Woman biking on MRT

Mississippi River Trail


Mn/DOT volunteers evaluating route


  • Mississippi River Trail is established south of St. Louis, MO as an economic development strategy for the Delta Region (1996 to 2000).
  • Route extension embraced by the northern five states to the river’s headwaters (1999).
  • MnDOT, in partnership with the Department of Interior, partially signed the route for 72 miles throughout the Twin Cities within the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (2009).


Community Engagement Report (summary of the work below)

  • Reviewed and refined the route based on collaborative statewide meetings;
  • Conducted evaluation rides to confirm route decisions made in the meetings;
  • Introduced the concept of bicycle-friendly communities along the route;
  • Prepared and posted a GIS-interactive MRT map and a series of printable maps on MnDOT’s website;
  • Developed a marketing toolbox to enhance local marketing efforts and promote the MRT.
  • Completed a signing plan for segments located on state highways.

(2011-SPRING 2012)    

MnDOT is working on the second phase of its two-year effort to revisit the route to cooperatively evaluate and refine what makes a great bicycle route.  Work includes:

  • Convene additional statewide meetings to improve the alignment and coordinate activities and expectations amongst MRT’s road and trail authorities.  Concentrate on: 2010 areas needing additional review; the National Park Service’s Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) in the Twin Cities; and on developing recommended design guidance for off-road segments in MNRRA; 
  • Implement marketing and outreach.  Encourage formation of mutually beneficial marketing partnerships within the public and private sectors and within select communities facilitate local marketing action plans and bicycle-friendliness recommendations;
  • Complete a signing plan for road and off-road segments not located on state highways;
  • Post improved GIS-interactive and printable maps on MnDOT’s and other’s website for the 2012 bicycling season.  Evaluate the need for hard-copied maps for general distribution;
  • Develop and implement cooperative MRT management with road and trail authorities.

WRAP UP (FALL 2012 and Beyond)    

  • Upgrade access to WEB based maps.
  • Print maps (as appropriate).
  • Install comprehensive signing throughout MRT.
  • Install MRT orientation kiosks in select communities.
  • Other