Hayward is a small town. Population 252 and growing, located 4 miles east of Albert Lea. The community is surrounded by small family farms and is noted for its rural hospitality. Businesses in the community are predominately agriculture related and include major manufacturing, retail, and services.
Stores and restaurants provide opportunities for trail users. The city boasts a community park located in the center of town and provides recreational opportunities including ball fields, basketball court, volleyball, playground equipment, and a picnic pavilion.
A section of the Blazing Star Trail starts in the city park and will eventually be connected to the Trail in Myre Big Island State Park and in the City of Albert Lea.