Gandy Dancer Trail

Gandy Dancer

This 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 southern segment of the Gandy Dancer trail begins in St. Croix Falls, near Interstate State Park. The southern segment travels for 47 miles in Wisconsin through the communities of Centuria, Milltown, Luck, Frederic, Siren and Webster, ending in the town of Danbury at the Minnesota border. Here a 520-foot trestle crosses the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway into Minnesota.

Winter ATV/UTV use is allowed on a segment of the trail in Burnett County. Details are under the Winter activities listing farther down on this page.

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.

  • Wisconsin Trail Etiquette and Safety Guidelines [PDF]

The level grade and limestone surface make this trail suitable for bicyclists, walkers and joggers. A state trail pass is required for bicycling. You can buy annual and daily passes from designated vendors along the trail or at the Polk and Burnett County tourism centers.

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.

The western terminus of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail is at Interstate State Park on the St. Croix River. The Ice Age Trail follows the Gandy Dancer State Trail corridor for about 19 miles from St. Croix Falls past the town of Luck and then continues east towards Straight Lake State Park.

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.

Depending on the snow base and location, motorized recreational vehicles (snowmobiles, ATVs and UTVs) are allowed on the south segment of the trail under specific conditions. From December 1 through March 31 you may operate your snowmobile, ATV and UTV on the Gandy Dancer Trail when there is a 4-inch groomed snow base and trails are officially open. If there is no snow, the trail is open for ATV and UTV use once the Frozen Ground Trail System is open. The trail also connects to numerous miles of county winter trails.

  • Burnett County trail conditions [exit DNR]
  • Snowmobile operators must follow all Wisconsin snowmobile laws.
  • All ATV/UTV riders must follow all applicable ATV/UTV regulations.

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

  • Hunting and trapping in Wisconsin State Parks

The southern segment of the Gandy Dancer trail follows the route of State Highway 35. There are parking, trail access points, accommodations and services in St. Croix Falls, Centuria, Milltown, Frederic, Siren, Webster and Danbury. Additional parking and rest rooms are also available at several places along the southern portion of the trail. The Polk County Information Center is at the junction of State Highway 8, State Highway 87, State Highway 35 and the trail.

  • Wisconsin State Park System volunteering opportunities
  • Burnett County [exit DNR]
  • Polk County [exit DNR]
  • St. Croix Falls [exit DNR]
  • Gandy Dancer Trail – Burnett County [exit DNR]
  • Gandy Dancer Trail – Burnett County Segment Interactive Map [exit DNR]
  • Gandy Dancer Trail – Polk County [exit DNR]
  • Burnett County Parks [exit DNR]
  • Polk County Parks [exit DNR]
  • St. Croix Falls [exit DNR]
  • St. Croix National Scenic Riverway [exit DNR]
  • Forts Folle Avoine Historical Park [exit DNR]
  • Northwest Wisconsin [exit DNR]

Last revised: Monday May 06 2019

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