, improve our moods, and boost energy. Fortunately, there are excellent walking and running trails right here in Rochester to help us get the exercise we need while taking in our beautiful surroundings. If you haven't explored the following trails, get outside and start enjoying them today.

1. Douglas-Cascade Trail
Valleyhigh Dr NW & Prow N NW

When you're in the mood for an urban run or walk, hop on the Douglas-Cascade Trail. This fully paved trail follows the former Chicago Great Western Railroad and hooks up with the Douglas State Trail at the southern end. The southern trailhead has a parking lot and restrooms, making it a great place to meet up with friends who want to join you.

2. Great River Ridge State Trail
3rd St SW (Near S Wabasha St)

With hills, farms and trees abound, there's plenty of lovely scenery to appreciate in the springtime at Great River Ridge State Trail. At the Plainview trailhead, there's a parking lot with picnic tables, and at the southern end there's a portable toilet, but there aren't a lot of amenities in between. Therefore, plan ahead before you get out and enjoy this 13-mile long trail.

3. Douglas State Trail
Center Dr (Between 1st Ave NE and 3rd Ave N)

The Douglas State Trail is a double trail—a paved trail over the entire route as well as a parallel natural surface treadway that's perfect for snowmobilers and horseback riders. It's a very nice trail on a hot, sunny day as much of the trail is covered with a nice canopy of trees. You'll get to see the farm country north of Rochester and glimpses of the meandering Zumbro River. Passing through Pine Island, you'll see a little historic architecture and have a chance to stop at a local cafe.

4. Quarry Hill Nature Center
701 Silver Creek Rd NE

This 320-acre park area has more than eight miles of trails covering woodlands, meadows, prairies and oak savannas. Whether you’re looking to get in shape, reduce stress, or simply enjoy nature, these Center’s diverse habitats bring immediate rewards—including lots of opportunities for bird-watching.

5. Goodhue Pioneer State Trail
Pioneer Rd and Hay Creek Valley Rd
Red Wing

The Goodhue Pioneer State Trail isn't finished quite yet, but much of it is open for walkers, bikers, inline skaters, horseback riders, snowmobilers, and cross-country skiers. When completed, it will be a 47-mile trail linking the cities between Red Wing and Pine Island. These towns were once connected by a railroad, but in the near future they'll be linked by a trail full of healthy and happy Minnesotans enjoying the scenery.

Have you had a chance to explore any of these trails? Do you know of other top Rochester trails? Let us know in the comments section below!

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