Category Archives: Destinations

First impression of Bloomington’s river bottom mountain bike trail system

By Andrew Ellis

Towards the southern edge of Bloomington, you will find the Minnesota River Bottoms Trail System, which is fun to ride throughout the year. For my most recent visit, I used the trailhead near the Bloomington Ferry Bridge. Here, you’ll see a rocky slope that travels down into the woods. A start of a great adventure. It’s known as the Minnesota River Bottoms Trail. The single-track trails here are perfect for a mountain bike, but you are safe on a Hybrid-trail/path bike, also. But you will have to watch where you’re riding.

The Bloomington River Bottoms Trail

The ride itself is fun and challenging. The trail is made out of heavy soil with a mix the dried river debris. For the most part, when dry it may be smooth riding. However,  Mother Nature’s unpredictability can change the conditions of the trail fast. Pedaling along, you may come across places that are soft and muddy from recent rainfall. Because the trails here are so popular, you will see other tire tracks that have gone through and made the puddles deeper and muddier in the aftermath. Usually, you can ride through or ride around it. If you ride through, you may feel your tires slip, but as long as you keep going, you should be fine. Riding around the puddle will take a little more concentration. You may either be able to find a dry area around its perimeter where your tires can fit or an area that hasn’t been touched.

It’s Friday and time to ride off on another weekend of fun taking in that next bike adventure that maybe includes testing out a fat bike ride.

The Minnesota River Bottoms is not only a great place to ride a  fat bike.

For most of the ride, you’ll be along the river with a few trails leading you away. You’ll come upon many obstacles as well, such as logs set up for you to ride over if you wish and different turns that will keep you alert. Small trails will split off the main path and take you to other scenic areas but eventually connect back to the main trail. While the trail is mostly flat, the sandy conditions can make it hard to pedal. Also, the trail often changes shape after the river floods, which makes for unique rides!

Here is a fallen branch that acts as a bridge in the MN river bottoms.

Here is a fallen branch that acts as a bridge crossing Bloomington’s river bottoms.

You’ll find a few opportunities to cross the tributary streams that feed the river. One is a wood bridge partly on a fallen tree branch. You can try riding across and risk falling in, or you can carry your bike across. There’s also a floating dock that allows room for you and your bike. You’ll use the rope to pull yourself across the river to continue your ride.

Enjoy an upper body stretch pulling you and your bike across river.

Why the trail is fun!

It takes a little more concentration than paved trails, but the uncertainty of what you’ll encounter is all part of the fun. You can have fun with twists, turns, climbs, and descends on the  unpaved trail. You’ll even have plenty of views to stop and look at. But this track is different. While it is maintained, the trail gives you the feeling of being unprotected. It’s just you and the elements. Plenty of debris on the trail and more than a few low branches that you’ll either have to dodge or be okay with them hitting you in the face.

Winter fat bike fun is back in the upper Midwest as this biker takes a break for this photo opp.

And winter biking is always fun on the Bloomington River Bottoms Trail.

Find out more about Bloomington’s biking opportunities here.

Or, when you need a break from the outdoors and biking the river bottoms, there are plenty of fun options to keep your visit exciting in Bloomington. Check out more here.

Alex a bike-friendly getaway you can make on one tank

By Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking

There is no shortage of fun in Minnesota, and looking at the latest MN Bike/Hike Guide, with all the maps, we wanted to see how Alex (Alexandria) stacked up as a one-tank, multi-modal, round-trip destination. With increased gas prices taking a bite out of every motorist’s wallet, we found that the Alexandria Lakes Area fits the criteria well. The perfect place to visit, park the car at the selected lodge and use a bicycle to get around. On this trip, we found the Cedar Rose Inn charming and a great place to relax. This allowed us to easily reach the local bike routes, trails, historic downtown attractions, and several restaurants within easy walking distance.

The welcoming Cedar Rose Inn B & B

With the bikes loaded and gear packed, Alexandria is proximately 130 miles (about a two-hour drive) northwest of Minneapolis on I-94.

See a whole lot more biking in Alexandria

Using the Alexandria Bike Map, on pages 50-51 of the MN Bike Guide, you will find options for routes to ride comfortably around town and scenic loops that take you out and around many lakes in Douglas County. Looking at the map and planning your next visit, check out the Explore Alexandria website for many other fun outdoor activities the area offers.

The 8-mile Historic Alexandria Route

Big Ole, at the Central Lakes Trailhead in Alexandria, MN

From the Central Lakes Trail, north of the downtown area, the scenic Alex Loop uses the quiet north/south neighborhood streets that parallel the main highway or Broadway Street from 30th Avenue. If you start at the trailhead, take a selfie with Big Ole, then visit the Runestone Museum, Fort Alexandria, and the Legacy of the Lakes Museum & Gardens. Further along this loop, the route passes the Douglas County Historical Society and several parks where ducks, geese, and pelicans are close by to view.

The 22-mile loop to Garfield returning on the Central Lakes Trail

Touring the scenic bike-friendly roads in the Alexandria Lakes Area

The Garfield Loop uses a series of streets and county roads around a couple of lakes up to the town of Garfield. Here you will find the Central Lake Trail to return to Alex.

The 35-mile North Lakes Loop

This route winds around the picturesque lakes north of Alex, offering wide paved shoulders on the designated bike-friendly routes. As you ride your bike past the lakefront communities, options for stops include Carlos Creek Winery, the 23 Northman Brewery, or several eating establishments along the way.

Prefer staying on the Central Lakes Trail?

From Big Ole, head east to Osakis or west on the Central Lakes Trail to the many towns before Fergus Falls.

To the east, Osakis is 11 miles and connects to the Wobegon Trail. To the northwest, Garfield is 8 miles, Brandon is 14 miles, and Fergus Fall, at the far end, is 44 miles.

Mountain biking in the Alexandria Area

Prefer to bring your mountain bike on your next visit to Alex? Mountain biking is a growing sport in the Alexandria Area, and you can find great riding out at Kensington Runestone County Park and Lake Brophy County Park.

Mountain Biking the forest trail

Runestone Park is near Kensington, and the mountain bike trails here are tons of fun with easy-to-follow signs and many add-on loops to make a ride a little longer if you want. See map and further details here.

Mountain Biking on the prairie single-track trail

Lake Brophy Park is a relatively new multi-use trail system wandering through the upland prairie fields that take you to some of the best views in the county. A highlight of the park is that using the main trail gets you to the high point. At the top of the hill, 140 feet above Lake Brophy, you can choose from the easy, medium, and challenging trails to descend for an adrenalin fun experience. See map and further details here.

Where to stay

We stayed at the Cedar Rose Inn Bed & Breakfast for this trip to Alexandria. It is located at 422 7th Ave. West and Cedar St. is a very charming B & B, and the delicious breakfast Brenda serves each morning makes your visit to Alexandria even more special.

A blueberry brioche with maple syrup drizzled over

For more places to stay and things to do, see Explore Alexandria.

From Giants Ridge, the Mesabi Trail Towns offers history and great biking adventures.

Many bike/hike adventures await your visit to the Mesabi Trail Towns

by Andrew Ellis

In Minnesota’s north mining region, the towns along the Mesabi Trail host several of the state’s historical gems and a family fun destination to explore by bike or on foot. In this pristine area of the state, you will find over 28 small mining communities along this well-known paved trail system. With the trail here, it is easy to travel from town to town by bike. From Grand Rapids on the western end to Ely, 150 miles to the east, there are a lot of fun sights to see as you ride. For the mountain biker, this area has left many rugged deposits to perfect your skills. The area also boasts some of Minnesota’s best scenic road touring routes, with low-traffic roadway loop options returning to the Mesabi Trail.

Mesabi bike trail near Hibbing

Mesabi bike trail near Hibbing.

More About the Bike-Friendly Mesabi Trail Towns

A vast area, the Mesabi Trail Towns string through the Iron Range, covering many mining towns you can start and stop at. They include Grand Rapids to the west; and further east, Hibbing, Chisholm, Mt. Iron, Virginia, Eveleth, Gilbert, Biwabik, Aurora, Hoyt Lakes, Embarrass, and now Ely. Along the way, if you prefer, there is no shortage of walking tours.

The west end of the Mesabi Trail is Grand Rapids, where touring cyclists will find the Mississippi River Trail (MRT), and mountain bikers can enjoy the Tioga Recreational Area.

Further east, in Hibbing, you can visit Bob Dylan’s childhood home; the Hull Rust Mine overlook, and Greyhound Museum. Mountain bike Redhead Mountain next to the Minnesota Discovery Center. And further east, look into the history of the Range’s “Queen City” at the Virginia Heritage Museum. Or take a walk around the US Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth. To enjoy the scenic thrills of downhill mountain biking, there is Giant Ridge near Biwabik. There are also plenty of lakes to drop a line, swim, or enhance your tan.

The Iron Range Area covers many miles, but it’s all accessible – especially if you use your bike. The Mesabi Trail makes for a convenient connecting point for all the communities. So it’s easy to travel around pedaling on two wheels to all the unique stores, eateries, and attractions.

Mesabi bike trail near Virginia.

Mesabi bike trail near Virginia.

Biking Opportunities in the Iron Range

There are several opportunities for biking in the Iron Range. If you’re into mountain biking, it’s just a matter of where you want to go first, with four different systems to choose from. You can also extend your adventure using the Mesabi Trail to connect to various forest and mining roads.

The Mesabi Trail

Besides mining, bicycle tourism is the other attraction that connects the communities here. A fantastic adventure in its own right, the Mesabi Trail takes you through the beautiful northern Minnesota forests full of nature and wildlife. And with so many scenic views, there is no doubt you will want to stop to take a picture or two to share your experience here.

And don’t forget the Great River Energy Mesabi Trail Tour. Ride for fun or ride for the challenge. Either way, mark your calendar for Saturday, August 5, 2023, for the most fun you can have on two wheels!

With several mountain bike parks there is something for every skill level.

With several mountain bike parks, there is something for every skill level.

Mountain biking here includes an edgy new park.

The Iron Range may not have mountains, but there are plenty of trails and loops for mountain bikers to battle down. From the Tioga Recreational Area, near Grand Rapids, to the new Redhead Mountain Trails near Chisolm, they say it will rock you. This huge park, with over 30 loops, covers over 25 miles. Offering spectacular views of reclaimed mine lands, bright blue pit lakes, and more. Enjoy this edgy-designed park with remarkable terrain.

Further east is Giants Ridge offering over 24 miles of trails and loops to challenge you and offers great scenic views. Big Aspen offers a whopping 21 miles of trails to shred on old logging roads and abandoned railroad grades. The sections here vary in difficulty, with many loop opportunities offering scenic vistas.

There’s also Lookout Mountain, thanks to the hard work of the Iron Range Off-Road Cyclists, which has over five miles of single-track and over six miles of the multi-use rideable ski trail.

Road Biking Options

While the Mesabi Trail connects the Iron Range towns, each community has its own road system that allows for easy bike travel and loop options. These roads allow you to navigate from place to place and explore each town as in-depth as you wish. e the area.

See more at At-A-Glance Mesabi Trail.

Many Cyclists riding around Albert Lea Lake enjoyable

Biking around Albert Lea may add a little Rock n’ Roll to your ride

by Andrew Ellis

Now that summer is here and many traditional outdoor activities are coming to the top of my list, I have a big decision to make. With my new e-bike, where should I go for my first out-of-town weekend bike getaway?

One of my favorites is Albert Lea, Minnesota, A one-tank getaway that offers a beautiful bike route around Fountain Lake that makes it easy to connect to the Blazing Star State Trail. Another option is to follow one of the routes from the annual bike ride called Rock n’ Roll the Lakes. This year the ride takes place on August 12th. Offering cyclists of all abilities several fun, scenic route options for that #NextBikeAdventure!

Bike-friendly Albert Lea

Less than two hours, drive down Interstate 35 from Minneapolis. After passing the I-90 crossroad, pull into Albert Lea and prepare for a weekend of outdoor fun. Known as the Land Between the Lakes, the city sits between Fountain Lake and Albert Lea Lake, prime destinations for soaking in the rays while biking, hiking, or paddling. Getting around on your bike from several lodging options is easy with the city’s low-traffic bike lanes and trails. After checking in at one of the hotels, it’s exciting to ride around this southern Minnesota community.

Touring around Albert Lea Lake

The homes along the lake route are very picturesque.

The homes along the Fountain Lake route are very picturesque.

In town, touring around Fountain Lake, traveling clockwise, is recommended. The experience of this route is reminiscent of riding around Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis. With beautifully landscaped lawns along the fingering shoreline, a ride around the lake is very picturesque. This popular route is about eight and a half miles around, using trails and quiet residential streets.

After returning to the downtown area of Albert Lea, you will find many options for lunch. Then it’s time to ride on the paved Blazing Star State Trail out to Myre-Big Island State Park.

Myre-Big Island State Park and the Blazing Star State Trail

The Blazing Star State Trail is over six miles from Albert Lea to the State Park.

The Blazing Star State Trail offers over six miles of riding from Albert Lea out through the State Park.

Here in the park, you will find both, a mountain bike and a paved trail system for cyclists of all skill levels to enjoy. The park offers about seven miles of wide grass trails in a sequence of three separate loops, strung together alongside the State trail for mountain bikers. The Blazing Star State Trail is paved and runs from Albert Lea Lake in town out through Myre-Big Island State Park, approximately six miles.

Both trail systems meander through the open prairie meadows with some young woodland near Lake Albert Lea throughout the park. Nice rolling hills make for a surprisingly good workout, and the park is also an excellent birding spot.

Road Biking Opportunities

Exploring the area on a bike is easy, too. You can use the roads to navigate both around town and rural routes throughout southern Minnesota. There’s even a dedicated bike lane to get you in and out of town safely. From past Rock n’ Roll the Lakes events, here are the printable maps for the 10-mile loop option and the 30/50-mile loop option for your enjoyment.

More about Albert Lea 

The bike route around Albert Lea Lake id reminiscent of the Lake of the Isles.

The bike route around Albert Lea Lake is reminiscent of the Lake of the Isles.

When you need a break from the outdoors, there’s plenty to keep your exciting adventure going. There are locally-owned shops and one-of-a-kind restaurants, and the area’s history will top off your bike adventure. Check out more here.

The best part about spending time here in Albert Lea, it’s easy to get around by bike while keeping your social distance from others for a memorable adventure.

Making yourself heard with a bicycle bell, vs voice command

By Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking

With summer riding opportunities here, it may be time to look for a new bicycle bell for added safety. Personally, I prefer using a bell when approaching slower cyclists and people walking on the trail, just ahead of me. Rather than using my voice alone, with a tone that may vary. I find a bell noise from SpurCycle, with a quick statement of “On your left,” when passing, is more effective and appreciated. The Compact Bell is perfect and offers the same high-frequency ping as SpurCycle’s original bell, just smaller with fewer moving parts.

The SpurCycle Compact Bicycle Bell

In a recent test of the SpurCycle Compact Bell, I found the ring lasts longer than most bells. I found the high-frequency ping with a rich aftermath tone helps those, as you approach, of your on-coming presents.

The perfect brass bell housing holds a ring longer, starting with a very hard “ping.”

This compact bell is plenty loud for off-road riding and suburban commuting but won’t win against car horns and heavy street traffic in a metropolitan area. This bell’s true advantage is how long the ring lasts (or “sustains”), ending at the same frequency.

From its package, test out the high-quality ping this bicycle bell makes.

It’s great for commuters or mountain bikers because you can start the ring 10-15 seconds before passing a biker or pedestrian. Letting them know where you are and when you will be approaching. With the SpurCycle Bell, there’s no need to ring your bell 20-times like the inexpensive department store models. The initial ring offers enough of a shrill to get the attention of even the most hardcore earbud rockers, if you do choose to hit it repeatedly.

If your bike has a larger diameter handlebar (22.2 to 31.8 mm), consider the SpurCycle Original.

Mastering the use of your voice or the use of a bicycle bell

In a recent article published by CyclingSavvy, should you use a bicycle bell or your voice? For many, it’s a cultural issue. In this in-depth article, John Brooking discusses how you can use a bell or your voice to alert people and what to check for after sending an audible signal. He also touches on the other sounds bicycles make and how these extend your pre-ride safety check. Making it natural so your bell and voice, when riding,  is a call-and-response. Musicians use this so the audience can sing along; you can use it, so your passage is predictable and safe.

Personally, as you can probably tell in this read, I prefer the bell to voice commands. Especially if you are in an urban area with heavy pedestrian foot traffic. Having spent time in Amsterdam on a bicycle made me a true believer that the bell’s sound was mightier than the voice.

One of the newest bike rides in Minnesota may add to your summer fun

‘Rock-N-Roll the Lakes’ bike ride in Southern Minnesota is back

If you like a beat to your pedal stroke, one of the newer bike rides in Minnesota may add to your summer fun. This year, on August 12th, Albert Lea, MN will again host the Rock n’ Roll Fountain Lake. Families and friends of all ages will enjoy this fun bike tour around the scenic lakes with food and music along the way!



The hometown of rock-n-roll icon Eddie Cochran and Marian Ross (also known as Mrs. C from Happy Days), Albert Lea knows how to rock! Riders can choose from the 10, 25, or 50 miles SAG-supported routes. All three courses hug picturesque lake shores and offer a variety of beautiful southern Minnesota scenery. Along the routes, there is a great chance you will spot some of nature’s magnificent creatures. See eagles, pelicans, and countless other birds and wildlife that live in the area and love the local lakes.

The ride starts on the north side of Albert Lea, Edgewater Park

The tour starts and ends at Edgewater Park, on upper Fountain Lake, north of Downtown Albert Lea. Check-in and day of registration will open at eight and close at 10 a.m. If you plan to ride the 50-mile route, please start no later than 9 a.m. The three courses designed offer the most scenic and pleasant routes around Albert Lea. Along the way on each loop, you will find food and refreshment stops offering a great lineup of music for all ages to enjoy. Protect your melon; helmets are required!

Bike-friendly Albert Lea



Less than two hours down Interstate 35W from the Twin Cities, pull into Albert Lea and prepare for a weekend of outdoor fun. The town is also known by another name: The Land Between the Lakes. That’s because the city sits between Fountain Lake and Albert Lea Lake, and both are prime destinations for soaking in the rays. Getting around on your bike in Albert Lea is easy with the city’s low-traffic bike lanes and trails, especially with the Blazing Star State Trail that takes you to Myre-Big Island State Park.
After checking in at one of the hotels, it’s exciting to ride around this southern Minnesota community.

The ‘Rock-n-Roll the Lakes’ is a fundraiser brought to you by the good folks at Albert Lea Area Cyclists (ALAC), a chapter of Bike MN (Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota). ALAC is a bicycle and pedestrian education and advocacy group for Albert Lea, Minnesota, instrumental in helping Albert Lea become an official Bicycle Friendly Community and continuing to refine the Rock-n-Roll the Lakes ride. Stay up to date with ALAC by following them on Facebook.

Then when you need a break from biking around the lakes, there are plenty of fun options to keep your visit to Albert Lea memorable. With locally owned shops, one-of-a-kind restaurants, and area history to add to your bike adventure there is somthing for everybody. Check out more here.

Pedal Jam/Bike the Brooklyns family-fun ride

Are you looking for a family-friendly outing that explores the northwest suburbs, the Brooklyns of the Twin Cities? Enjoy the inaugural Pedal Jam Bike Ride on trails in Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park. In conjunction with the Brooklyn Center Health Fair and Brooklyn Park IgboFest cultural festival, the ride will take place on August 12, 2023.

Pedal Jam/Bike the Brooklyns

About the Pedal Jam/Bike the Brooklyns Ride

The ride sets the stage for the family to enjoy a bike adventure together, traveling 6.5 miles and showcasing businesses, parks, and residential areas of the two cities. The ride starts at Centennial Park, 6301 Shingle Creek Pkwy, in Brooklyn Center, and ends at the Brooklyn Park Community Center, 8500 W Broadway Ave, in Brooklyn Park.

The Pedal Jam begins at 2 p.m. But come early to check in, collect your number, visit the food trucks, and enjoy the Brooklyn Center Health Fair before the ride starts. From 12 Noon up to the start of the Pedal Jam, you can even get your bike tuned up for free. On the route, riders are encouraged to make stops along the way for fun activities and treats. Then, a the end, at Brooklyn Park Plaza, celebrate with chalk art, popsicles, music, giveaways, and the grand prize drawing for a new e-bike!

After the ride, also visit Igbofest down the street at North Hennepin Community College, enjoying ethnic food, music, and performances until 6 p.m. Prize announcements at the Pedal Jam will be at 4 p.m., and you must be present to win.

Pre-register here

Ride registration is $10 for Adults, 18 and under, is $5 (Youth under 12 must ride with an adult). Click here the Register.

The ride starts at 2 p.m., and cyclists are invited to register on-site, starting at 12 Noon if they haven’t pre-registered and have time to collect their rider number.

Minneapolis Northwest Tourism, the tourism marketing affiliate of Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center, is the host sponsor. They would like to thank the Brooklyn Park Library, the city staff of both Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center, and the police and fire departments.

A list of bike companies in the Eco Experience Building at the MN State Fair

Thanks for exploring all the electric assist bikes (e-bikes) in the Eco Experience Building at the Minnesota State Fair. From past events, check out the top 10 questions asked when considering an e-bike. With the latest options in e-transportation available today, thanks to Affinity Plus and HaveFunBiking. Below, find links to two E-bike you can win. Plus, a list of bike shops with their favorite electric assist bicycle they are exhibiting. Also, find their contact information you may want to bookmark and have available when you need an E-bike.

Along with questions on the new Minnesota Electric-Assisted Bicycle Rebate Program, here are the answers to the top ten (10) questions asked:  

Top 10 questions asked when selecting an e-bike

With the popularity of e-bikes, many are asking what is the best bike to buy.

1. What does an e-bike cost? Find out here

2. What are the payment options? Find out here

3. Does an e-bike come with a warranty, and how do I insure it? Find out here

4. What are the different types and speeds of an e-bike? Find out here

5. What’s the battery’s range and life before recycling? Find out here

6. What is the weight limit of an e-bike, and what do they weigh? Find out here

7. How do I maintain an e-bike? What if it needs to be repaired? Find out here

8. Can I ride an e-bike in the rain or snow? Find out here

9. How do I keep an e-bike safe and secure? Find out here

10. What else should I do before purchasing an e-bike? Find out here

Have fun on your new e-bike. We would enjoy hearing about your experiences; please e-mail editor at!

Two chances to win an E-bike

Affinity Plus “Win This E-bike”register here

Win this Pedego City Commuter E-Bike from Affinity Plus

HaveFunBiking “Win This E-bike”register here

Win this Magnum Navigator X E-bike from HFB

Contacts for fun and safe bicycling in Minnesota

Affinity Plustheir website

Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN) – their website

Bicycling News (e-bikes are outpacing e-car sales) their website

Car Free MSPtheir website

Cargo Bike Shoptheir website

Erik’s Bike Shoptheir website

GoCycletheir website

HaveFunBiking.comtheir website

HFB “10 tips on buying an e-bike”weblink

MnDOT Bike Safetytheir website

MnDOT Digital Maptheir website

MnDNR Park& Trailstheir website

Move Minneapolistheir website

Move Minnesota their website

Pedego Stillwatertheir website

Pedego Twin Citiestheir website

Perennial Cycletheir website

QBPtheir website

Surly their website

Velosurancetheir website

Watt Cycle Workstheir website

Dance on your pedals in Richfield with the Joyful Riders

The Joyful Riders Club is coming to Richfield on the evening of August 9th! Come out for this dance-paced community bike ride around beautiful Richfield, MN. While meeting new friends, the ride will feature live music with DJ Dev. as you explore this bike-friendly city. With a fun-filled evening of bike-focused highlights, upon your return, enjoy refreshments and more music at the award-winning inclusive playground!

Join the Joyful Riders Club dance-paced community bike ride in Richfield

Join the Joyful Riders

Join other cyclists at the Richfield Pool/Richfield Ice Arena parking lot (636 East 66th Street) on August 9. The ride will roll out after a few announcements at 6:30 p.m. and return by 8:15 p.m. The route is an estimated 5 miles and will take place primarily on protected trails and bike lanes.

Biking, Music, and Dancing

Prepare to pedal, groove, and learn about everything the community is doing to prioritize cycling and bike/ped safety. Don’t forget to bring your lights and smiles to brighten the night!

Families and Friends

The ride will maintain a lively party pace, ensuring everyone can enjoy the fun together. It’s a no-drop ride, so feel free to ride at your own pace, bring the kids and enjoy a beautiful summer night.

Save the date & invite your friends!

Stay tuned for more exciting details on the Joyful Riders Facebook Page!

Ride into the Brainerd Lakes Area and you'll see what people love about northern Minnesota. Ride the open roads or the Paul Bunyan Trail and more.

Discover the pleasure of biking around Brainerd

by Andrew Ellis

The farther you drive north, the more you’ll be surrounded by lakes and never-ending trails. And the Brainerd Lakes Area is no exception. Here, you are in luck when you want to escape the city to taste the come-stay-for-a-while vibe of relaxing by the lakeside in northern Minnesota.

The Paul Bunyan trail in the Brainard Lakes Area is a fun trail for the family

It’s a slowed-down pace, and no better way to enjoy the great outdoors than visiting Brainerd, MN. Plus, if you’re looking for a one-tank getaway, it is easy to park your car and get around on your bike. Also, the number of lakes in the area makes finding a place to drop a line in the water easy.

More about the bike-friendly Brainerd Lakes Area

With many bike-friendly street routes to get you to and from the area hotels in the Brainerd-Baxter. You will also find the famous Paul Bunyan Trail, which takes you all the way to Bemidji, and easy access to the Mississippi River Trail is also here.

When not touring the lakes area, there are plenty more ways to make everlasting memories. You can walk around Paul Bunyan Land, head to Pirate’s Cove for some mini-golf, or take a tour of the area on a zip line at Mount Ski Gull.

The area also caters to those wanting to cool down with an indoor activity or have a more relaxing evening. You can enjoy a great meal and a view of North Long Lake or Gull Lake simultaneously with one of their lakeside restaurants. If you want more local culture, plenty of art exhibits, plays, and more are shown in the area. And don’t forget the shops, either. There are plenty of unique shops where you can find the perfect souvenir.Win this e-bike at HFB

Biking opportunities in the bike-friendly Brainerd Lakes Area

Get your bike and get ready to pedal. Brainerd has plenty for you to do. You can take on some mountain bike trails, start the journey up Paul Bunyan Trail, and use road loops to explore the area on your own.

Paul Bunyan Trail

The Paul Bunyan trail in the Brainard Lakes Area is a fun trail for the family

The Paul Bunyan trail in the Brainard Lakes Area is fun for the family.

Starting in Brainerd and winding around some of its lakes is the Paul Bunyan Trail. You’ll get a grand tour of the northern country life of Minnesota. There are three sections to the trail, or you can take the entire 120 miles to Bemidji, where you can see the famous statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Ox.

Cuyuna Lakes State Trail and mountain bike park

Just east of town, you’ll come upon the natural beauty of the Cuyuna Lakes area. There, you have a couple of options. There’s a 20-mile trail that takes you northeast to the Croft Mine Trailhead. This trail will take you through Minnesota’s north countryside, full of lakes prime for fishing and swimming and beautiful forests full of trees. It’s a freeing experience you won’t soon forget. You can also take on the mountain bike trail system. Each trail varies in difficulty depending on how much of a challenge you want. Obstacles include rocks, wooden paths, and more. You’ll want to come back.

Road biking opportunities galore!

There are plenty of trails and loops to help you make your way around Brainerd and the surrounding area. You can take West Baxter or Sylvan, which take you both deeper into the heart of Brainerd and to its perimeter, which also takes you by a couple of lakes. Then there’s Merrifield and Gull Dam Trail that take you north of town and around several of the area’s lakes. The South Long Lake Trail takes you southeast and gives you a little view of South Long Lake. Starting just southeast of the town, you can take Camp Jim Trail, which travels north and loops around the town. Plus, there is plenty of fun for those who won’t ride an MRT section (Mississippi River Trail).

Hiking and nature opportunities

For those who want to hit the dirt trail and enjoy nature on foot, consider Crow Wing State Park. And nature lovers will find Pillsbury State Forest very inviting.

See more about the Brainerd Lakes Area here for your next bike/hike adventure.