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Gandy Dancer Trail Image

History  Polk County  Distances  Facilities
General Trail I
nformation  Pass Information  Trail Map
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History

This 98-mile recreational trail follows the old Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie railroad grade from St. Croix Falls north to Superior.  This grade was commercially used for approximately 100 years starting in the late 1880s.  Upon abandonment, part of the corridor was purchased by Burnett County and the State of Wisconsin for use as a recreational trail.

Railroad history is remembered in the name "Gandy Dancer."  Hand crews, who built and maintained the tracks, used railroad tools manufactured by the Chicago-based Gandy Tool Company.  Often the crews used vocal and mechanical cadences to synchronize the swinging of their hand tools or the movement of their feet.  Hence the name "Gandy Dancer" reminds us of the past crews who built the railroads.

 

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Polk County

The trail begins at St. Croix Falls and passes through Centuria, Milltown, Luck, Frederic and Lewis.  The short distances between these towns makes the Gandy Dancer Trail the most user friendly trail in the Midwest with easy access for food, lodging, parking and other areas to explore.  The Polk County Information Center in St. Croix Falls offers information on the many attractions along the Trail as well as in the County.  Visit the restored railroad depot and area museum in Frederic or include a side trip to the Interstate Park along the St. Croix River.

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Distances

Mileage between towns along the Gandy Dancer Trail are as follows.
 
St. Croix Falls to Centuria 4.5 miles
Centuria to Milltown 6.2 miles
Milltown to Luck 3.7 miles
Luck to Frederic 6.1 miles
Frederic to Lewis 5.4 miles
Lewis to Siren 5.7 miles
Siren to Webster 6.6 miles
Webster to Danbury 8.9 miles

The entire Gandy Dancer Trail is marked with mile post signs.

 

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Facilities

FACILITIES Parking Shelter/
Picnic Area
Campground Restroom
Polk County Tourism Center YES NO NO YES
Centuria Village Park YES YES NO YES
Milltown Village Park YES YES NO YES
Luck Village Park YES YES NO YES
Frederic Depot YES YES NO YES
Coon Lake Park YES YES NO YES
Interstate State Park YES YES YES YES

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General Trail Information

The 98-mile recreation trail follows the railroad grade from St. Croix Falls north to Superior.  Recreational use on the Trail is divided by geographic location: south half and north half.  The south trail segment extends 47 miles from St. Croix Falls to Danbury, paralleling Hwy. 35 most of the distance.  This segment was surfaced with crushed limestone in 1995 and offers a smooth, hard surfaced trail with use limited to biking and hiking from April through November. A bike pass is required.

The north segment runs 51 miles from Danbury through eastern Minnesota to Superior.  The segment offers a wilder, more remote trail experience.  Hiking, mountain biking and ATV use is permitted.  No pass is needed to use the north section of the Trail, but ATVs must display valid registration.

Photo by Jerry Boucher

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Pass Information

A Wisconsin State Trail Pass is required of all bicyclists 16 years of age or older riding the Trail between St. Croix Falls and Danbury.  A Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Conservation Patron license will be honored as a bike pass.  Trail passes must be visibly displayed when using the Trail.  A pass is not needed for hiking.  Handicapped/disabled persons in wheel chairs do not need a pass. 

Trail passes are available at the Polk and Burnett County Tourism Centers and from business vendors located in communities along the Trail.  Pass fees are $4 for a daily pass and $20 for an annual pass--subject to change. 

Trail passes are issued to individuals, not bikes.  As such trail passes cannot be passed from person to person or shared with others. 

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Trail Map

Polk County Map of the Gandy Dancer Trail

Entire Gandy Dance Trail

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History  Polk County  Distances  Facilities
General Trail I
nformation  Pass Information  Trail Map

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1-800-222-POLK
 

Copyright © 2010 Polk County Information Center.