By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

The Central Lakes Trail, Minnesota’s 23rd state trail, runs along an abandoned railroad corridor purchased by the State of Minnesota in 1992. Otter Tail County was among the governmental agencies working with local volunteers to finance construction of the trail. 

It was a long process. The project took 12 years to complete and involved many partners. The Central Lakes Trail was dedicated in August 2005 with celebration rides originating in Osakis and Fergus Falls.

Today the 55-mile-long trail runs from Fergus Falls to Osakis. Towns along the way include Dalton, Ashby, Evansville, Garfield and Alexandria. 

There’s much to see along the Central Lakes Trail all four seasons of the year. Included are wildlife and a variety of trees and plants. It is very common to see deer and a large number of bird species, including an occasional eagle along the trail.

The Central Lakes Trail and the Lake Wobegon Trail were finally connected in August 2007, extending from Osakis to St. Joseph (48 miles) and also to Holdingford, northwest of St. Cloud.