News & Stories

October Construction Update: The Trailhead is Rising Out of the Ground!

We’ve been pretty excited about progress on The Trailhead all summer, but something feels different and even more monumental with the building now rising out of the ground. It’s easier than ever to picture the way in which this building will strengthen and grow the community of people who are outside and active, and connect Wirth Park to the surrounding community in a whole new way.

The first structural beams were installed September 27.

The Trailhead is a joint project between the Loppet Foundation and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) to expand and improve recreation in Theodore Wirth Park. It will be Wirth Park’s gateway to year-round outdoor recreation and adventure, and will be a jumping off point for skiers, trail runners, golfers, mountain bikers, snowshoers, hikers, and snowboarders alike. It will provide infrastructure to diversify the park’s user base and increase youth outreach. It will support expanded and strengthened Loppet youth & family programming. It will be a place for community to gather.

And, it will be your new favorite place to get a cup of coffee, grab a beer, or eat a meal in the park!

This is an update on work since mid-August 2017. You can see a more detailed description of work between May and August here.

More structural beams were installed by the end of September.

Trailhead building construction began in May 2017. Contractors completed soil remediation at the building site in July, and the first cement for the building’s footings was poured on August 2. The first wall–the back wall–rose above the footings on September 20. On September 27, the first structural beam was put in place. The rest of the glulams–the structural beams–are on site, as are big stacks of insulation.

Building materials, including insulation and structural beams, are on site.

Work on the building will continue through the rest of the year, with completion estimated for mid-January, 2018.

The Trailhead project includes five miles of new mountain bike event trails, which are designed to be technically easy but physically challenging. When not in use for events, the trails will be open to runners, hikers, cyclists and snowshoers. With the trails about half finished, we’ve been able to use some segments for events including the Tri-Loppet, the Trail Loppet and the TRAIL KIDS Fall Adventure Race Series. (Please note that due to ongoing construction, the new trails are not yet open for public use outside of special events.)

Participants in the Trail Loppet half marathon got a sneak peek of the trails by the Trailhead site.

We’ve leveled, raked and seeded the new stadium area. It’s easily accessible from The Trailhead site and well-protected by trees, which will make it a great learning area. And, with a second stadium area, the main stadium will be more available for learning and recreational skiers.

LNR Juniors raking and seeding the new stadium.

Tree Trust has begun installing the second, lower segment of the staircase to the tubing hill.

The second half of the new tubing hill staircase will connect the building to the top of the hill.

Construction is occurring concurrently with three MPRB projects: constructing new golf holes, constructing a new utility run to connect to The Trailhead building, and adding new parking lots adjacent to The Trailhead. There’s grass growing on the new golf holes–which look great! The south side parking lot is almost complete, and even has lines now. The first layer of asphalt has been put down on the north side parking lot, but it won’t be completed until the building is done because of continued construction traffic. A stop sign will be added to make crossing the parkway safer.

Stormwater control pond adjacent to the new parking lot.

We wouldn’t be where we are today without the Loppet community. Our spectacular volunteers have helped us out every step along the way, and more than 1,100 members of our community have donated more than $4.7 million to support the project.

More about The Trailhead

Learn more about The Trailhead on our website!

We still need your help!

To finish the capital campaign for The Trailhead, we need to raise an additional $260,000 by the end of the year. You can donate online or download and return a donation form by mail. You can reach Development Director, Marin Byrne, at with any questions.