Tag Archives: Bunker Hills Regional Park

The Coon Rapids 10-mile bike loop makes it easy to connect and discover

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

Named for the turbulent Mississippi River waters at the confluence of Coon Creek, the city of Coon Rapids is a fun place to explore on a bicycle. One of the nine communities in the Twin Cities Gateway it’s a perfect destination for a bike vacation using the Coon Rapids 10-mile bike loop. Here you will find many connections to hundreds of miles of trails. Both the Coon Creek Trail and the Mississippi River Trail are two greenway systems here that allow you to safely pedal throughout the area. So, if you enjoy biking along rivers and creeks we have some ideas for you starting with the Coon Rapids 10-mile loop.

The 10-mile bike loop is fun for all levels of riders.

The Coon Rapids 10-mile bike loop

Leaving from the outer parking lot of the Muddy Cow Restaurant, or a nearby hotel the route travels in a clockwise direction. Pulling out onto Springbrook Drive this tour safely crosses Coon Rapids Boulevard. Once across, we suggest using the paved trails that run parallel to the street due to heavy traffic. After crossing 85th Avenue, about two miles into the loop consider stopping at the Springbrook Nature Center.

Many roads here offer trails that parallel for added comfort and fun.

Now pedaling along the south side of 85th Avenue, at East River Road cross the street at the stoplight and use the sidewalk on the west side, up to 85th Lane. Here enjoy the quiet neighborhood streets that connect you to the Mississippi River Trail (MRT).  At 86th Avenue continue straight ahead on the MRT up between two residences and the real fun begins. As the trail drops into the forested vegetation along the bank of the Mississippi River its a whole new experience.

The visitors center here makes a great rest stop.

Following the trail along the river to the Coon Rapids Dam, you will pass several trail T’s in the park offering more loop options. One loop in the park circles Cenaiko Lake where you will find many people fishing for trout.

The Coon Rapids Dam and Visitors Center

At the visitor’s center at the Coon Rapids Dam, you will find more information on the area and the history of the dam. The dam is another popular fishing location and a crossing point for many cyclists riding the Three Rivers Trails throughout the Twin Cities Metro.

Riding across the Coon Rapids dam always offers a refreshing mist of cool air.

Turning north to Coon Creek

Riding up Egret Boulevard you can ride in the bike lane or use the parallel pedestrian path.

Now at the Dam, the 10-mile Loop leaves the MRT and heads north out of the park on Egret Boulevard. A bike-friendly road, you can ride the designated bike lane or use the pedestrian path paralleling the street. Continuing north after crossing Coon Rapids Boulevard, at Robinson Drive you will find the Coon Creek Trailhead. On the trail and after crossing the creek, at the trail T, the 10-mile loop takes a right. If you want to add a few for miles to your ride here is another option. To your left, the trail will take you up through the Erlandson Nature Center and further along connects to Bunker Hills Regional Park.

The smells, sounds, and views of nature as you pedal

Now pedaling south alongside Coon Creek, enjoy the smells, sounds, and views of nature. This stretch of the trail is a tranquil wilderness setting as you pedal along the stream through the forested canopy.  After crossing over a creek bridge one more time, pass under the railroad tracks for another option. Stop for a round of bumper boats, go-karts or miniature golf at Lilli Putt before heading east and completing the 10-mile Loop.

Enjoying the enjoy the smells, sounds, and views of nature along the trail.

For the last few miles of the route, the trail runs parallel along Coon Rapids Extension and Boulevard. Back at the parking lot, or your hotel, check out nearby eating establishments and plan another bike adventure in the Twin Cities Gateway Area.

Printable map and Q (cue)-sheet)

For a printable bike map of Anoka click here

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

The Blaine 10-mile bike loop can add more memories to a sporting event

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

With miles of connecting bike trails around the city of Blaine, sports fans and visitors alike will find many phenomenal sights while bicycling here. One of the nine communities of the Twin Cities Gateway this city is a perfect destination for a bike vacation tied to a sporting event. The city offers many trail opportunities surrounding the sports facilities here. So, whether you are an athlete looking for a fun way to get a pre-game workout. Or, a visiting sports fan looking for some added memories we have some ideas starting with the Blaine 10-mile bike loop.

The Blaine 10-mile bike loop can add more fun to your game visit.

The Blaine 10-mile bike loop

A perfect bicycle tour before or after a game this bike loop begins in the parking lot of the National Sports Center(NSC). The route heads south using the service road between NSC and Schwan Super Rink and passes through several parking lots south to 101st  Avenue. Traveling in a clockwise direction drive your bike south on Davenport to the stoplight at 99th Avenue and cross Highway 65. If you are staying at the Asteria Inn & Suites, on 93rd Ave, this is a great place to meet up with the 10-mile loop. it is a short 1/4-mile ride, north on Baltimore Street, from the hotel to 99th Avenue.

The Blaine 10-mile bike loo is fun for all ages.

Crossing the highway and enjoying the trails in Blaine

If you prefer staying off the streets after crossing the highway the trail that runs parallel on 99th Avenue, on the south side, for your added comfort.  On Clover Leaf Parkway, take a right and you are soon on a sequence of city trails up through several neighborhoods. For the next couple miles the route meanderers to the north. As you pedal along the trail you will pass several small neighborhood ponds where it is common to view wildlife.

Many roads here offer trails that parallel for added comfort.

At 113th Ave. the route relies on a combination of roads (with parallel trails). These quiet, low traffic city streets connect you to more neighborhood trails on the route up to Paul Parkway. The last stretch on this section takes riders through the Blaine Baseball Complex with several trail options circling the ball fields. One option, if you don’t mind adding more mileage to your ride is taking a left at the trail T to Bunker Hills Regional Park. On the 10-mile loop turn to the east on Paul Parkway where you will find a trail running parallel with the street.

A sweet tooth option at the 6-mile mark

It’s always fun when riding in the Twin Cities Gateway to stop for ice cream.

If you don’t mind adding a couple of extra miles, take a left on Ulysses Street for ice cream. It is approximately a mile, each way, that you will have to add to your total mileage, But the Big Dipper Creamery is worth the extra miles with 52 flavors to choose. For any bike service needs, while touring here, Pioneer Cycle is across Highway 65, north of Main Street.

Enjoying nature along the trail.

Continuing east on Paul Parkway the route crosses over Highway 65 and turns south on Aberdeen St, again with a trail running parallel on the west side. If you have worked up an appetite for breakfast, lunch or some pie,  Carol’s Restaurant is an option. Her homemade cooking is always a treat when I stop there!. Further south, the 10-mile loop jogs to the east and meanders past some more picturesque trail setting that takes you over a wooden bridge.

Returning back to the NSC or your hotel

After the round-a-bout at 113th, the route continues south on Club W. Parkway. For those staying at the Best Western Plus or  Fairfield Inn & Suites in Blaine, take a right on 108th Ave. The Hotel is south of Target, on the east side to Baltimore Street. If you missed the Big Dipper Creamery option, above you will find ice cream next door to the hotel. For bike touring visitors staying at Asteria Inn & Suites, on 93rd Avenue, continue south using the cue sheet link below.

The 10-mile Blaine loop continues south on Davenport, below 105th Avenue and into the National Sports Center parking lot. Back at the NSC or your hotel checkout a nearby eating establishment and plan another bike adventure in the Twin Cities Gateway Area.

Printable map and Q (cue)-sheet)

For a printable bike map of Blaine click here

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

Rolling into the Twin Cities Gateway across the Coon Rapids Dam.

Coon Rapids parks, trails, and 4th of July celebrations

by Andrew Ellis, HaveFunBiking.com

You’ve got your bike and you’re all set. Now, what do you do and where to ride? Luckily, Coon Rapids in the north metro of the Twin Cities Gateway has plenty for you to do and see. Not only does the area offer many bike-friendly roads and miles of paved trails to explore it also does a bang-up job celebrating the 4th of July.

Riding the Trails of Coon Rapids

You can navigate the city on your bike pretty easily. There’s a great mix of paved trails and bike accessible roads that will get you just about anywhere you need to go. Just use this handy downloadable Coon Rapids bike map and take a tour of the area. It’s easy to connect by trail from places like Bunker Hills Regional Park or the Coon Rapids Dam.

Its easy to get around on the bike friendly roads in the Coon Rapids Area.

It’s easy to get around on your bike on the roads in the Coon Rapids Area, with wide shoulders and friendly motorists.

You can even expand your time exploring the area by boarding the North Star Commuter Rail Line with your bike at the Park & Ride Station. Then, ride the train up to Anoka or down to Fridley and bike back on the Mississippi River Trail (MRT).

Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park

The Coon Rapids Dam Visitors Center is a picturesque place to stop and wonder around.

The Coon Rapids Dam Visitors Center is a picturesque place to stop and wander around.

The Coon Rapids Dam and Park Area might be the easiest part of the MRT to start on. It’s home to a section of the Mississippi River Trail that is fairly flat and takes you through a picturesque residential area along the river. The trail here is very well marked throughout your ride so getting lost won’t be an issue. At the south end of the park, the ride gets a lot more exciting with some twists, turns, and small rolling hills. Even with a semi-challenging climb, there is always a fun descend that follows.

The Coon Rapids section of the trail also surrounds you with a mix of natures forests running into a mix of prairie and wetland areas that are just minutes away from the main road. Here you can even ride your bike or walk across the beloved dam with breathtaking views of Old Man River.

Bunker Hills Regional Park

You will find miles of paved trails running through parks and along major roads here.

You will find miles of paved trails running through the parks here and along major roads to get around.

You can get to Bunker Hills from Coon Rapids Dam using a mix of roads and trails. Once you get onto the trails, you’ll find that many of them connect to other trail options, so explore! In Bunker Hill, you’ll find an exciting trail system that twists and turns, taking you through some beautiful natural prairies area with patches of Oak Savanna forests. Bunker Hill also boasts a fun water park if you need to cool off.

Concerts in the Park

Concerts in the Park in Coon Rapids offer music each Thursday Night through the summer.

Concerts in the park in Coon Rapids provide live music each Thursday night, throughout the summer.

After a long day of exploring the trails, there is nothing better than an evening of outdoor music. Enjoy an evening of free entertainment provided by local bands in the area. This summer concert series is scheduled every Thursday night at 7 p.m. Performances are at the pavilion at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park.

Mini Golf

The Lilli Putt Miniature Golf Course here is a bunch of laughs at each hole.

The Lilli Putt Miniature Golf Course.

At some point, you’ll need a break from riding. Why not play a friendly round of mini golf? Each hole at Lilli Putt Miniature Golf is different and will make putting here fun with every stroke. There are also go-karts and a bumper boat ride available here.

Coon Rapids 4th of July Celebration

Some of the spectacular fireworks at the Coon Rapids 4 of July Celebration.

One shot of some of the spectacular fireworks at the Coon Rapids 4 of July Celebration.

The 4th of July is a celebration for everyone and Coon Rapids knows how to celebrate the holiday properly. There are many events scheduled throughout the weekend. You can enjoy the carnival, eat great food, tap your feet to live music and watch the annual parade. Don’t forget to cap it all off with one of the best fireworks shows in the area.

Visiting Ham Lake with plenty of bike-friendly roads and trails to enjoy.

Summer Or Winter Ham Lake Is A Perfect Place To Visit

by Andrew Ellis

Ham Lake is one of my favorite places to stay when visiting and biking in the Twin Cities Gateway Area. Getting around from here it is easy on my bike for summer fun and winter fat biking. It’s almost like there is a bike-friendly road wherever you go with wide paved shoulders That makes it easy to connect to the Gateway’s vast network of trails. It’s a great place to stay when you want to get out of the confines of your hotel room and explore. Only a few miles from all the other area attraction in the Twin Cities Gateway, Ham Lake offer several opportunities to check out when not exploring the trails and roads here. 

Willow Tree Winery

Not only do Minnesotan’s brew their beer, but they also make their own wine. Here in Ham Lake, you can get a taste of the local wine at a small winery in the spacious farmland of Ham Lake. At Willow Tree Winery you’re free to roam almost anywhere you choose. You can walk among the small vineyard that you’ll be able to see from the road, and if the vines look a little bare that’s because all of the bottling is done in the early fall. There plenty of places to sit down and relax while you sip from the local creations. You can also step inside the small tasting room that has wine bottles stacked and lining the walls, a couple of tables, TVs, and a small counter where the owner usually sits. It’s not a bad place to enjoy before you start riding again.

More Fun Activities In Ham Lake

Bike a half hour south and you’ll find many options including nine holes of disc golf at Bunker Hills Regional Park. You can also ride a little over a half hour north for more disc golf at Blue Ribbon Pines Disc Golf Course in East Bethel. And if you’re looking to try and bowl a perfect game check out Ham Lakes Lanes & Lounge that also features an arcade and food.

A few minutes away from Ham Lake is the Blue Ribbon Pines Disc Golf Course.

A few minutes away from Ham Lake is the Blue Ribbon Pines Disc Golf Course.

T-Box Bar & Grill

At some point, you’ll need fuel and T-Box Bar & Grill has plenty to satisfy your appetite. It’ got everything from wings and salmon to pizza and spaghetti. They even have a great wine and beer section to choose from as well as scotch, whiskey, and bourbon.

Ham Lake Snow Bowl

If you’re around in February, make sure to come by for the annual Ham Lake Snow Bowl on February 10th. It includes a scavenger hunt, ice fishing, local crafts and food, a sliding hill, and more.

Bring your fat bike, or rent one and come to the Annual Ham Lake Snow Bowl on February 10, 2018

Bring your fat bike, or rent one and come to the Annual Ham Lake Snow Bowl

So come and discover the amenities in Ham Lake for your #nextbikeadventure in the Twin Cities Gateway.