Tag Archives: Anoka Historical Society

The Anoka 10-mile bike loop offers fun while exploring its history

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

At the confluence of the Rum and Mississippi Rivers, discover Anoka, Minnesota with fun at every turn along its bike routes. With its river city charm and designated the ‘Halloween Capital of the World’ this bicycle-friendly community is a place to explore. Riding your bike on the scenic 10-mile bike loop here you will discover several river-front parks and historic neighborhoods along the route. A part of the nine Twin Cities Gateway communities, in the north suburbs of the Twin Cities, you will find over 250-miles of connecting trails to enjoy. It’s the perfect destination to visit with your bike.

The Anoka 10-mile bike loop is an adventure for all skill levels of riders.

The Anoka 10-mile bike loop

For this bike ride, we will start at the Gathering Place Bandshell along the river. It’s located on the east bank of the Rum River, a block west of Ticknor Hill Bed & Breakfast in Akin Riverside Park, in Anoka.

It’s fun riding parts of the Mississippi River Trail while in Anoka.

 

Traveling clockwise, the route begins by crossing over the river on the pedestrian bridge, then across Ferry Street. Now pedaling along Benton Street, you will find a picturesque lane in the Historic Whiskey Flats neighborhood, The street here is a part of the Mississippi River Trail (MRT). Soon you are on the actual trail pedaling into Mississippi River Community Park, at Kings Island.

Kings Island and park amenities

Signage along the trail as you enter Kings Island.

Arriving in the park you will find restroom facilities, a playground, and some extra trails and observation decks along the river to view nature’s settings here. On the east bank of Mighty Mississippi, the Kings Island section of the park incorporates the natural beauty of a wooded flood plain. Add to your fun by exploring nature. Along the walking trail that circles the island, view an occasional mix of wildflowers amongst riverside flora and fauna.

Up to River Bend Park on the Rum

Leaving the MRT, the Anoka 10-mile loop utilizes the trail along its northern route up through Anoka’s industrial area. After crossing Highway 10, notice the Regency Inn Hotel to your left. And those who prefer to shorten the loop to 6-mile should turn right and head east on Vista Way (see the printable Anoka Map for more details).

Back on the 10-mile loop pedaling north up to Bunker Lake Boulevard, and turn east. At the intersection of Saint Francis Boulevard (Hwy 47), you will find several rest stop options. Then, before crossing the Rum River check out River Bend Park. If you picked up a sandwich at the rest stop, this is a perfect place to stop and view the river while enjoying your lunch.

After crossing the bridge over the Rum River, another option is to stop at the Rum River Library or the Anoka Nature Preserve. Looking east, notice the trail that crosses Bunker Lake Boulevard? That trail will safely get you up in the area of the library and nature preserve.

The Anoka Nature Preserve is a 200-acre passive recreational area with low maintenance, hard-packed roads, perfect for 2-lane off-road cycling, and hiking. At the trailhead here, north of the library, you will find a playground and a restroom option. The trails in the Preserve are perfect for off-road family riding. At the riverbank to the Rum, several paths lead to wildlife observation decks.

Following the flow of the Rum River back to Anoka

Now heading south along the east bank of the Rum River, the trail offers wildlife viewing opportunities at every turn. As you get closer to the inner city of Anoka the trail merges onto a bike lane on 4th Avenue and through the historic Cutterville and Wet Flats neighborhoods. Here the 6-mile loop joins from the west and the trail route resumes along the river.

The Anoka 10-mile bike loop is fun for all ages!

The historic downtown district of Anoka

As you approach four metal grain bins along the trail you are entering the north side of the historic downtown area of Anoka. Here you will find several delicious dining establishments and many historic points of interest. Also known as the Halloween Capital of the World, the city of Anoka becomes alive with festivities each fall. Now, before taking the river trail, under Main Street and back to the band Shell, check out the observation deck at the Rum River Dam.

Downtown, don’t forget to stop at Two Scoops for ice cream.

Back at the Gathering Place Band Shell or your hotel checkout a nearby eating establishment and Two Scoops Ice Cream while planning another bike adventure in the Twin Cities Gateway Area.

Printable map and Q (cue)-sheet)

For individual bike maps of the nine Twin Cities Gateway Communities click here

For a turn-by-turn, Q-sheet of Anoka click here

In Minnesota, at the confluence of the Rum entering the Mississippi River you will find many beautiful turn-of-the-century homes and gardens to tour.

Anoka’s Heritage Home and Garden Tour is enjoyable by bike

At the confluence of the Rum entering the Mississippi River, you will find many beautiful turn-of-the-century homes and gardens to tour. This coming Sunday, July 15th, by bike, car or on foot explore 13 historic neighborhoods on the Anoka Heritage Home and Garden Tour.

The Big White House is century old home on the garden to tour.

The Big White House is century old home on the garden to tour.

A part of the Twin Cities Gateway communities, Anoka happens to be a very bike friendly town. Biking is the perfect way to travel from one historic home to the next on this tour. The locations are far enough away from each other that you may not want to walk? On the other hand, they are close enough that driving is cumbersome. Biking is an excellent way to justify stopping at one of the many establishments downtown and grabbing a delicious treat after the tour.

The Heritage Home and Garden Tour

This year there are around 18 stops along the tour, showcasing the community’s past while flower gardens are in bloom. Also featured this year is the Federal Cartridge Clubhouse. Along with a special pop-up tornado exhibit and marketplace at the Anoka Armory, that had been destroyed in the 1939 disaster.

The Mad Hatter Restaurant & Tea Room, in the Woodbury House, is another home worth seeing.

The Mad Hatter Restaurant & Tea Room, in the Woodbury House, is another home worth seeing.

As you tour this river community admire some of Minnesota’s most beautiful homes and gardens up close. From the historic neighborhood of Slabtown to Christian Hill, discover how they got their names. Hear the stories of the first occupants who lived there.

One of the homes featured on tour is the Ticknor Hill Bed and Breakfast, built in 1867 and is on the National Registry of Historic Places. . Another home The Mad Hatter Restaurant & Tea House, located in the Woodbury House with great gardens, is also listed on the National Registry Historic Places. These are just two of the many homes on this tour that you will enjoy seeing.

All participants receive a tour booklet, which contains a map and addresses for you to easily  find the charming homes and gardens on the tour. Once you have purchase your tour book, with map, look at these locations on the city’s bike map showing connectors trails.

For more bicycle opportunities in the Twin Cities Gateway check out these maps.

The Fridley Historic Home & Garden Tour coming July 22

Downriver from Anoka, enjoy a new tradition with the Fridley Historic Home & Garden Tour. This tour, on Sunday, July 22nd  will ramble back in time  to this community’s most famous era, the 60’s! Enjoy scenic homes and gardens by bike as Fridley is another bike friendly community in the Twin Cities Gateway.

Watch the Fridley Historic Home and Garden tour video on YouTube. (Link opens in new tab) 

See the Fridley Historic Home and Garden Tour Event Tickets site for more information and to purchase tickets!