Dakota Rail Regional Trail

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The Dakota Rail Trail runs 26.5 miles (42.6 km) from Wayzata to Mayer, Minnesota. Heading west from Wayzata the first 13 miles[1] are in Hennepin County, Minnesota, and the next 13.5 miles[2] are in Carver County, Minnesota. Along the way it runs through many towns including Spring Park and St. Bonifacius.


The line was charted 1885 by James J Hill, and the St. Paul and Pacific Railway, later Great Northern Railway.[citation needed] It was known as the "Hutch Spur".

Great Northern merged with Northern Pacific Railway, which formed Burlington Northern Railroad. Burlington Northern sold the line to Dakota Rail in 1985, where it operated both freight and dinner trains.

In 1995, RailAmerica purchased the Dakota Rail. The last train left Hutchinson in 2001, when the line was abandoned. It was bought up by Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority, Carver County and McLeod County.

Despite being more than a decade since the rail line was officially abandoned, there are still remnants of the past railroad use including an engine house in Spring Park, various trestles, a rail spur in Mound, a rail spur at a scrapyard in Hutchinson, and a dead-end track from the Wayzata Subdivision jutting to the west and ending at the beginning of the Dakota Rail Trail.

Hennepin County[edit]

In 2008, Hennepin County (Three Rivers Park District) began building the Dakota Rail Trail. It was completed from Wayzata to St. Bonifacius in July 2009.

Carver County[edit]

In spring 2010, Carver County began construction of the section from St. Bonifacius to Mayer. The trail section runs 7 miles. It officially opened May 21, 2011.

Carver County will extend the trail in 2012 from Mayer, west through New Germany to the Carver/McLeod County Line.

The former railroad property runs west to Hutchinson MN, but plans are not known at this time for the future trail development west of Carver County.


Perhaps the most loved bridge is the bridge over Crystal Bay in Minnetonka Beach, nicknamed the Arcola Trestle.

It consists of several spans of trestles with 2 Through Plate Girder sections.

Another popular one is the Seton Channel Bridge in Spring Park.

It is similar to the Arcola Trestle, only there is 1 Through Plate Girder Section.

A couple more are:

  • Tanger Lake Trestle, Orono
  • Lake Waconia Trestle (Burlington Northern Bridge #40.3), Lake Waconia


  1. ^ http://www.threeriversparks.org/trails/dakota-rail-trail.aspx. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ http://www.co.carver.mn.us/departments/PW/parks/dakota_rail_regional_trail.asp. Missing or empty |title= (help)

Coordinates: 44°54′24.5″N 93°44′11.5″W / 44.906806°N 93.736528°W / 44.906806; -93.736528