Treetop Trail opens at Minnesota Zoo

(KSTP) – After more than a yearlong renovation of the Minnesota Zoo’s old monorail trail, the Treetop Trail opened Friday morning.

The monorail was retired 10 years ago, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz declared Friday as Minnesota Zoo Treetop Trail Day throughout the state.

The trail is 32 feet above the ground and will be the world’s longest elevated pedestrian loop at 1.25 miles. In addition, the trail will be accessible year-round.

Zoo officials were able to secure nearly $40 million in funds to make the bird’s eye view happen.

Some of the animals visitors can see from the trail are tigers, moose and bison.

Treetop Trail Fun 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.

“The Treetop Trail marks a new chapter for the Minnesota Zoo,” said Minnesota Zoo Director and Foundation President John Frawley. “As we look ahead to the Zoo’s next 45 years, the Treetop Trail is a major step in furthering connections to nature and animals in an accessible and immersive way.”

Planning for the trail began in June 2018 and a ceremonial ground breaking was held in April 2022.

Watch the grand opening of the Treetop Trail at the Minnesota Zoo courtesy of our Twin Cities sister station, KSTP-TV below.