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Lake Wobegon Trail, Stearns County, Minnesota

The Lake Wobegon Trail travels through the heart of the mythical land celebrated in the Prairie Home Companion radio show; read Garrison Keillor's remarks at the trail opening.

Photos by Chuck Wocken

Map of Minnesota

The Lake Wobegon Trail travels through the heart of the mythical land created by internationally known humorist Garrison Keillor. Every week on public radio Keillor reports the news from this mythical place where "all the women are strong, the men are good looking, and the children above average." For years, Keillor had talked about this mythical place. At the grand opening of the Lake Wobegon Trail and in an article he wrote for the National Geographic in December 2000, he confirmed that Lake Wobegon is located in rural Stearns County.

Photo of group  cutting ribbon across trail
Opening the Lake Wobegon Trail

The entire trail is currently 50 miles long. The 28 mile Avon to Sauk Centre section has an asphalt surface. The 9 mile Albany to Holingford (the most Wobogenic of cities, according to Garrison Keillor) section has been recently paved, and an additional nine miles of asphalt surface trail was constructed from Avon to St. Joseph. The trail also connects to Sauk Centre hometown of noted author Sinclair Lewis and the beautiful campus of St. Johns University. Lewis' Nobel Prize winning novel, "Main Street," was based on this small town.

he Lake Wobegon Trail is a joint project of Stearns County Parks, seven local cities, the Minnesota Dept. of Transportation and a variety of citizen volunteer groups.

Photo of people walking on paved trail next to snowmmobiler
Winter use on the trail includes both motorized and non-motorized activities

The Lake Wobegon Trail has become a focus for trail connections. Todd County on the west end of the Wobegon Trail has asked that the Wobegon Trail be extended west into their county.

Morrison County on the north end of the Wobegon Trail has asked that the trail be extended north to connect to the Paul Bunyan Trail.

The city of St. Cloud has asked that the Wobegon Trail be extended to the east into the metropolitan area of St. Cloud.


photo of snowmobile and trail signs
Snowmobiling on the Lake Wobegon Trail

Citizens in their 70s and 80s are maintaining and improving their health through their enjoyment of the trail. College athletes as using it as a safe training site. Families are coming together to enjoy the outdoors and exercise together.

But finally, the trail is about fun, according to Garrison Keillor:

On the Lake Wobegon Trail
Through farm and valley and dale
In the autumn sunshine
Oh what is so fine
As a ride with your pals
On the Great Northern line

For more information:

Stearns County Park Department - (320) 255-6172

The trail's website is at

The National Recreation Trails Program
American Trails, P.O. Box 491797, Redding, CA 96049-1797 (530) 547-2060 Fax: (530) 547-2035

Photo of smiling bicyclist
Great Allegheny Passage (photo by Maryi Shaw)

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