ST. PAUL, Minn. -

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has received a national award from the American Planning Association for its Mississippi River Trail bikeway.

The association awarded MnDOT a National Planning Achievement Award for Transportation Planning.

The 800-mile route follows the Mississippi River from its headwaters at Itasca State Park near Bemidji to the Iowa border. MnDOT says the trail passes through about 70 cities, 20 counties, 90 townships and two reservation and tribal lands. The entire Mississippi River Trail goes 3,000 miles to the Gulf of Mexico.

MnDOT's Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Tim Mitchell says the trail connects highways and off-road trails that already exist. "This effort required contributions from private businesses, elected officials, bicyclists and state/local road and trail authorities," Mitchell said.