Minnesota Zoo installs first segment of new Treetop Trail

The Minnesota Zoo on Thursday took another step in the construction of a Treetop Trail on the former monorail. 

The first segment of the trail was raised onto the track on Thursday. When construction is complete, the 1.25-mile trail will be the longest elevated pedestrian loop. It will allow zoogoers to walk through the zoo from 32 feet above the ground. 

The monorail closed in 2013 after more than three decades due to fewer people riding it and trouble getting parts to repair the aging tram. A few years later, in 2016, the zoo began exploring converting the monorail track into a walking trail, modeled after the High Line in New York City. 

"Today marks a major milestone for construction of the Treetop Trail. With this first completed section being raised, we are seeing, for the first time, the true transformation of the closed monorail into the world’s longest elevated pedestrian loop – allowing our guests and partners to visualize how this momentous project will further immerse them in nature," said Minnesota Zoo Director John Frawley in a press release. "Thanks to the hard work and expertise of our staff and construction partners, we remain on track to open the Treetop Trail next summer and share this gift with Minnesotans and visitors from all over the world. We are grateful to all who have supported this project generously, including the State of Minnesota and our Treetop Trail donors."

Construction on the Treetop Trail began in April, with the Apple Valley zoo planning to open the Treetop Trail in the summer of 2023.