photo by Microgen – fotolia
Summer is half over and if you’re anything like me, you probably still have quite a few things left on your summer bucket list. Is biking a beautiful trail one of them? Take a weekend or overnight trip and explore Northern Minnesota via these five biking trails.
Cuyuna Lakes State Trail
Located within the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, the Cuyuna Lakes State Trail is eight miles long (one miles passes through Aitkin along Highway 169). Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area itself is designated as an International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) Ride Center and is considered one of the best trail systems in the world.
Detroit Mountain Recreation Area
Located in Detroit Lakes, Detroit Mountain Recreation Area especially appeals to those interested in—you guessed it—mountain biking. Bikers looking for an extra challenge will find it here, with more than 9 miles of professionally designed mountain bike trails. Features of the recreation area include a tight single track, gravity-fed trails and a skills park. Mountain bikes are available for rent, and a special kids section allows children 18 months to 5 years to practice balancing, riding and motor skills.
Heartland State Trail
Stretching between Park Rapids and Cass Lake, Heartland State Trail is a total of 49 miles long and passes through farmland and wooded area near lakes and marshes. The paved trail is the first rail-to-trail project in the country and is almost completely located on an abandoned railroad grade. Heartland State Trail also connects to the larger Paul Bunyan State Trail system near Walker.
Migizi (which is the word for “eagle” in Ojibwe) Trail is a Chippewa National Forest trail located between Cass Lake and Water. At 18 paved miles, Migizi Trail connects with the Heartland State Trail.
Paul Bunyan State Trail
Paul Bunyan State Trail is the longest Minnesota bike trail at 123 miles long and stretches between Crow Wing State park and Lake Bemidji State Park. The system also connects to the Heartland State Trail (above), the Blue Ox Trail and the forementioned Cuyuna State Trail. Every portion of the trail system is paved, making it the longest continuously paved bike trail in the country and easily usable by bikers of all ages and levels.