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Gandy Dancer State Trail - Northern Segment

ATVs UTVs Horseback Riding Hiking Bicycling Pets Snowmobiling Winter Activities

Aldo Leopold Legacy Trail System
Contact information
For information, contact:
Douglas County Forestry Department
PO Box 211
Solon Springs WI 54873

Wisconsin State Park System Gandy Dancer State Trail - Northern Segment

Trail passing by pond in boggy clearing

DNR Photo

LocationThis 98-mile interstate trail crosses into Minnesota and then back again into Wisconsin on its way from St. Croix Falls to its connection with the Saunders State Trail just south of Superior. In Wisconsin the trail is maintained and managed by Polk, Burnett and Douglas counties. The Minnesota DNR manages the section of the Gandy Dancer trail in Minnesota.

Built on a former railroad corridor, the trail is named for the work crews who laid the railroad tracks. The crews used tools made by the Gandy Tool Company of Chicago. The crews were known to work by keeping their voices and the movement of their feet and tools in harmony. This manner of work led the crews to become known as "Gandy Dancers."

Trail activities

The Gandy Dancer State Trail is divided into a northern segment and a southern segment and trail activities vary. The northern segment of the Gandy Dancer State Trail begins on the Minnesota side of the St. Croix River. The trail runs for 31 miles in Minnesota and then crosses back into Douglas County for 15 miles.

The trail may bring a number of different users to the trail at the same time. It is important to use good trail etiquette to ensure the enjoyment and safety of all trail users.

ATVs UTVs All-terrain vehicles

All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are allowed year-round on the trail in Douglas County. Operators must follow all Wisconsin ATV operation laws. All-terrain vehicles must display valid registration in both Wisconsin and Minnesota. Visitors from Minnesota will need a non-resident ATV trail pass to ride the Wisconsin portion. The trail also connects to the Saunders State Trail and other Douglas County ATV routes.

All-terrain vehicles and other off-road vehicles are allowed on the Gandy Dancer State Trail corridor in Minnesota. For more information and a map of the Minnesota section, visit the Gandy Dancer Trail (Minnesota) webpage [exit DNR].

All-terrain vehicles and other motorized vehicles are prohibited on the southern segment of the trail.

Horseback riding Horseback riding

The trail in Douglas County is open to horseback riding. The trail is not groomed or surfaced and may be rough or soft in many sections. Riders must share the trail with motorized vehicles.

Hiking Bicycling Pets Walking and bicycling

The entire trail is open to walking and bicycling, though bicycling is not recommended on this segment of the trail. The trail may be rough or soft in many sections. If you plan to bike the trail, the tread is more suitable for off-road bikes.

Pet owners, please be sure to have your pet on a leash, 8 feet or shorter, at all times. You must pick up after your pet.

Snowmobiling Winter activities Winter activities

Snowmobiles are permitted on the trail. Operators must follow all Wisconsin snowmobile laws. The trail also connects to numerous miles of county snowmobile trails.

The opening and closing of snowmobile trails is at the discretion of each county. Snowmobile trails which cross DNR lands are opened and closed consistent with the surrounding county (or counties). Whenever possible, the opening and closing of snowmobile trails is done on a county-wide basis, however localized conditions may require localized trail opening and closing. It is the responsibility of the county to provide notification about the status of snowmobile trails. The Travel Wisconsin Snow Conditions Report [exit DNR], and local club and county snowmobile web pages [exit DNR] and telephone hotlines will provide the most current information.

The trail is open to walking, bicycling, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, however, the trail is not groomed and users must share the trail with snowmobiles. Skiers do not need a trail pass while using the trail.

No Hunting No Hunting No Hunting and trapping allowed on trail

Hunting and trapping are not allowed on the trail corridor. For more information, please see:


The Gandy Dancer State Trail connects to the Saunders State Trail in Douglas County. The Saunders State Trail begins just south of Superior near the intersection of State Highway 35 and County Highway C.


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Last revised: Wednesday August 14 2019