Tag Archives: Coon Rapids Dam 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. The Coon Creek Trail and the Mississippi River Trail are two greenway systems here that allow you to pedal safely 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 trail that runs 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 between two residences, and the real fun begins. Then, as the trail drops into the forested vegetation along the bank of the Mississippi River, it’s 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 its history. The dam is another popular fishing location and a crossing point for 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. You can ride the designated bike lane or use the pedestrian path paralleling the street on a bike-friendly road. 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, the 10-mile loop takes a right at the trail T. If you want to add a few 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.

Enjoy the smells, sounds, and views of nature along the trail.

The trail runs parallel along Coon Rapids Extension and Boulevard for the last few miles of the route. 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

By bike or car Twin Cities Trout Fishing at Cenaiko Lake is worth checking out.

Twin Cities Trout Fishing Along the MRT

Want to Test Your Skills at a Twin Cities Trout Fishing Hot Spot?

If catching Rainbow Trout is on your list, then Cenaiko Lake in the Twin Cities Gateway is a great place to check out. This small man-made lake is located in Coon Rapids, Minnesota and is the perfect place for the whole family to fish and reap the rewards. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) stocks this lake twice a year with nine to sixteen inch trout. In the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park system, the lake is next to the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) for those who prefer to commute there by bike.

By bike or car, Twin Cities trout fishing on Cenaiko Lake is fun.

A Twin Cities trout fishing hot spot Cenaiko Lake is a fun place to fish.

Each fall, after the summer trout season ends, the MNDNR stocks the lake with Rainbows. Then, again in the spring after ice has melted, they restock the lake again. Designated as a trout lake, you can also catch Small-Mouth Bass and Hybrid Sunfish here. However, note that fishing is only allowed during the trout season. Please see the Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet for complete rules and guidelines.

Operated by Anoka County Parks, the Cenaiko Lake basin was formed from an old gravel pit where the deepest spot is 36 feet. A local fishing spot long before trout were introduced, shore fishing is accessible around the lake. There is a fee to enter the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park system, if you arrive by car. For those who choose to use a bicycle or travel into the park by foot, then the fee is waived. Connecting to the MRT you will find a paved trail around the shoreline. Along the trail you will also find  several picnic shelters and a playground to make this fishing destination a family event.

Summer Twin Cities Trout Fishing Opportunities

From the middle of April through the end of September, the entire shoreline around the lake is open for fishing. There is no boat access, but a fishing pier is available for use. The favorite bait for casting is wooly buggers and pheasant tail nymphs. See a Video of some young fishermen catching their limit.

Winter Twin Cities Trout Fishing Opportunities

Winter lake trout fishing season is mid-January (or when the ice is safe), through the end of March. For more information, visit dnr.state.mn.us.

For more information call Anoka County Parks at 763-757-3920.

Other Twin City Metro Trout Fishing Destinations

Looking for more places for fly fishing in the metro area when Cenaiko Lake isn’t producing? Learn more about fly fishing locations in the Twin Cities metro area below.

There are a few trout fishing lakes and a stream that are located in the south and west metro area. These places provide great access to fly fishing. You can also try fishing beach areas on lakes (where permitted) at dusk and dawn when other lakes are heavily vegetated.

Christmas Lake

Near Excelsior, Christmas Lake is just across MN Highway 7 from Lake Minnetonka. Water quality allows for “two-story” fish management. If you venture into the deeper waters here, you will find trout and the Bass-Panfish-Northern Pike fish community spread throughout the rest of the lake. Because Christmas is not a Designated Trout Lake, anglers can fish non-trout species during their legal seasons. Please remember trout fishing during closed seasons is both illegal and poor sportsmanship. The lake lacks shore fishing qualities, however, there is a small public access. Unfortunately, adjacent street parking is unavailable.

Courthouse Lake

In Chaska, the Courthouse Lake fish population has changed significantly in recent years due to flooding. After the flood in 1993, the lake was designated as a trout lake and a total lake reclamation was preformed. Then, in 1995, Rainbow Trout were introduced to the lake along with Brook and Brown Trout being stocked there in following years.

Holland Lake

In Eagan, located in within Lebanon Hills Regional Park Reserve, is Holland Lake were surplus adult Brown and Rainbow Trout are stocked. The water quality in the lake is excellent and trout stocked in recent years have been well received by anglers. There is no boat access and winter kill has been an issue. Thanks to the Dakota County Parks an aeration device is being used to bring up the oxygen level in  the winter.

Eagle Creek

And in Savage, Eagle Creek is at the crossroads of busy Highways 13 and 101 in Scott County.  A self-sustaining but small population of Brown Trout in the stream there requires that you obey the Special Regulation — catch-and-release only policy.

Good luck!