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Great Northern Trail

Admission Fee



  1. Bike Trail
  2. Bird watching
  3. Trails
  4. Wildlife Viewing

The Great Northern Trail is a newly expanded paved surface popular for biking, inline skating and walking.  The paved length extends 8.5 miles from the south end in Elk River to Lion’s Park in Zimmerman and is only the start of a vision to complete trail construction on the entirety of the original 30 mile historic railroad bed where it would terminate in Milaca.  Partners have been working together to solicit input on the future expansion and plan according to community needs.

Parking for the paved portion is provided in 4 locations.

The Great Northern Trail (GNT) is a 30 mile rails to trails project located within the Great Northern Railroad alignment between Elk River and Milaca. The southern 8.5 miles of the trail are constructed as a paved bike and pedestrian trail from Elk River to Zimmerman, with a stand alone 2 mile segment within the City of Princeton. The extension project includes the remaining 19.5 undeveloped miles. The completed trail will provide an important regional connection between the Mississippi River Regional Trail and the planned Ports to Plains Trail, creating a 100+ mile loop between the cities of St. Cloud, Elk River, and Milaca. The trail will also connect visitors to important natural, recreational, and cultural resources along the corridor, such as the Milaca mountain bike trails, the Rum River Blue Trail, the Town of Brickton historic site, and the historic Princeton Railroad Depot.

To view the Great Northern Trail Master Plan CLICK HERE!