Tag Archives: fat biking

Minnesota River bottoms, Bloomington’s natural trail network

John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

It was the summer of 1849, the first Bloomington Ferry began operations next to the Minnesota River bottoms. It carried people from the Bloomington shores to Shakopee. Exactly 40 years later, the first Bloomington Ferry Bridge was opened. Following that, versions of that bridge carried people, carriages, and motorists across the river for over 100 years. The current pedestrian bridge is a beautiful arch, spanning the Minnesota River and connecting Bloomigton to the Highway 101 trail to Shakopee. The Bridge is also the starting point for The Minnesota River Bottoms trail. The River Bottoms are some of the metro areas last natural trails, popular for mountain biking, hiking, fishing and bird watching.

Minnesota River Bottoms

Bikes on the Bloomington Ferry Bridge, near the trail head of the Minnesota River Bottoms

What are the Minnesota river bottoms

The Minnesota River bottoms are worn in by the riders, hikers, and runners who frequent them

The “River Bottoms” to locals, is a trail network stretching from the south west corner of Bloomington, all the way to the trails of Fort Snelling State Park. These trails are worn in by the riders and runners who frequent them. While under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, they are not maintained by any government entity. Due to the fact that the “River Bottoms” aren’t maintained by any organization, the trails often take on a “path of least resistance” or direction. It is not uncommon for new trails to spring up after heavy rains and high river flooding. While riding, expect exclusively dirt trails with some log crossings, sand sections, and occasional overgrowth. Warning, pay particular attention for the Urtica Dioica plants, or stinging nettles, growing on infrequently used trails from June through August.

Wildlife of the Minnesota River Bottoms

Bikers, birdwatchers and hikers can enjoy the wildlife sightings along the banks of the Minnesota River.

Bikers, birdwatchers and hikers can enjoy the wildlife sightings along the banks of the Minnesota River.

The River Bottoms are great for all types of recreation. It’s not uncommon to see hikers, bird watchers and people fishing along the banks of the Minnesota river. I have enjoyed sharing with my son the sights of Bald eagles and Beavers who make the watershed their home. Additionally, being a natural area, the River Bottoms are home to countless animals.

What to expect

There are a few popular entrances to the River Bottom trail, Lyndale Ave, Crest Ave, and Old Cedar Ave. These entrances offer ample parking and a clear trailhead. Once you start down the trail you will see that nothing is paved but worn-in enough to be firm under your tires. While a mountain bike is best for these trails, wider tires on Hybrids and adventure bikes navigate well. If you need to cross a stream, there are bridges or a ferry (at 9-mile creek) to get you around. Because the River Bottoms are so smooth, they are an ideal place to take kids mountain biking.

The Minnesota River bottoms are worn in by the riders, hikers, and runners who frequent them

You will find runners who frequent the natural settings of the Minnesota River bottoms

When to ride

Spring, summer, winter or fall the Minnesota River bottoms is a natural haven for cyclists

The best part of the River Bottoms is that it is one of the first places to dry out each spring. It is also one of the first places to freeze when winter rolls through. Avoid this trail in early spring as the trails thaw and after a strong rain. Other than that, these trails are sandy enough to drain quickly. One of the best things about the river bottoms is riding fatbikes. There in the winter, in fact, fat bikes can trace their development directly to the river bottom. When the snow falls, the river bottoms are a the perfect mixture of flat trail, bermed turns, and accessibility to create a near-perfect winter track.

Winters can get exciting in the Minnesota River bottoms with Penn Cycles Get Fat with Phat fat bike races in January.

We in the twin cities are lucky to have a place like the river bottoms to ride. The fact that it is left free to change and natural is unique in a metro area. To that point, there are user groups that are working against the eventual possibility of developing the river bottom area. Whatever your opinion is on development, get into the wilds of the River Bottoms and enjoy this local treasure.

If you have three days or more free and looking for a true north biking experience in Minnesota, consider Roseau.

A true north biking experience with family and friends in Roseau

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

If you have three days or more free and are looking for a true north biking experience in Minnesota, consider Roseau. A few miles from the Canadian border on a recent visit I found this area full of fun offering many off road bicycling opportunities.

An outdoor bicycle paradise

Perfect for the whole family, the city of Roseau offers a paved bike trail, along with a number of quite street routes. Making it easily get around, to and from your hotel, by bike.

The quite city streets makes it easy and safe to connect to the trail to go downtown.

The quite city streets makes it easy and safe to connect to the trail, to go downtown.

On the eastern edge of the city I found Mount Roseau. With no forest vegetation, it made it easy to see the countryside as I rode up and down the trails of this mountain bike park. At the top the view was worth stopping for. But, what was really exciting was learning about the areas remote logging roads and trails in Beltrami Island State Forest. For the gravel, fat and mountain bike riders, this is a haven if you are craving a true north experience.

Roseau a true north biking experience

Minnesota’s North Star City, the community is located in an environmental transition area of the state where the forest gives way to the prairies of the Red River Valley. Roseau is only 13-mile south of the Canadian Border and 27-mile to Lake of the Woods, by auto it is a six hour drive from the Twin Cities. In this friendly Scandinavian community, visitors will find many recreational opportunities in the towns parks and nearby state forests parks.

As a result of this unique location, wildlife enthusiasts traveling by auto, bike or foot can appreciate the outdoor paradise this area offers. Nearly forty percent of Roseau County is open, accessible through state and county parks, forests and wildlife areas. Surrounding Roseau there are tamarack bogs to the north, prairie grasslands to the west and sandy pine forests to the east. All areas provide ample opportunity for a gravel road ride or wilderness fat and mountain biking adventure. Along the way take in several wildlife viewing stations, pick berries or go for a hike and explore. Plus, Roseau is a prime stop on Minnesota’s premier bird watching list, on the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail.

Parks to explore in the area

Four of the most visited Roseau outdoor recreation areas are the Roseau City Park, Sprague Creek Natural Area, Hayes Lake State Park and Beltrami State Forest.

Roseau City Park

The mountain Bike trail on Mount Roseau.

The mountain bike trail on Mount Roseau.

The  City Park here is located on 40 wooded acres in southeast section of the city, along the Roseau River. The park provides a variety of activities including mountain biking and a paved trail. Here you will find Mount Roseau mountain bike trail system offering over 6.5 miles of fun twists and turns for all skill levels. The park also offers: various playground equipment, sand volleyball, a fishing pier and Frisbee golf activities.

Click here to see our bike map of Roseau.

Sprague Creek Natural Area

Easy to ride to, the Peatland Scientific and Natural Area, is just north of Roseau. Once you arrive this area offers hiking trails that features many bird viewing opportunities.

Hayes Lake State Park

Accessible by bike, Hayes Lake State Park is located 18 miles southeast of Roseau, on County Road 4. Located on the edge of Beltrami Island State Forest, this quiet true north park consists of 3,000 acres of pines, Hayes Lake and wildlife. The park also features a day use area with fishing pier, swimming beach and campsites. The lake is a non-motorized recreational area where canoeing is a popular activity. Hayes Lake also offers the opportunity to view rare birds such as bald eagles, great grey owls, Sandhill cranes and a variety of warblers. Wildlife found in the area includes elk, moose, bear and wolves.

Beltrami State Forest

From this forest road many logging roads and trails intersect and are ready yo explore.

From this forest road many primitive logging roads and trails intersect and are ready to explore by bike.

Further east from the State Park and as I mentioned earlier, what really excites me about this area for a true north biking experience in Beltrami Island State Forest. The second largest of Minnesota’s 59 state forests, there are five rivers that have their headwaters here. Also containing scientific and natural areas riding the forest here is unique.

A family enjoying a true north bike experience in the forest.

A family enjoying a true north bike experience in the forest.

In this huge forest there are more than 138 miles of logging roads and trail to explore on your bike.  Make sure you have a compass or GPS device along when exploring the trails. Pedaling around low flatland’s, peat bogs and ridges covered in pines it’s easy to get lost. Pedaling along the forest roads you will pass through the heart of blueberry country. You might find evidence of a former homestead foundation or village also.

When not biking

From wheels to snow track the the Thrill Team helped to promote snowmobiling with this stunt track.

From wheels to snow track the the Thrill Team helped to promote snowmobiling with this stunt track.

Being the birthplace of snowmobiling and Polaris Industries, in between daily outings take in a assembly plant tour and visit the museum in Roseau. At the Experience Center see artifacts from the earliest snowmobiles to Polaris’s movement into All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV’s). History buffs will enjoy the Roseau Pioneer Farm and Village, as well as the Roseau County Museum.

Another Roseau summer tradition is the 100-year old Roseau County Fair. Held in the middle of July, this annual event can add to your biking adventure if you visit at that time. Other activities around town include the community pool, paddling the Roseau River, the local theatre, a bowling alley and arcade. Plus, downtown you will find many antique shops to browse through and reminisce about the past.

Places to stay for a true north biking experience

On my last visit, while exploring this true north play land I headquartered at the AmericInn.  Roseau also offers a couple more hotels to fit your needs. Camping (RV and tent sites-with water and electric) in the city park is also an option.

Roseau has something for every interest. Check your calendar and plan your next true north biking experience today.

With an undulating pattern of spring weather to prepare us, the Summer of 2018 is officially here! Today's solstice bike pic was taken at Lebanon Hills Trail, in Eagan, MN, last year.

Bike Pic June 21, fun is in the air as Summer is officially here!

With an undulating pattern of spring weather to prepare us, the Summer of 2018 is officially here! Today’s solstice bike pic was taken at Lebanon Hills Trail, in Eagan, MN, last year. Here two young biker chicks at an event were having a great time. What a fun way to start the summer fun, then at a bike event!

Get into the zone and plan your next bike outing with family and friends at one of the many HaveFunBiking Destinations. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the new HaveFunBiking Guide.

Thanks for viewing our ‘Monday Morning Sun’ Bike Pic   

Now rolling into our 11th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more destinations you can have fun at we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger, to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the latest  Bike Guide, mobile friendly as we enter into our 9th year of producing print and digital guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our pic’s with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with a HFB camera ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. Capturing you in one of our next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great day and a memorable new year ahead!

Riding into the Monday morning sun as our beautiful  spring weather continues. Today's photo was taken in Lakeville, MN as this biker chick was having a great time with a friend pedaling the town.

Bike Pic May 21, riding into the Monday morning sun

Riding into the Monday morning sun as our beautiful  spring weather continues. Today’s photo was taken in Lakeville, MN as this biker chick was having a great time. What a fun way to start the week!

Get into the zone and plan your next bike outing with family and friends at one of the many HaveFunBiking Destinations. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the new HaveFunBiking Guide.

Thanks for viewing our ‘Monday Morning Sun’ Pic of the Day  

Now rolling into our 11th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more destinations you can have fun at we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger, to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the latest  Bike Guide, mobile friendly as we enter into our 9th year of producing print and digital guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our pic’s with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with a HFB camera ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. Capturing you in one of our next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great day and a memorable new year ahead!

Riding into the Monday morning sun as our spring weather, feels more like June temperatures. Today's photo was taken on a Lebanon Hills Trail, in Eagan, MN with this biker chick having a great time. What a fun way to start the week!

Bike Pic May 14, riding into the Monday morning sun

Riding into the Monday morning sun as our spring weather, feels more like June temperatures. Today’s photo was taken on a Lebanon Hills Trail, in Eagan, MN with this biker chick having a great time. What a fun way to start the week!

Get into the zone and plan your next bike outing with family and friends at one of the many HaveFunBiking Destinations. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the new HaveFunBiking Guide.

Thanks for viewing our ‘Monday Morning Sun’ Pic of the Day  

Now rolling into our 11th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more destinations you can have fun at we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger, to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the latest  Bike Guide, mobile friendly as we enter into our 9th year of producing print and digital guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our pic’s with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with a HFB camera ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. Capturing you in one of our next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great day and a memorable new year ahead!

With just few piles of snow along the Minnesota River, this wheelie Wednesday or Hump Day, take a chance on #25 of 30 Days of Biking. If life were a fat bike trail a wheelie could help smooth out your day-to-day ride

Bike Pic April 25, wheelie Wednesday may help you into your sweet spot

With a few remnants of snow, along the Minnesota River this wheelie Wednesday take a chance. If life were a fat bike trail a wheelie could help smooth out your day-to-day ride.

This photo was taken in January at  Race #1, at a Get Phat with Pat event in the Minnesota River Bottoms, in Bloomington, MN.

Get into the zone and plan your next bike outing with family and friends at one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the new HaveFunBiking Guide.

Thanks for viewing our ‘Wheelie Wednesday’ Pic of the Day  

Now rolling into our 11th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more destinations you can have fun at we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger, to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the latest  Bike Guide, mobile friendly as we enter into our 9th year of producing print and digital guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our pic’s with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with a HFB camera ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. Capturing you in one of our next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great day and a memorable new year ahead!

As we plow through more wet snow, a bike pic to remember! This wheelie Wednesday or Hump Day, take a chance.

Bike Pic April 11, wheelie Wednesday may help you into your sweet spot

As we plow through more wet snow, a bike pic to remember! This wheelie Wednesday or Hump Day, take a chance. If life were a fat bike trail a wheelie could help smooth out your day-to-day ride or aid you in dropping into your sweet spot. Why not review the following tips to make your week an adrenaline high?

This photo was taken in January at  Race #1, at a Get Phat with Pat event in the Minnesota River Bottoms, in Bloomington, MN.

Get into the zone and plan your next bike outing with family and friends at one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the new HaveFunBiking Guide.

Thanks for viewing our ‘Wheelie Wednesday’ Pic of the Day  

Now rolling into our 11th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more destinations you can have fun at we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger, to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the latest  Bike Guide, mobile friendly as we enter into our 9th year of producing print and digital guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our pic’s with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with a HFB camera ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. Capturing you in one of our next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great day and a memorable new year ahead!

A bike pic to remember! As we get more snow on #9 of 30 Days of Biking into the Monday morning sun we reflect back to January with the Get Phat with Pat races.

Bike Pic April 9, riding into the Monday morning sun

A bike pic to remember! As we get more snow on #9 of 30 Days of Biking, we reflect back to January.

This photo was taken in January at  Race #1, at a Get Phat with Pat event in the Minnesota River Bottoms, in Bloomington, MN.

Get into the zone and plan your next bike outing with family and friends at one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the new HaveFunBiking Guide.

Thanks for viewing our ‘Monday Morning Sun’ Pic of the Day  

Now rolling into our 11th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more destinations you can have fun at we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger, to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the latest  Bike Guide, mobile friendly as we enter into our 9th year of producing print and digital guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our pic’s with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with a HFB camera ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. Capturing you in one of our next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great day and a memorable new year ahead!

As we plow through more snow, a bike pic to remember! This wheelie Wednesday or Hump Day, take a chance like this dude riding the MN River Bottoms, in Bloomington.

Bike Pic April 4, wheelie Wednesday may help you into your sweet spot

As we plow through more snow, a bike pic to remember! This wheelie Wednesday or Hump Day, take a chance. If life were a fat bike trail a wheelie could help smooth out your day-to-day ride or aid you in dropping into your sweet spot. Why not review the following tips to make your week an adrenaline high?

This photo was taken in January at  Race #1, at a Get Phat with Pat event in the Minnesota River Bottoms, in Bloomington, MN.

Get into the zone and plan your next bike outing with family and friends at one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the new HaveFunBiking Guide.

Thanks for viewing our ‘Wheelie Wednesday’ Pic of the Day  

Now rolling into our 11th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more destinations you can have fun at we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger, to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the latest  Bike Guide, mobile friendly as we enter into our 9th year of producing print and digital guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our pic’s with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with a HFB camera ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. Capturing you in one of our next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great day and a memorable new year ahead!

This wheelie Wednesday or Hump Day, take a chance. If life were a fat bike trail a wheelie could help smooth out your day-to-day ride or aid you in dropping into your sweet spot.

Bike Pic March 28, wheelie Wednesday may help you into your sweet spot

A bike pic to remember! This wheelie Wednesday or Hump Day, take a chance. If life were a fat bike trail a wheelie could help smooth out your day-to-day ride or aid you in dropping into your sweet spot. Why not review the following tips to make your week an adrenaline high?

This photo was taken in January at  Race #1, at a Get Phat with Pat event in the Minnesota River Bottoms, in Bloomington, MN.

Get into the zone and plan your next bike outing with family and friends at one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the new HaveFunBiking Guide.

Thanks for viewing our ‘Wheelie Wednesday’ Pic of the Day  

Now rolling into our 11th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more destinations you can have fun at we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger, to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the latest  Bike Guide, mobile friendly as we enter into our 9th year of producing print and digital guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our pic’s with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with a HFB camera ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. Capturing you in one of our next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great day and a memorable new year ahead!