by Andrew Ellis
It’s summer and I woke up with a big decision to make: What was I going to do on this beautiful Saturday? For me, after hearing about Albert Lea and their beautiful bike route around the lake, I had to check it out. Less then a two hour from the Twin Cities, down the freeway I went. With my bike on the car rack I was soon at the crossroads of I-90 and 35W. Then at the next exit I was pulling into Albert Lea for a weekend for outdoor fun.
Bike-friendly Albert Lea
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 city’s low traffic bike lanes and trails. After checking in at the hotel I was excited to ride around Albert Lea Lake, after everything I have heard.
Touring around Albert Lea Lake
Touring around the Lake clockwise was recommended and the experience was reminiscent of riding around Lake of the Isles, in Minneapolis. With beautiful landscaped lawns along the waters edge my morning ride was very picturesque. The popular route is about eight and a half miles around using a combination of trails and residential streets.
After returning to the downtown area of Albert Lea, I discovered several options for lunch before an afternoon ride out to the state park, just outside of town.
Myre-Big Island State Park and the Blazing Star State Trail
Here in the park you will find both a mountain bike and a paved trail system for bicyclists to enjoy. For mountain bikers the park offers about seven miles of wide grass trails in a sequence of three separate loops, strung together alongside the State trail. The Blazing Star State Trail is paved and runs from Albert Lea Lake in Albert Lea out through Myre-Big Island State Park, approximately six miles.
Throughout the park both trail systems wind through generally open prairie with some young wood land, especially nearer Lake Albert Lea. Nice rolling hills, make for a surprisingly good workout and the park is also known as an excellent birding spot.
Road Biking Opportunities
Exploring the area on bike is easy, too. You can use the roads to navigate around town and rural southern Minnesota. There’s even a dedicated bike lane to safely get you in and out of town. Be sure to watch for traffic as you will be sharing the road.
More about Albert Lea
Want to take a trip on the water, but don’t own a boat? It’s okay, you can take a tour of Albert Lake on the Pelican Breeze. If you go on Fridays you can be part of their pizza cruise.
When you need a break from the outdoors there’s plenty to keep your exciting adventure going. There’s locally owned shops, one-of-a-kind restaurants and the area history will top of your bike adventure. Check out more here.
The best part about my weekend here, it is all easy to get to if you’re using your bike as your main means of transportation.