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The Gandy Dancer State Trail is a gentle and scenic drive through the Nemadji and St. Croix State Forests. The trail follows an abandoned railroad track and provides the only vehicle access to the Black Lake Bog State Natural Area. A gandy dancer was a slang term for railroad workers who built the original track. The workers used tools manufactured by the Gandy Manufacturing Company. The railroad crews were known to sing in unison with their repetitive tasks, like hammering in railroad spikes, which led to them being described as dancers. The trail is famous for birders, wildlife sightings, and wildflowers.
Before you leave for the trail, check the latest open and closure status of Minnesota Department of Natural Resource trails here.
The Gandy Dancer State Trail is an abandoned railroad grade with a maintained surface suitable for any high-clearance vehicle. The trail can be driven in any direction and has multiple pavement crossings where one can enter or exit to drive just portions of the road if desired. The Minnesota portion of the trail is open to all offroad vehicles.
Bring a saw: It is highly possible that downed timber could block the trail if you travel it shortly after a wind event. Have a saw with you in case you need to clear the road.
Winter use: The trail is groomed and is shared with ATVs and snowmobiles, connecting to the other groomed trails open to snowmobile and ATV use in MN and WI. Vehicles and ATVs are asked to stay off the trail if the temperature is above 30 degrees. Once Grooming starts, the trails are closed to ORVs.
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