An experience you are sure to want share is biking along Ol’ Man River. Ol’ Man River is a National Park treasure you will discover while visiting the Twin Cities Gateway. If you are new to the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) system, this segment of the trail offers the perfect round-the-river bike loop with a 13 and 26-mile option. This is a great choice for nature lovers and families alike showcasing some of the best the river has to offer.
MRT Loop a part of the Mississippi River Recreation Area
In the middle of a bustling Minnesota urban setting is the scenic MRT. MRT is a part of the 72-mile Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, managed by the National Park Service (NSP). The trail starts in the historic downtown area of Anoka (a Gateway City at the point where the Rum and Mississippi Rivers meet). Here, cyclists can consider a number of unique eating establishments, before or after their ride.
Touring this MRT Loop offers a chance to pedal through several parks, a national wildlife refuge, and along city streets. These streets are filled with stunning homes with beautiful landscapes. Beginning in historic downtown Anoka, the suggested route takes the East MRT Trail along the quiet city streets there. You will pass through the historic Christian Hill and McCauley’s Pond neighborhoods. Soon riders are cruising along a trail that parallels the local boulevard in the Gateway City of Coon Rapids. Then, along Mississippi Boulevard, a low traffic street that takes you to the Coon Rapids Dam, your first river crossing option.
Coon Rapids Dam makes the perfect place for a picnic
Here, seven miles into the ride, you will find the perfect place to bring a picnic lunch or cross over the river, for the 14-mile loop. The dam, built in the early 1900’s, today offers some of the best bird watching in the Twin Cities Metro Area. The 446-acre park boasts an extensive trail system. This is great for bicyclists, roller-bladders, and hikers alike.
For those riding the 26-mile loop, continue along the MRT‘s East bank trail. You will be riding from one river community neighborhood to the next. Soon you are in the Gateway City of Fridley. This is the halfway point of your ride where you will head North after crossing the I-694/Mississippi River Bridge crossing. Now, on the West bank, the MRT takes you back up to the Coon Rapids Dam. Then, the trail continues up to Champlin, where the Loop crosses Hwy 169/Bridge into Anoka.
For more information on the MRT and the Twin Cities Gateway, click here.