Tag Archives: Fridley

As fall approaches and many of the migratory birds starting to gather for their departure south on the flyway, we wanted to share a few bike/birding hotspots we found in the Twin Cities Gateway.

A Minnesota fall bike/birding hotspot in the Twin Cities Gateway to enjoy

As fall approaches and many of the migratory birds starting to gather for their departure south on the flyway, we wanted to share a few bike/birding hotspots we found in the Twin Cities Gateway. While ground-truthing a few bike maps in the MN Bike/Hike Guide we noticed some wildlife haunts perfect for viewing the fall migration.

As migratory birds start gather for their departure south on the flyway this fall.

As migratory birds start gather for their departure south on the flyway this fall.

An area once inhabited by Dakota and Ojibwe tribes, today the nine communities in the Gateway offer excellent viewing opportunities in the parks along its lakes and the Mississippi River. These parks provide nature enthusiasts several places to enjoy bird watching. Why here? From these areas alone you are able to spot an impressive list of waterfowl, along with hawks and songbirds that are still around. Starting with many spots along the Mississippi River Trail (MRT), the Rice Creek Trail and the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary (BWS) check all the Important Birding Areas (IBA) out:

Bike/birding hotspots along the Mississippi River

The Mississippi River, north of Minneapolis, is an important IBA waterfowl area that is adjacent to floodplains areas easily accessible to the MRT bike trails passing through Anoka, Coon Rapids and Fridley. This IBA area also connects to the Rice Creek corridor and its adjacent floodplain on public lands. With the bike trail following the stream, it flows out of the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes, near Lino Lakes, towards the Mississippi where you will find many birding opportunities. According to the National Audubon Society website this IBA lies within an area that has a very high population density and an area that is one of the fastest growing areas in the Twin Cities area.

A viewing spot on the Mississippi River Trail near the Coon Rapids Dam.

A viewing spot on the Mississippi River Trail near the Coon Rapids Dam.

The Mississippi Flyway is not only a tremendously important flyway for waterfowl, it also attracts raptors and other migratory birds. Warblers can be seen in abundance along the river because of its rich source of insects during both the spring and fall migrations.

Bike/birding hotspots along the Rice Creek Trail

A group of birders set up viewing along the Rice Creek Trail.

A group of birders set up viewing along the Rice Creek Trail.

The Rice Creek IBA is another Important Birding Area and consists of two parts: The Ramsey County Open Space, also known as Arden Hills Army Training Site (AHATS) and Rice Creek North. This stretch, you will find sizeable populations of birds and other animals in a supported variety of marsh, grassland, and wooded habitats. See the National Audubon Society website on this northeast section of the Rice Creek flowage.

The Blaine Wetland Sanctuary

Back in the center of the Twin Cities Gateway, the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary (BWS) offers over 500 acres of wetland and upland habitat for viewing. A boardwalk through the sanctuary, extended from a parking area connect the existing paved trail to East Lake Park. Walk or ride your bike, with viewing equipment, along with the boardwalk and trail.

For more information on these birding hotspots and others, contact Ramsey County Parks and Recreation Department at (651) 748-2500 or see www.co.ramsey.mn.us/parks for more information.

Nearby places to stay and connect to the trails while birding, see these Twin Cities Gateway lodging properties. For maps showing bike trail access from your selected hotel, check here.

Have Fun!

Bike Pic July 14, Mississippi River Trail to the Twin Cities Gateway

An experience you are sure to want share, biking along Ol’ Man River is a National Park treasure you will discover while visiting the Twin Cities Gateway. If you are new to the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) system, this segment of the trail offers the perfect round-the-river bike loop with a 13 and 26-mile option. A great choice for nature lovers and families alike showcasing some of the best the river has to offer.

Find many more bike friendly places to explore in the new Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide.

Thanks for viewing the Bike Pic of the Day here at HaveFunBiking (HFB). 

Now rolling into our 10th year as a bicycle tourism media source, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike, while showcasing unforgettable places to ride. As HFB searches and presents more fun cycling related photos, worth a grin, scroll through the information and stories we have posted that may help you Find Your Next Adventure. Then, while out there if you see us along a paved or mountain bike trail, next to the route you regularly commute on, or at an event you plan to attend, be prepared to smile. You never know where our cameras will be and what we will post next!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you know that you would like to see us post? If so, please send it our way and we may use it. Send your picture(s) to: editor@HaveFunBiking.com with a brief caption (of each), including who is in the photo (if you know?) and where it was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 800 pixels wide or larger for us to consider using them. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and an acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As HaveFunBiking continues to encourage more people to ride, please reference our blog and the annual print and quarterly digital Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide to Find Your Next Adventure. We are proud of the updated  At-a-Glance information and maps we are known for at the HFB Destination section on our website and in the guide. Now, as the Guide goes into its seventh year of production, we are adding a whole new dimension of information, now available for mobile devices.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure – we may capture you in one of the next photos we post.

Have a great day!

A Mississippi River Trail bike loop in one of our National Parks

An experience you are sure to want share is biking along Ol’ Man River. Ol’ Man River is a National Park treasure you will discover while visiting the Twin Cities Gateway. If you are new to the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) system, this segment of the trail offers the perfect round-the-river bike loop with a 13 and 26-mile option. This is a great choice for nature lovers and families alike showcasing some of the best the river has to offer.

 

 

MRT Loop a part of the Mississippi River Recreation Area

In the middle of a bustling Minnesota urban setting is the scenic MRT. MRT is a part of the 72-mile Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, managed by the National Park Service (NSP). The trail starts in the historic downtown area of Anoka (a Gateway City at the point where the Rum and Mississippi Rivers meet). Here, cyclists can consider a number of unique eating establishments, before or after their ride.

Touring this MRT Loop offers a chance to pedal through several parks, a national wildlife refuge, and along city streets. These streets are filled with stunning homes with beautiful landscapes. Beginning in historic downtown Anoka, the suggested route takes the East MRT Trail along the quiet city streets there. You will pass through the historic Christian Hill and McCauley’s Pond neighborhoods. Soon riders are cruising along a trail that parallels the local boulevard in the Gateway City of Coon Rapids. Then, along Mississippi Boulevard, a low traffic street that takes you to the Coon Rapids Dam, your first river crossing option.

Bike riding the Mississippi River Trail, in Twin Cities Gateway community of Coon Rapid, MN.

Bike riding the Mississippi River Trail, in Twin Cities Gateway community of Coon Rapid, MN.

Coon Rapids Dam makes the perfect place for a picnic

Here, seven miles into the ride, you will find the perfect place to bring a picnic lunch or cross over the river, for the 14-mile loop.  The dam, built in the early 1900’s, today offers some of the best bird watching in the Twin Cities Metro Area. The 446-acre park boasts an extensive trail system. This is great for bicyclists, roller-bladders, and hikers alike.

For those riding the 26-mile loop, continue along the MRT‘s East bank trail. You will be riding from one river community neighborhood to the next. Soon you are in the Gateway City of Fridley. This is the halfway point of your ride where you will head North after crossing the I-694/Mississippi River Bridge crossing. Now, on the West bank, the MRT takes you back up to the Coon Rapids Dam. Then, the trail continues up to Champlin, where the Loop crosses Hwy 169/Bridge into Anoka.

For more information on the MRT and the Twin Cities Gateway, click here.