The outstanding resources along the Glacial Ridge Trail are primarily the result of the last major glaciation of West Central Minnesota. The massive amount of ice, thousands of feet in thickness and loaded with unnumbered tons of rock material, ceased its forward movement and melted. The Alexandria Glacial Moraine Complex is a prime example of the glacial end moraine. The rough, hummocky surface gives the area its distinct hill and lake appearance. The Moraine Complex offers some of the finest examples of “kame and kettle” glacial topography in the Upper Midwest. Kames (glacial hills), kettles (depressions) and eskers (elongated glacial deposits) abound.
The Byway offers something for everyone, whether their interests are historical, cultural or recreational. Its many scenic drives offer access to West Central Minnesota’s abundant natural resources, recreational opportunities, and historical and cultural character, all while offering modern, convenient travel accommodations.
The Glacial Ridge Scenic Byway is not a linear experience, beginning at one end, finishing at the other. It is a labyrinth of roads, the trail can take 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 Glacial Ridge Trail Association is a collaboration between County Commissioners from Kandiyohi, Swift, Pope and Douglas Counties, the Willmar Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Explore Alexandria Tourism, Benson Chamber of Commerce, Glenwood Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, Starbuck Chamber of Commerce and a variety of local volunteers and historical museums.