Dakota Rail Regional Trail

Description: The Dakota Rail Regional Trail (DRT) is open from the western Carver County line, roughly 2 miles west of New Germany and spanning 12.5 miles across the County to St. Bonifacius.  In Hennepin County the trail continues another 13 miles, through St. Bonifacius, along Lake Minnetonka and ends in Wayzata, this portion of trail is operated by Three Rivers Park District.


General Trail Information:

  • The Dakota Rail Regional Trail is a 44 mile former railroad corridor in the counties of Hennepin, Carver, and McLeod.
    • In Carver County, the Dakota Rail Regional Trail is 12.5 miles in length extending from the east Carver/Hennepin county line near Lake Waconia to the Carver/McLeod county line near the City of New Germany.
    • Phase 1 construction of the Dakota Rail Regional Trail in Carver County took place in 2010, constructing 7 miles of paved trail from the Hennepin County Line east to hidden Crossing Rd in Mayer.
    • Phase 2 construction took place in 2012, paving an additional 5.5 miles of trail from Hidden Crossing Road in Mayer, west to the Carver/McLeod County line, just west of New Germany.
    • McLeod County anticipates construction of the trail corridor extension to Lester Prairie in 2019.
  • This trail is designated as a multi-use corridor. Approved uses for the trail include walking/hiking, biking, running, dog walking (on 6′ leash) inline skating, and roller skiing. Please share the trail with all users respectfully.
  • Cross traffic DOES NOT STOP at trail/roadway intersections. Trail users must obey all signage, stopping at each trail/road intersection. Trail patrol officers will cite offenders.
    • Trail bollards have been installed at four locations along the corridor to enhance user safety at trail/roadway intersections.

Length: 44 miles

Scenery:  The Dakota Rail Regional Trail is a popular attraction for bikers, in-line skaters and hikers. The 13 mile paved trail offers spectacular views of luxurious Lake Minnetonka and passes through a variety of scenic areas, including wetlands, wooded areas and agricultural land.  In Carver County, an additional 12.5 miles of paved trail extends west of St. Bonifacius to New Germany.

Wayzata is a perfect place to start your trip on the Dakota Rail. You can grab lunch and supplies in downtown Wayzata. Then travel to the Dakota Rail Trail head, at 175 Grove Lane, where you can park your car FREE in 1 of the spaces reserved for trail riders. After your skate, take a dip at Shafer Park’s beach next to the Wayzata trailhead.

Dakota Rail Regional Trail - Wayzata Trailhead Entrance
Dakota Rail Regional Trail – Wayzata Trailhead Entrance.

St Bonifacious is also a fantastic place to begin, too. You can skate the relatively mildly used Carver County portion of the trail from St. Bonifacious to New Germany, then head back for lunch at St. Bonis Bistro next to St. Bonifacious City Offices.

To avoid any substantial inclines, Mound is a fantastic place to begin.  You can skate toward Wayzata to view luxurious living on Lake Minnetonka.  After your group skate, many unique locally owned restaurants are nearby for a group lunch or dinner.

Parking and Trail Access: 

To access the trail in St. Bonifacious; from Minneapolis, take Highway 100 to Highway 7 West.  From MN 7, travel approximately 36 miles West to Bell Street. Take a right onto Bell Street for 0.1 mile and park in the free parking areas in front of St. Bonifacious City Offices and Community Centers.  The trail is adjacent to the parking lot.

Midway on the trail (you will avoid substantive hills beginning here); parking is available in Mound.  From the Twin Cities, take I-394 W and US-12 W to County Rd 15 / Shoreline Dr. in Wayzata. Take the County Rd 15 W exit from US-12 W.  Follow County Rd 15 / Shoreline Dr to Auditors Rd. Take a left on Auditors Rd where you Dakota Rail Trail Parking will be located. The trail is adjacent to the parking lot.

To access the trail in Wayzata; from Minneapolis, take I -394 to west which becomes US-12 West.  Take the 101 exit south then turn right onto Wayzata Blvd E. (Cty. Rd. 15). Turn left onto Barry Ave for 0.2 miles, continue onto Grove Ln E. The destination will be on your left.  Park at the T & T Boatworks parking lot at 294 Grove Ln E.

Difficulty:  Most of the Dakota Rail Regional Trail is flat with a  moderate hill to navigate to get to the trail from Wayzata’s Boatworks parking lot.  Once on the trail, the trail is a flat smoother trail with some wooden bridges / paver sections and many trail/roadway intersections to negotiate. Due to slight hills in Wayzata and another on a overpass bridge in St. Bonifacious, along with busy trail/roadway intersections, and higher trail use levels near Lake Minnetonka, ROBICHON’S Skate Ventures rates the trail difficulty as a green blue or advanced beginner trail. Skaters should skate alert and be able to manage slight terrain changes, and moderate inclines and declines.

Usage: The number of users is mild to high.  At this time, skaters will encounter bikers and pedestrians more often than skaters on The Dakota Rail Regional Trail. The section from St. Bonifacious to New Germany has mild to moderate use. Traffic decreases the closer a skater travels to New Germany. Expect higher levels of trail use from Wayzata to Mound.

Surface Condition:   From St. Bonifacious toward Mayer expect fresh smoothly paved flat asphalt which creates a very good skating surface.  If starting at St. Bonifacious City Offices, you do need to navigate over a bridge to get to flat smooth skating. After Mayer the trail is relatively flat, yet older and somewhat weathered. Be prepared to avoid tar patched surfaces, which prove hazardous to skaters, especially when heated.

From Wayzata to Mound, you will encounter a slight hill toward the trail. Once on the trail the trail is flat and smoother asphalt. Skaters must skate aware as the trail crosses many uncontrolled motor vehicle use intersections. Skaters should slow while approaching each intersection to assess oncoming traffic and determine if they should stop altogether.  Whether slowing or stopping, always stay alert to intersections and proceed with caution through intersections.

Water: No water source is available while on the Dakota Rail Regional Trail.  Some local restaurant establishments are just off the trail that may be kind in offering you water, but it is best to carry water or a sport drink during your skate. Hydration  and electrolyte replacement is key during exercise.

Ability Level Recommendations: SV recommends proficiency in OSB Level 1-4, and trail skate classes. Skaters who can stop, start and turn with ease on flats,  navigate mild to moderate terrain changes, and up and down moderate inclines are prepared for Dakota Rail Regional Trail.  Critical Skate Ventures skills needed are, the defensive skate position, stabilizer, heel brake stop, heel pump stop, grass stop and modified trail stride.

Fitness Recommendations: Skate Ventures skaters who can skate up to 6 miles on advanced beginner trails with some ease.

Trails that Connect:  The Southwest Regional Trail Connection is a developing 13 mile trail corridor between the cities of Chaska and Victoria. The trail, when completed will connect the Minnesota River Bluffs Regional Trail to the Lake Minnetonka Regional Trail creating a looping trail network between the three trails.

Minnesota River Bluffs Trail

Lake Minnetonka Regional Trail






Link:  Dakota Rail Regional Trail  official website

Three Rivers Park Dakota Rail Regional Trail Website

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ROBICHON’S Lesson Meeting Location:  ROBICHON’S skate instructors will alternate meeting locations depending on  inline skate class objectives.  We will send further details on meeting location after participant registration.

  1. Disclaimer: always skate with caution as skate surface conditions change from day to day, season to season due to weather changes. 
  2. Last updated: 04/17/20