Tag Archives: Lino Lakes MN

Pedal, then Paddle Gateway's Rice Creek Chain of Lakes with canoe and kayak rentals at the Wargo Nature Center.

Pedal, then Paddle the TC Gateways Rice Creek Chain of Lakes

For a wildlife-rich summer, experience not soon forgotten, pedal, then paddle, the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes up in the Twin Cities Gateway Area. With an abundance of bike trails and roads to get there, you will find several options at Wargo Nature Center once arriving. Head out with a paddle, hike, or bike the trails that meander around the chain of lakes shoreline in this mammoth park reserve in the Twin City Area.

Paddling the Twin Cities Gateway's Rice Creek Chain of Lakes is a wildlife-rich experience to remember.

Paddling the Twin Cities Gateway’s Rice Creek Chain of Lakes is a wildlife-rich experience to remember.

You will find the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes near the community of Lino Lakes, on the south side of Interstate 35W. Once there, Nature Center can fix you up with canoe and kayak rentals to paddle Rice Creek Chain of Lakes. It is a bit of heaven in the north metro area. Being able to paddle out from the Nature Center on George Watch Lake is a tranquil experience.

What You Will See Paddling the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes

Through the summer and into the fall, you can paddle out from the dock at the Nature Center and connect to one lake after the next. Along the way, you are sure to see occasional Leopard frogs hopping off a Lilly pad. Then, perhaps you’ll ever see a Blue Heron and Snowy White Egrets lift off as you pass by.

Hawks are common spectators to the activities as you paddle along the water trail or pedal along the bike trail in the Rice Creek Reserve.

Hawks are familiar spectators watching as you paddle along the water trail or the bike trail in the Reserve.

The creek and lakes on this water trail offer excellent bird-watching opportunities. And this is the perfect place for the novice paddler. Adventurers will see plenty of raptors such as egrets and herons perching in nearby trees or forage along the shoreline. Along the way, you may see a sandpiper scampered across a sandbar.

Egrets and blue heron are also a common to see as you paddle along.

Egrets and Blue Heron are common to see as you paddle.

Maybe you’ll see a  soft-shell turtle sliding off the bank. Or perhaps an eagle, osprey, or Turkey Vulture swooping down to grab its meal as a fish jumps. It’s scenic and wild at its best, right here in the Twin Cities Gateway!


About the Rice Creek Chain

The nearly 5,300-acre Rice Creek Chain is one of two regional parks in the Twin Cities Area that offer multiple-lake paddling. According to many who paddle this north metro chain, the mix of lake and forest vegetation makes it feel like a mini-Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The other Reserve in the south metro is Lebanon Hills Park. Lebanon Hills Park is a 2,000-acre multi-lake area with only portage paths between them.

Generally, on the Rice Creek Chain, portaging is not necessary. The only exception is the occasional downed tree to circumvent, which usually happens in the spring. This rustic North Metro reserve has a water trail wandering through several lakes before reaching Rice Creek. Rice Creek is a more challenging, less-traveled stretch that flows south to Long Lake. From there, it heads to the Mississippi River.

Paddlers who want a more extended trip can follow Rice Creek out the northwest corner of Long Lake in New Brighton. The creek flows to the Mississippi River at Manomin Park in Fridley. The complete paddle from the Lake Peltier boat ramp in the Rice Creek Reserve to the Mississippi River is about 22 miles.

Rice Creek Reserve rents equipment

Wargo Nature Center is the place for canoe, kayak, and life jacket rentals. Located on George Watch Lake, rentals can also be used on Peltier, Marshan, Rice, and Reshanau Lakes. Paddle craft rentals are available May through September, during regular hours. Here is their website for rental prices and times: https://www.anokacounty.us/874/Recreational-Rental-Equipment. Call 651-429-8007 to check watercraft availability, lake temperatures, and water levels.

For those who want to use their canoes or kayaks in the Reserve, paddling access points include Rice Creek crossings near: Hodgson Road, Lexington Avenue, County Road I, and County Road J.

In the winter, the Wargo Nature Center rents snowshoes for those who want to explore the park in a colder season.

The Lino Lakes 10-mile bike loop is a true Minnesota experience

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

Here it can feel like you are smack dab in the middle of northern Minnesota, especially while enjoying bike loops along the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes. A perfect place for your next bike vacation the Lino Lakes 10-bike loop and the many trail connections here are worth considering. One of nine Twin Cities Gateway communities, the Lino Lakes area supports a large Blue Heron rookery and hosts the annual Blue Heron Days Festival held in the middle of August. Regardless of when you visit, you are sure to see several species of wildlife to enhance your Minnesota experience while pedaling while biking here.

A true north experience!

The Lino Lakes bike loop is a true north experience

For the Lino Lakes 10-bike loop, the route travels clockwise and begins at the parking lot of the Hampton Inn. After pulling out from the hotel you will find a bike trail running parallel on the east side of Lake Drive. From there It’s a short distance before you are riding in the stunning Rice Creek Park Preserves. One of the largest preserves in the Twin Cities Area the Rice Creek Chain offers both paved and water trails. On the bike route, you are sure to see some of the most significant native wildlife habitat and water resources in the metro area.

The Lino Lakes Area is a family fun location.

Entering the trail system next to the Lino Lakes YMCA the trail circles the shoreline around Marshan Lake, before crossing over the Rice Creek, as it flows out of George Watch Lake. At the next trail T, the route takes a sharp left and runs parallel to the golf course road. After a sharp right curve and before the clubhouse a service road helps trail riders get over to the north shoreline of Reshanan Lake.

From a cottage community to the park it is an enjoyable ride

Passing the Reshanan Lake cottage community, soon Shadow Lake Drive disappears and trail riders are meandering past marshy areas with occasional patches of a forest while making their way to Centerville Lake. Now on E Street, at the boat landing, it’s a short distance along the service road here up to the beach area where you will find restrooms and a visitor center. Leaving the park take the trial to the entrance on Main Street. The Lino Lakes 10-bike loop heads north, but there is an option if you don’t mind adding a couple more miles. Consider taking the trails south along Main Street and visiting the charming little community of Centerville.

A few more options as the Lino Lakes 10-bike loop heads north

Wildlife viewing along the roads and trails here offers many opportunities.

Pedaling north on the trail parallel to Main Street you will cross Rice Creek again as it flows from Peltier Lake across the road to George Watch Lake. Here from the road look up to the northeast end of Lake Peltier and you can make out the Blue Heron Rookery. Soon you are passing the entrance to Wargo Nature Center. A place devoted to increasing the awareness and appreciation of natural and cultural resources. The center is located on a peninsula surrounded by George Watch Lake and offers activities, labs and equipment rental. For another outing, check out the available rental canoes and kayaks to experience the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes water trail.

Back in Lino Lakes for a cool beverage and fun

After a ride, many enjoy stopping in Lino Lakes for a cool beverage.

After crossing over 35W, on the wide shoulder, you are rolling back into Lino Lakes. As you turn onto Lake Drive consider stopping in at the Hammerhead Brewery before returning to the Hampton Inn. Back at the parking lot, check out the nearby eating establishments and plan another fun adventure in the Twin Cities Gateway Area.

Printable map and Q (cue)-sheet)

For a printable bike map of Lino Lakes click here

For a turn-by-turn, Q-sheet of Lino Lakes click here

Its easy for the whole family to bike to Forever Halloween, in Anoka, MN -the Halloween Capitol of the World.

Carve some good times with forever Halloween in Anoka

If Halloween is one of your favorite times of the year, get ready for the premier and unveiling of the new Forever Halloween Postage Stamp! This Forever Halloween event, in Anoka, MN,  kicks off a fun season of pumpkins and trick or treaters in the Halloween Capital of the World.  Then, this is followed by several weeks of ghosts and goblin fun.  All of this is the lead up to the great hallowed event on October 31st.  With hotel accommodations easily available around the nine Twin Cities Gateway communities, it’s a quick drive by car or bike ride to all the 2016 Spooktakular Events.

This year’s events begin September 29th with the unveiling of the new official ‘Forever Halloween’ postage stamp. Then, the fun really heats up on the weekend of October 14th  because of the Pumpkin Bowl, the famous Orange Tie Ball, and a medallion hunt. The following week take a tour of the decorated spooky homes, participate in the Annual Gray Ghost 5K, and enjoy the Grand Day Parade celebrating all things Halloween. Located in the northern Twin Cities Metro community of Anoka, it’s the 96th year the town has hosted this event.

Through the years Anoka’s Halloween celebration prides itself in offering world class fun. Afterwards, in the last weekend in October, participation in the night parade and Grand Day parade has grown to include floats and marching bands from all over the Midwest. In addition, the original concept of having costumed local student’s parade down Main Street, hasn’t changed a bit.

Forever Halloween Unveiling to Kick Off the Spooky Season

Here is the new Forever Halloween stamp that kicks off the Anoka, MN - Halloween Capitol of the World celebrations

Here is the new Forever Halloween stamp that kicks off the Anoka, MN – Halloween Capitol of the World celebrations.

Join the fun as the Unites States Postal Service proudly unveils the first day issue of the first official 2016 Forever Halloween stamp. This takes place in the city of Anoka. The event, on September 29th, will take place at River Plaza (the Old City Hall) on 1st Ave N. The event starts at 10:30 a.m. for a Plaza Gathering. Then, at 11 a.m. the Ceremony and Stamp Unveiling will take place. Afterwards, since you’re in the area anyway for the event, you might want to pick up some Halloween themed post cards. The fun post cards available feature the upcoming events that you can mail to your friends. Also, don’t forget the new stamps!

Ramp Up Halloween with the Pumpkin Bowl and Orange Tie Ball

Are you ready for some Halloween themed football? Friday evening, October 14th, the Anoka High School football team plays their rival Chanplin, located on the other side of the Mississippi River Trail. Then, on Saturday, tour the decorated homes around Anoka before the annual Orange Tie Ball begins! The fun evening will include dinner, dance, raffles & silent auctions, and more. All proceeds go to the Anoka area students scholarship fund. If you have any questions, contact: [email protected].

The Grand Finale of Anoka’s 2016 Forever Halloween

Then, with a wine tasting event and more decorated homes to see, all of it leads to the grand finale. The grand finale of Anoka’s 2016 Forever Halloween season begins the last Friday in October with a Big Parade of Little People. This parade showcases the local school children dressed in their best costumes. Join the fun by watching the parade that started this event ninety-six years ago.

The finale of the Halloween Capitol of the World is the Grand Day Parade - the largest in the state.

The finale of the Halloween Capitol of the World is the Grand Day Parade – the largest in the state.

Then, on Saturday, enter the Halloween Gray Ghost 5K Run & 1 Mile Walk. See the flyer for more details. Later in the afternoon, celebrate the Halloween Capital of the World’s™ parade – the largest in the state. During the parade, the T-6 Thunder will showcase a special flyover as the parade begins. Sponsored by Federal Premium, all this and more happens on Main Street and Fifth Avenue, in Anoka, MN at 1 p.m. And there is still more to see and do throughout October if you have the 2016 Anoka, MN Halloween Capital of the World button .

Getting to the 2016 Forever Halloween by Bicycle is Easy and Safe

No matter where you are staying in the Twin Cities Greenway, it’s easy and safe to get to the Downtown Anoka events by bike. From Blaine, Coon Rapids, Fridley, Ham Lake, Lino Lakes, Moundsview, New Brighton, and Shoreview, you will find bike friendly routes to easily get there. See all nine Minnesota community maps showing you the trails and bike friendly roads there for a ghoulish time or for exploring anytime throughout the year.

With the second Largest rookery in the state, bike over to Lino Lakes Blue Heron Days. The event starts on August 17th and will keep you and your family entertained for the whole weekend!

Ride your bike to and from Blue Heron Days for a good time

Emily Stocker, HaveFunBiking.

When you’re in Lino Lakes it can feel like you’re smack dab in the middle of northern Minnesota, especially when you bike to Blue Heron Days. One of eight Twin Cities Gateway communities, Lino Lakes has the second largest Blue Heron rookery in the state. While visiting you can pedal along many wide open roads and trails that take you by lakes and scenery that can meet you with the horizon. A place where roads, with no shoulder, offer trails or sidewalks that parallel the street to connect you to the vast Twin Cities Gateway trail system. Along the way enjoy the many options including the Blue Heron Celebration, August 17-19, when visiting Lino Lakes.

Bike to Blue Heron Days

Start the weekend with a free yoga session, perfect for yogis or newbies alike. After a relaxing workout, head over to Sunrise Park and catch some softball. There, the American Legion and Lino Lakes Police Department tournament will be taking place and is sure to be a great game. Afterwards, take the kids over to Lino Park with some blankets to watch Disney’s Inside Out. Finish the Friday by dancing the night away at the street dance featuring the band, A Girl’s Journey.

Saturday’s Event

The Lino Lakes Blue Heron Days Festival parade has many floats and marching bands.

The Lino Lakes Blue Heron Days Festival parade has many floats and marching bands.

Saturday, August 20th is packed full of events, making it one day you don’t want to miss. Bright and early, at 8 a.m., the day begins with Police Officer Shawn Silvera Memorial Run. Bring the kids to the YMCA at 9 a.m. for a Kids’ Fun Run and then head over to the parade at 11a.m. to enjoy music and floats. After catching and eating all that candy at the parade, jump off all of the sugar on the inflatables in Lino Park. Sit for a caricature drawing or a henna tattoo from 1 to 4 p.m. nearby. Also, take in the Business Expo, the Art Fair from noon to 4 p.m., a petting zoo, kiddie carnival, and live music by Authorities, all in Lino Park.  Saturday afternoon will keep you busy. Afterwards, another street dance closes the night with the band 8 Foot 4 jamming out for your entertainment.

Sunday’s Event

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. take a tour of Waldoch Farm’s Garden. Come on an empty stomach because they will also have a corn feed. Close out the weekend by supporting the royalty program. At 4:30 p.m. in Centennial Middle School, watch the crowning of the new Lino Lakes Ambassadors.

Get ready for a great weekend and bike over to Blue Heron Festival that runs from August 17th to the 19th.

More info for planning a trip to the Twin Cities Gateway

For bike friendly maps of the to get around the Lino Lakes and the rest of the Twin Cities Gateway click here. For lodging opportunities when visiting click here.

Farmers’ Markets – Biking to Deliciousness

Emily Stocker, HaveFunBiking.com

One of the many joys of summer is to enjoy your favorite fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden. However, not all of us have the time and space to raise these foods ourselves. That’s where farmers’ markets come into play and the Twin Cities Gateway (TCG) has you covered when you are in the area. Between the nine communities that make up the Gateway, there are six farmers’ markets for you to choose from. Great places to pick up the couple things you want for a healthy snack or a fun destination for a bike outing.

A perfect time to bike to the farmers market in the Twin Cities Gateway for some healthy treats.

A perfect time to bike to the farmers’ market in the Twin Cities Gateway for some healthy treats.

All of these farmers’ markets are up and running, just waiting for you come and take a look around. The majority of the farmers’ markets in the TCG end in October, making them the perfect place to grab all your favorite produce during the changing seasons. Break out your bikes and take a ride to deliciousness.

Farmers’ Markets


New Brighton

3000 5th St NW New Brighton, MN 55112

From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays, the New Brighton Farmers’ Market is open. A great place to get your produce for the week and more. Need to find a last minute gift for someone? Check out Mousework Glass’ stand and peruse their new pieces. Refill on some cleaning supplies with limited chemicals at the Norwex stand. If you are starting to feel the summer heat while looking at the stands upon stands of produce, grab an ice cream cone from Grandpa’s Ice Cream. Before you leave with your new treasures, grab some homemade pretzels for the road from Tübinger Bakery.


420 E. Main Street Anoka, MN 55303
Keep away the Monday blues by paying a visit to Anoka’s Farmers’ Market on Monday afternoons from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Right in the parking lot of Lyric Arts you can get what you need for the week.


707 89th Ave NE Blaine, MN 55434

Blaine gives you two opportunities to go to the farmers’ market. Tuesdays 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to noon.

Lino Lakes

7690 Village Drive Lino Lakes, MN 55014
Check out their Farmers’ Market open on Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. to see their freshest produce.


4580 Victoria Street North Shoreview, MN 44126
Shoreview is open Tuesdays 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. but have slightly different hours from the end of September to October.
Tuesdays from September 27 to October 18, the hours change to 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. so make sure to make note and not be late.


6085 7th St NE Fridley, MN 55432
Saturdays 9 a.m. to noon is when you can check out Fridley’s Farmers’ Market.

So strap a basket onto your bike and grab some great food and gifts.