Driftless Hiking Trail: New Funding Package Is Big Win for Minnesota Long Trail

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz recently approved $425,000 in funding for the Minnesota Driftless Hiking Trail, a planned long-distance trail that until now has been championed solely by volunteers. The funding will be used to hire a full-time staffer and purchase new equipment.

Project coordinator Marty Walsh first envisioned the Driftless. Once complete, the route will be 100-plus miles long and offer users a sampling of southeastern Minnesota’s diverse landscapes. “Our hope is that there’s a little bit of everything: farms, prairies, woods, stream bottoms,” Walsh told Axios Twin Cities.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by MN Driftless Hiking Trail (@hikemndriftless)

More than 20 private landowners have already indicated a willingness to allow the trail to pass through their properties, but many more will need to sign on to secure a continuous right of way. The new state money will go a long way toward funding outreach to private landowners.

Walsh hopes to have at least three miles of trail completed by this summer and is aiming for the trail to be complete by 2027.

The Driftless would be the second long-distance footpath in Minnesota after the 310-mile Superior Hiking Trail, a popular route along Lake Superior in the northern part of the state.

Featured image: Minnesota Driftless Trail via X

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

What Do You Think?