About the Trail
It’s like a puzzle: You snap in one more piece and the picture becomes clear: Let’s build a recreational route with national significance, winding through Minnesota farmland and state parks, around lakes and over rivers. Can you picture a scenic route connecting communities hundreds of miles apart and stretching from Fergus Falls to Cass Lake and St. Joseph to Bemidji? Yes, all you have to do is put in that one puzzle piece.
A trail like no other
The Camp Ripley/Veterans State Trail officially received state trail authorization in 2009. When completed, it will provide a connection between Crow Wing State Park and the SOO Line Regional Trail. It will link the Central Lakes, Lake Wobegon, SOO Line, Paul Bunyan, Heartland and Mi-Gi-Zi Trails to be one continuous recreational route. As a first in Minnesota recreational trail construction, it will also be a true multi-use trail from its inception and will be for motorized as well as non-motorized users. This has never been done in Minnesota State Trail history. A corridor study has been completed, and the DNR finished the master plan. A formal path has yet to be determined, but the Camp Ripley/Veterans State Trail will be a unique experience, it is not a rails to trails conversion.
Along the way you will have access to Charles A. Lindbergh State Park, Crow Wing State Park, the Crow Wing and Mississippi Rivers, and many other natural and historic sites. The trail will make Little Falls the hub of an interconnected trail system of hundreds of miles and provide access to the communities of Baxter, Brainerd, Pillager, Randall, and Fort Ripley. In addition, the Camp Ripley Veterans State Trail will be a part of the Mississippi River Trail Bikeway (MRT), a designated route from the Mississippi Headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico.
The driving force behind this project is the Camp Ripley/Veterans State Trail Committee, which has been holding regular monthly meetings since the fall of 2009. Local trail advocates joined with the counties of Cass, Crow Wing, and Morrison, surrounding communities and townships, Region 5 Development Commission, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and the National Park Service to form the Camp Ripley/Veterans State Trail Committee. This hardworking group has made considerable progress towards making this vital trail connection a reality.
Representatives of different user groups, motorized and non-motorized, are working together to make sure this trail will be an enjoyable experience for everyone.