BACKGROUND: Since many individuals who initiate physical activity programs are highly likely to return to a sedentary lifestyle, innovative strategies to efforts to increase the number of physically active older adults who successfully maintain beneficial levels of PA for a substantial length of time are needed. METHODS/DESIGN: The Keep Active Minnesota Trial is a randomized controlled trial of an interactive phone- and mail-based intervention to help 50-70 year old adults who have recently increased their physical activity level, maintain that activity level over a 24-month period in comparison to usual care. Baseline, 6, 12, and 24 month measurement occurred via phone surveys with kilocalories expended per week in total and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (CHAMPS Questionnaire) as the primary outcome measures. Secondary outcomes include hypothesized mediators of physical activity change (e.g., physical activity enjoyment, self-efficacy, physical activity self-concept), body mass index, and depression. Seven day accelerometry data were collected on a sub-sample of participants at baseline and 24-month follow-up. DISCUSSION: The Keep Active Minnesota study offers an innovative approach to the perennial problem of physical activity relapse; by focusing explicitly on physical activity maintenance, the intervention holds considerable promise for modifying the typical relapse curve. Moreover, if shown to be efficacious, the use of phone- and mail-based intervention delivery offers potential for widespread dissemination.