Glacial Ridge Trail Scenic Byway
About the trail...
The area lies within the Alexandria Glacial Moraine Complex laid down by the Wadena Lobe of the last glacier, 30,000 years ago. The massive amount of ice, thousands of feet in thickness and loaded with unnumbered tons of rock material, ceased its forward movement and melted. What remained after the ice melted was an extensive, wide, low ridge, an accumulation of boulders, stones, gravel and other debris formerly contained in the ice sheet. Blocks of ice, buried in the debris, melted to form many of the hundreds of small lakes, dotting the countryside.
The west central area of Minnesota was the land of the Dakota for centuries, before the Europeans arrived. As the United States expanded westward, the Ojibwa were pushed into the area, displacing the Dakota to the west. The first settlers moved into the area in the 1850‘s. The area is rich with cultural history and natural attractions.
The Glacial Ridge Trail is not a linear experience and can take you in many different routes. Create your own adventure, choose the points of interest to you, and explore the trail often. Try a different route and be sure to experience the changing of the seasons.
The outstanding resources along the route are primarily the result of the last major glaciation of West Central Minnesota. The Alexandria Glacial Moraine Complex is a prime example of glacial end moraine. The rough, hummocky surface gives the area its distinct hill and lake appearance. The Moraine Complex offers one of the finest examples of 'kame and kettle' glacial topography in the Upper Mid-West. Kames (glacial hills), kettles (depressions) and eskers (elongated glacial deposits) abound.
The Byway offers something for everyone, whether their interests are historical, cultural, recreational or a simple scenic drive. The Byway offers access to West Central Minnesota‘s abundant natural resources, recreational opportunities, historical and cultural character, all while offering modern, convenient travel accommodations.
Sign up for the 2010 Model T tour of the Glacial ridge Trail. For registration information and additional event information visit the Willmar Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.