Tag Archives: Minnesota Bike Guide

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 Bloomington 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 trailhead 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 southwest 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 fat bikes. 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 the perfect mixture of flat trail, bermed turns, and accessibility to create a near-perfect winter track.

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.

Bike Pic Oct. 06, ice cream smiles Sunday around the world!

This Bike Pic, Ice Cream Smiles Sunday, enjoy a sweet treat with friends – before, during or after your #NextBike Adventure.

What better way to continue your fun than finding your #NextBikeAdventure.  See all the great ideas and bike destinations in the 2019 Bike/Hike Planning Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Bike Pic’ this Sunday!

Now rolling into our 12th year as a bike media, our goal is to encourage more people to have fun. In this expanded e-guide issue, we have added more free bike maps to review for planning your next adventure.

As we continue to showcase more destinations you can explore, we are all about capturing fun photos to capture those memories. Hopefully, some worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Share your adventures at HaveFunBiking.com

Do you have a fun bicycle related bike pic of yourself or someone you may know that we should post at HaveFunBiking (HFB)? If so, please send your picture(s) to editor@HaveFunBiking.com. Please include a brief caption (for each), who is in the photo (if you know?) and where you shot the picture. Your photo submitted should be at a medium resolution or more, for consideration. Please share your biking adventure pic’s with us on our Facebook page, on Twitter, or on Instagram at #NextBikeAdventure.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure. Here you will find all the information you will need when visiting one of our Community Map Partners, accessible on your mobile-friendly devices.

Have a great day!

Bike Pic Sept. 29, ice cream smiles Sunday around the world!

This Bike Pic, Ice Cream Smiles Sunday, enjoy a sweet treat with friends – before, during or after your #NextBike Adventure.

What better way to continue your fun than finding your #NextBikeAdventure.  See all the great ideas and bike destinations in the 2019 Bike/Hike Planning Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Bike Pic’ 

Now rolling into our 12th year as a bike media, our goal is to encourage more people to have fun. In this expanded e-guide issue, we have added more free bike maps to review for planning your next adventure.

As we continue to showcase more destinations you can explore, we are all about capturing fun photos to capture those memories. Hopefully, some worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Share your adventures at HaveFunBiking.com

Do you have a fun bicycle related bike pic of yourself or someone you may know that we should post at HaveFunBiking (HFB)? If so, please send your picture(s) to editor@HaveFunBiking.com. Please include a brief caption (for each), who is in the photo (if you know?) and where you shot the picture. Your photo submitted should be at a medium resolution or more, for consideration. Please share your biking adventure pic’s with us on our Facebook page, on Twitter, or on Instagram at #NextBikeAdventure.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure. Here you will find all the information you will need when visiting one of our Community Map Partners, accessible on your mobile-friendly devices.

Have a great day!

Bike Pic Sept. 22, ice cream smiles Sunday around the world!

This Bike Pic, Ice Cream Smiles Sunday, enjoy the last day of summers riding and enjoying a sweet treat with friends along the way! Check out the next Open Streets Minneapolis, this today.

What better way to continue your fun than finding your #NextBikeAdventure.  See all the great ideas and bike destinations in the 2019 Bike/Hike Planning Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Bike Pic’ 

Now rolling into our 12th year as a bike media, our goal is to encourage more people to have fun. In this expanded e-guide issue, we have added more free bike maps to review for planning your next adventure.

As we continue to showcase more destinations you can explore, we are all about capturing fun photos to capture those memories. Hopefully, some worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Share your adventures at HaveFunBiking.com

Do you have a fun bicycle related bike pic of yourself or someone you may know that we should post at HaveFunBiking (HFB)? If so, please send your picture(s) to editor@HaveFunBiking.com. Please include a brief caption (for each), who is in the photo (if you know?) and where you shot the picture. Your photo submitted should be at a medium resolution or more, for consideration. Please share your biking adventure pic’s with us on our Facebook page, on Twitter, or on Instagram at #NextBikeAdventure.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure. Here you will find all the information you will need when visiting one of our Community Map Partners, accessible on your mobile-friendly devices.

Have a great day!

Bike Pic Sept. 15, ice cream smiles Sunday around the world!

This Bike Pic, Ice Cream Smiles Sunday, enjoy the last days of summers riding and enjoying a sweet treat with friends along the way! Check out the next Open Streets Minneapolis, this next Sunday.

What better way to continue your fun than finding your #NextBikeAdventure.  See all the great ideas and bike destinations in the 2019 Bike/Hike Planning Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Bike Pic’ 

Now rolling into our 12th year as a bike media, our goal is to encourage more people to have fun. In this expanded e-guide issue, we have added more free bike maps to review for planning your next adventure.

As we continue to showcase more destinations you can explore, we are all about capturing fun photos to capture those memories. Hopefully, some worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Share your adventures at HaveFunBiking.com

Do you have a fun bicycle related bike pic of yourself or someone you may know that we should post at HaveFunBiking (HFB)? If so, please send your picture(s) to editor@HaveFunBiking.com. Please include a brief caption (for each), who is in the photo (if you know?) and where you shot the picture. Your photo submitted should be at a medium resolution or more, for consideration. Please share your biking adventure pic’s with us on our Facebook page, on Twitter, or on Instagram at #NextBikeAdventure.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure. Here you will find all the information you will need when visiting one of our Community Map Partners, accessible on your mobile-friendly devices.

Have a great day!

Enjoying the colorful trees along the trail as they get close to peak.

Peak color destinations and times to ride in the upper Midwest this Fall

With the summer season unofficially off the calendar, fall is a great time to extend your bike riding adventures in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. As the leaves change colors along the miles of paved and mountain bike trails, cyclists will find a kaleidoscope of peak colors at every turn. Especially with the abundant rainfall, we have had this year. Colors along the trails and roadways are predicted to be spectacular. If the weather remains mostly sunny during the day with cooler temps at night, conditions favor stunning vistas while exploring the upper Midwest.

Fall color riding on a bike friendly road.

Fall color riding on a bike-friendly road and trails.

So, in the next few weeks, it will be no surprise to find peak backdrops while riding. Especial using both the Iowa and Minnesota Bike/Hike Guides in conjunction with the following state color reports.

Guides and reports for easy peak color exploration this fall

Each year the fall color peak normally arrives in the northern one-third of the state in mid-September to early October. This year, as in the past few, the peak cycle, regionally, is running a week or so later than normal – so enjoy!

To get a more accurate gauge to the change in colors in areas you plan to explore with your bike see: Iowa’s fall color reportMinnesota’s fall color report; and for the Wisconsinsin fall color report. All three online reports are updated weekly each Thursday during the fall season.

Mountain biking fun with the leaves turning into their spectacular fall colors.

Mountain biking fun with the leaves turning into their spectacular fall colors.

Destinations and trails to enjoy during Minnesota and Wisconsin’s peak riding season

We will start with the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide, as the color peak a bit earlier. Here, if you haven’t already, you will find over 24-Minnesota bike-friendly destination, plus information and a map of Polk County, WI. to match with the above reports.

Destinations and trails to enjoy during Iowa and Wisconsin’s peak riding season

In the Iowa Bike Guide, you will find over 18-Iowa bike-friendly destination, plus information and a map of La Crosse WI.

Staying safe in peak color riding season

Even on off-road trails, bicyclists need to wear helmets. You are much more likely to fall on your head by locking wheels with another bike. Or other hazards, then riding on a road in traffic.

keep your helmets on!

Also, don’t forget to stop at stop signs on the trail, even if it’s just a driveway or gravel road.

Enjoy many scenic peak color rides this season!

Bike Pic Sept 03, fun shredding the trails as summer rolls into September

Here in this bike pic, we caught this biker chick having some fun shredding dirt on the Lebanon Hills Trail, in Eagan MN.

What better way to start your Summer and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Mountain Bike Skills’ bike pic

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

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 editor@HaveFunBiking.com. 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 use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo appearance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pics of the Day.

Have a great day!

Bike Pic Aug 29, testing their skills on the North Shore

Here in this Thursday bike pic, a couple of young biker chicks test their skills on the trails in the Heart of the North Shore, near Silver Bay, MN.

What better way to start your Summer and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Mountain Bike Skills’ bike pic

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

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 editor@HaveFunBiking.com. 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 use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo appearance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pics of the Day.

Have a great day!

Bike Pic Aug 22, having fun shredding the trails before the big race Sunday

Here in this bike pic, we caught this young biker dude having some fun shredding dirt on the Jail Trail, near St Cloud, MN. Looks like he is ready for the Minnesota High School Cycling League races this weekend in Austin MN.

What better way to start your Summer and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Mountain Bike Skills’ bike pic

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

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 editor@HaveFunBiking.com. 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 use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo appearance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pics of the Day.

Have a great day!

Bike Pic Aug 21, testing their mountain bike skills for the race Sunday

Here in this bike pic, a couple of young biker dudes test their skills in an opening on the Jail Trail, near St Cloud, MN, to see who can take the lead in this Minnesota High School Cycling League practice run.

What better way to start your Summer and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Mountain Bike Skills’ bike pic

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

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 editor@HaveFunBiking.com. 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 use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo appearance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pics of the Day.

Have a great day!