Treetop Trail


Minnesota Zoo opens Treetop Trail, the world’s longest elevated pedestrian loop

They cut the ribbon and took a walk Friday at the Minnesota Zoo after years of decay, and then development.

The official opening of the new Treetop Trail took place Friday morning. The trail follows the old monorail line that closed in 2013 with the huge repurposing project getting help from the state.

Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flannagan was on hand and remembers coming to the zoo as a child with her mother.

“The Treetop Trail is going to be a place where people can connect with each other, can appreciate all of the beauty of our state, of our region and of our world, and what an incredible gift,” said the Lt. Governor.

The Zoo’s Treeop Trail is now the world’s longest elevated pedestrian loop. The 1.25-mile Treetop Trail takes guests to new heights – up to 32 feet above the ground – as they travel into the trees and gain new perspectives of many Zoo animals, including tigers, moose, bison, and camels. The Treetop Trail will be open year-round for guests to experience Minnesota’s four seasons.

In his opening remarks, Minnesota Zoo Director John Frawley proclaimed that the Treetop Trail is a gift for Minnesotans.

“The Treetop Trail will provide an accessible and immersive pathway to nature for all ages, abilities, backgrounds, and communities,” said Frawley.

The original monorail track opened in 1979 and part of the goal for the Treetop Trail was to make it the “ultimate reuse construction project” according to the Minnesota Zoo.

Planning began in June 2018 and a ceremonial groundbreaking was held in April 2022.

“Thanks to the full support from our Boards, legislative and government champions, as well as the philanthropic community, we have secured $39 million in public and private partnership to support our Step Into Nature campaign and this transformational project,” said Frawley.


Treetop Trail Facts:

  • There are 7.5 miles of conduit running on the underside of the trail. That’s equivalent to just under 3,000 African Bush Elephants standing in a single file line!
  • The trail is comprised of more than 15,000 composite deck boards that were manufactured in Worthington, Minnesota. That’s enough boards to make 165 average residential decks.
  • The trail consists of 80,000 decking fasteners.
  • The project has a total of nearly 1,000 tons of new structural steel which reinforces angles, walkway frames, and handrails around the curves in the trail.
  • Let there be light! The trail has more than 1,800 light fixtures in between the railings, alternating left to right every four feet.
  • The trail was built in 20-foot modular sections (400 total). Each was wheeled into place by a custom-made trolley fabricated for this project.
  • As of June 2023, the trail has required 80,000+ labor hours to complete, all of which were done with no incidents or injuries reported.


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