Here this cyclist is enjoying Minnesota's peak riding time on the Minneapolis Greenway Trail.

Minnesota’s Peak Riding Time Is Fall: Part Two

Autumn Is Minnesota’s Peak Riding Time: Central Minnesota

With the summer season officially off the calendar, fall is a great time to extend your bike riding adventures here in Minnesota. As the trees change colors along the miles of paved and mountain bike trails, cyclists will find a kaleidoscope of colors along the way. With the abundant rainfall this year, colors are predicted to be spectacular. If the weather remains mostly sunny during the day and cool at night, conditions will favor a stunning ride while exploring Minnesota. It’s no surprise that Minnesota’s peak riding time is in the fall and now.

Each year the fall color peak normally arrives in the northern one-third of the state in mid-September to early October. This year the peak cycle, statewide, is running a week or so later than normal due to ideal summer conditions – so enjoy!

To get a more accurate gauge to the change in colors in areas of Minnesota that you would like to visit, a color report is available online or through a weekly e-newsletter from Explore Minnesota Tourism each Thursday afternoon during the fall season.

This section is part two of a three part series.

Trails to Enjoy in Minnesota’s Peak Riding Season

Central Lakes: This trail offers 55 miles of pedaling opportunities through rolling landscapes. It provides cyclists with views of the many lakes and countryside from Fergus Falls to Osakis. Then, it is at Osakis where it connects with the Lake Wobegon Trail. See more information on the Central Lakes Trail here.

Glacial Lakes: This scenic trail through the Little Crow Lakes region starts at the Civic Center at the northeast edge of Willmar and winds 22 miles northeast, passing the big, festive beach on Green Lake in Spicer, then New London and Hawick. Then, from New London, cyclists can ride three miles west to Sibley State Park. See more information at: Willmar Tourism.

Lake Wobegon: Offers 46 miles between St. Joseph (just west of St Cloud), up to Osakis where the trail connects to the Central Lakes Trail. Along the way, the main section of the Lake Wobegon passes a series of picturesque old churches. These churches are in the towns that inspired the stories of Garrison Keillor. Then, in Albany, a spur extension allows cyclists the option to travel north up through Holdingford. Then, cyclists can go across the Mississippi River to U.S. Hwy 10 just below Little Falls. See more information on visiting the Wobegon Trail at: Granite County Tourism. For the north spur section see: Little Falls Tourism.

Luce Line State Trail is a 63 mile long former rails to trail route that starts in the Plymouth and for 30 miles west it is a limestone surfaced trail that runs out to Winsted. From Winsted to Hutchinson the trail is paved, See more at: Hutchinson Tourism.

Still More Trails

Prairie Waters: In this area, in the Upper Minnesota River Valley, there are miles of quiet country roads to see the fall colors. Also, taking these trails allows spectacular wildlife viewing opportunities. Plan a bike trip around Lac qui Parle Lake, or travel on the Minnesota River Valley National Scenic Byway roads. Here, in this four county area, many of the route loops allow you to ride past wildlife refuges and parks for bird viewing and historic points of interest. Additionally, several of the Prairie Water cities also offer paved trails for family fun, in addition to trails for mountain biking. See more at: Prairie Waters Tourism.

Twin City Trails

Gateway/Brown’s Creek: This trail is a recreational jewel of the East Metro Area of the Twin Cities. The Gateway section runs 18 miles from Lower Downtown St. Paul to Pine Point Park. The recently acquired 5.9 mile Brown’s Creek Trail connects before Pine Point Park on the Gateway Trail. This enables trail users to go to the scenic St. Croix River Valley, in downtown Stillwater. See more about this area at: Stillwater Tourism.

Grand Rounds: This national scenic byway through Minneapolis includes 51 miles of bicycle trails. Since these trails go around the lakes and along Minnehaha Creek and the Mississippi River, they can be extra fun. See more at: Minneapolis Tourism.

Lakeville Trails:  On the southern edge and close to many Twin Cities attractions, Lakeville is a family friendly mecca for bicycling trails. And, it’s also great for fall color scenery. With more than a 100 miles of paved trails, many parks and several great road routes, both visitors and residents alike will find plenty of safe riding opportunities here. See more information at: Lakeville Tourism.

Still More Trails

Minneapolis Northwest: At  the northwest corner of the Twin City Metro Area is Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park and Maple Grove offer a huge number of trails that connect to other metropolitan communities, Elm Creek Regional Park and the Mississippi River Trail, See more information at: Minneapolis Northwest Tourism.

Twin Cities Gateway: Situated on the north side of the Mississippi River from Downtown Minneapolis, the Anoka County Gateway Trails offers families and touring cyclists hundreds of miles of paved trail to grasp all the river valley colors at their peak.  See more at: Twin Cities Gateway Tourism.

Staying safe in Minnesota’s peak riding season:

Even on off-road trails, bicyclists need to wear helmets. Since you are much more likely to fall on your head by locking wheels with another bike or by stopping suddenly than you are to be hit by a vehicle, keep on those helmets!

Also, don’t forget to stop at stop signs on the trail, even if it’s just a driveway or gravel road.

Have Fun and check back this Thursday for part three of Minnesota’s Peak Riding Time!