Tag Archives: Minnesota trails

Biking around Hastings new 10-mile Scenic Circuit loop describes the route that follows along both the Mississippi and Vermilion rivers for all ages and skill levels

Hastings’s 10-mile trail loop allows bicyclists scenery along two rivers

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking

Biking along the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) is just one of the many fun opportunities cyclists can enjoy when visiting Hastings, MN. As this historic river town expands its bicycle infrastructure, I had to return to Hastings last fall to check out the completed 10-mile trail loop.

Dubbed the “Scenic Circuit,” cyclists of all ages and abilities find this scenic trail loop along the Vermilion and Mississippi rivers breathtaking. Cyclists will discover many unique points of interest in the city parks and trails along this dual river trail system. For those who would like to add a few extra miles to this Scenic Circuit Loop, it’s easy following the MRT to Schaar’s Bluff and beyond. See the Hastings HaveFunBiking map for more options.

Starting in Historic Hastings

The old mill ruins from 1857 to 1894 produced high quality flour under the name "Belle of Hastings."

Here at the old mill ruins, flour was produced under the name “Belle of Hastings.”

Starting our ride in the historic Hastings Downtown Area, we found plenty of parking options when arriving. We used the city parking lot under the Highway 61 bridge as a gathering place to start our ride. After you get back, it’s a short walk along 2nd Street (the city’s downtown main street) for a snack or meal. We choose to ride the Scenic Circuit counter-clockwise for this review, leaving from Levee Park on the MRT.

Following the Mississippi River Trail out of Hastings

Just west of downtown Hastings, this metal sculpture was made from materials collected from the river clean up.

This metal sculpture was made from materials collected from a river clean-up just west of downtown Hastings.

In the first few miles of riding the trail through Jaycee Park, we enjoyed an aerial show of several Bald Eagles. Then the art along the river was also interesting. Several markers explain the river’s history, and one marker explains the river clean-up project several years prior. The giant dragonfly (above) was made from different metals dredged from the river under the Clean Water Act. Further along the Scenic Circuit, the trail passes by U.S. Lock and Dam 2. Here it’s always fun to stop and watch boats of all sizes move through the locks from the viewing platform.

The trail running along the back water here is a perfect place to view wildlife and and other bird species that frequents this area.

The trail along the backwater is perfect for viewing wildlife and other bird species that frequents the area.

Another highlight before leaving the river bottom is pedaling along the picturesque causeway before climbing out from the river’s bank. At the top, for those who would like to add a few more miles, Schaar’s Bluff and the new trail out to Dakota County’s Spring Lake Park, where buffalo roam, is an option (See below the milage to Schaar’s Bluff and Spring Lake Park). To continue along on the 10-mile Scenic Circuit, riders should take a left, crossing Nininger Road, and then follow the city trail south, down Pleasant Drive.

From the Mississippi to the Vermilion River

Now, on the western side of Hastings, the Scenic Circuit jogs a little further west along 4th Street, from Pleasant Drive – then heads south on the wide paved shoulder of General Sieben Drive. After crossing Highway 55, those who need a sweet treat will find Culvers on the corner. Continuing south, the route turns east onto River Shore Drive. Then, in about an eighth mile, watch for the trail to cross the road and head north to Northridge Drive. You should take a right and continue east on the Circuit Loop.

These cyclists enjoyed a perfect day to ride Hastings 'Scenic Circuit'.

These cyclists enjoyed a perfect day to ride Hastings ‘Scenic Circuit’.

At Pleasant Drive, take a right; the trail follows the road south to the Vermilion River. On the east side, after crossing the bridge, pick up the trail that flows with the river back into Hastings. You will soon discover why this section of the trail is such a popular part of the MRT.

Along the Vermilion River

Biking and rollerblading Hastings "Scenic Circuit is perfect for all ages and skill levels.

Biking and rollerblading, the “Scenic Circuit is perfect for all ages and skill levels.

As the Vermilion River flows swiftly to the east, the trail along this scenic stretch of river offers nature lovers a peaceful ride through serenity. From here, cyclists and walkers alike will enjoy the two underpasses, one on County Road 46/47 and the second at U.S. 61, to avoid traffic. After passing under Highway 61, the Scenic Circuit is now entering Vermilion Falls Park.

Vermilion Park

As you cross over the Vermilion River you will notice all the padlocks attached to the railing.

As you cross over the Vermilion River here, you will notice all the padlocks attached to the railing.

Riding into the park, at the first trail intersection, you can park your bike and walk about 100 feet to view Vermilion Falls. Continuing east and taking a left at the trail’s “T,” you are now on the bridge, where it’s easy to view the falls overhead as they cascade towards the Mississippi River. You will also notice all the padlocks on the bridge’s railing.

No one knows exactly when, why, or who started this European trend in Hastings. But this romantic ritual has become very popular, with hundreds of locks attached to the fence on the old railroad bridge that is now a part of the Scenic Circuit trail. The practice invites lovers to hang a padlock on the bridge and toss the key into the water below. The city parks department finds the trend touching for now and plans to leave the public love notes (locks) alone as a wall of art.

Another historic option to check out is Old Mill Park, about an eighth mile ahead. Here is another opportunity to park your bike, walk down to the old mill ruins, and maybe hike one of the many trails along the Vermilion River.

The trail crosses the railroad tracks from Mill Park and continues north towards Downtown Hastings. At the next split in the trail, riders should take a right and then follow the MRT signs back to the downtown area for some fun.

Enjoy Historic Downtown after your ride.

Over the last few years, downtown Hastings has been going through what many call a “Riverfront Renaissance.” With events scheduled throughout the spring, summer, and fall, the historic Main Street atmosphere is the perfect place to end your ride. Stop to shop, dine, or stroll along the Mississippi River Trail next to the Scenic Circuit  Loo. After our ride, we found several options for cool refreshments and dinner downtown. You can find more options in our At-A-Glance article.

If you didn’t bring your bike along, Hastings has a bike-share program. The Zagster bike station is located under the bridge on 2nd Street, and you will need a credit card to activate the locking system to the cycle you wish to ride,

More miles to Schaar’s Bluff and Spring Lake Park.

Returning back to Hastings from Schaar's Bluff its approximately 6-miles.

Returning to Hastings from Schaar’s Bluff, it’s approximately 6 miles.

The trail loop also connects to several neighborhood parks and the Mississippi River Regional Trail. Known by many as the “hidden jewel” of the Upper Mississippi River Valley, view some spectacular scenery along the way as you pedal along. Riding out to Schaar’s Bluff takes around 12 miles.

This newly completed section of the Mississippi River Regional Trail offers cyclist an occasional view of the river, bridges that cross deep ravines, prairie flowers that border along limestone bluffs.

This newly completed trail offers cyclists an occasional view of the river, two new bridges that cross deep ravines, and prairie flowers that border limestone bluffs.

If you choose to ride out to Dakota County’s Lower Spring Lake Park Reserve and cross the two new bridges on this trail, it will add an extra 8 miles and is well worth the extra effort, with the Bison now there!

Bike Pic April 19, it’s ice cream Smiles Friday!

This bike pic Friday, with warmer weather ahead, stopping for ice cream while riding your bike seems natural. In this photo, two young cyclists find the perfect flavor after riding the trails with their family.

So, adjust to the warmer temps, have your rain gear ready, and get into the zone when continuing your time outdoors for that #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends, and check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing today’s bike pic

Now, as we roll into our 20th year as an outdoor media, enjoy!

As we pedal forward, we aim to encourage more people to bike and have fun while highlighting all the unforgettable places you can 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 we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to [email protected]. Please Include a brief caption for the image, who shot it, and where. To be considered, the photo (s) sent to us should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue encouraging more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure. Also, check our 15th annual mobile-friendly MN Bike Guide, a handy booklet full of maps of fun places to bike and hike.

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. With one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo appearance while you are riding and having fun, we may be around the corner. You could be in one of our next Pic of the Day.

Have fun as we pedal into spring 2024!

Bike Pic April 12, ice cream smiles Friday, ham it up!

This bike pic Friday, it’s time to stop and ham it up with some ice cream for a selfie, as you enjoy another perfect spring day ride. 

So, adjust to the warmer temps, have your rain gear ready, and get into the zone when continuing your time outdoors for that #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends, and check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing today’s bike pic

Now, as we roll into our 20th year as an outdoor bike tourism media, enjoy!

As we pedal forward, we aim to encourage more people to bike and have fun while highlighting all the unforgettable places you can 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 we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to [email protected]. Please Include a brief caption for the image, who shot it, and where. To be considered, the photo (s) sent to us should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide. You will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram if we use your photo.

As we continue encouraging more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure. Also, check our 15th annual mobile-friendly MN Bike Guide, a handy booklet full of maps of fun places to bike and hike.

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. With one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo appearance while you are riding and having fun, we may be around the corner. You could be in one of our next Pic of the Day.

Have fun as we pedal into 2024!

A July Bike Pic, riding your bike in the rain can be fun if you have the right gear and attitude.

Bike Pic April 3, riding with the right attitude

Regardless of what Mother Nature throws at you, this April bike Pic reveals that riding in the rain can be fun with the right gear and attitude—especially during 30 days of biking. Have you registered? It’s free?

So, adjust to the warmer temps, have your rain gear ready, and get into the zone when continuing your time outdoors for that #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends, and check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing today’s bike pic

Now rolling through our 20th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, we aim to encourage more people to bike and have fun while highlighting all the unforgettable places you can 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 we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to [email protected]. Please Include a brief caption for the image, who shot it, and where. To be considered, the photo (s) sent to us should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide. You will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram if we use your photo.

As we continue encouraging 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 in our 15th year of producing this handy information booklet full of maps.

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. With one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo appearance while you are riding and having fun, we may be around the corner. You could be in one of our next Pic of the Day.

Have fun as we pedal into 2024!

With the days a bit colder and daylight is getting shorter for a few more weeks, there are still many more fun bike events scheduled into December.  Global Fat Bike Day, on December 1st.  With cooler temps drifting south there are still some enjoyable days to ride if you dress in layers.

Bike Pic March 25, fresh snow for your Monday morning ride

A bike pic to remember, with fresh snow on the trail to shred! Ejnoy, it might be your last chance for winter riding fun.

So, adjust to the warmer temps and get into the zone when continuing your time outdoors and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends, and check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing today’s bike pic

Now rolling through our 20th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, we aim to encourage more people to bike and have fun while highlighting all the unforgettable places you can 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 we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to [email protected]. Please Include a brief caption for the image, who shot it, and where. To be considered, the photo (s) sent to us should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue encouraging 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 in our 15th year of producing this handy information booklet full of maps.

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. With one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo appearance while you are riding and having fun, we may be around the corner. You could be in one of our next Pic of the Day.

Have fun as we pedal into 2024!

Bike pic fun in the Minnesota River Bottoms

Bike Pic March 20, early spring fun might be in the forecast

This is a bike pic to remember! With snow forecasted for this weekend, you may have one more chance to ride your fatty. Here, this biker chick, earlier this year, had some fun riding the Minnesota River Bottoms in Bloomington, MN.

So, adjust to the warmer temps and get into the zone when continuing your time outdoors and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends, and check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing today’s bike pic

Now rolling through our 20th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, we aim to encourage more people to bike and have fun while highlighting all the unforgettable places you can 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 we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to [email protected]. Please Include a brief caption for the image, who shot it, and where. Photo(s) sent to us should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide to be considered. You will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram if we use your photo.

As we continue encouraging 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 in our 15th year of producing this handy information booklet full of maps.

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. With one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo appearance while you are riding and having fun, we may be around the corner. You could be in one of our next Pic of the Day.

Have fun as we pedal into 2024!

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 13, wheelie Wednesday 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?

Now, adjust to the warmer temps and get into the zone when continuing your time outdoors and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends, and check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing today’s bike pic

Now rolling through our 20th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, we aim to encourage more people to bike and have fun while highlighting all the unforgettable places you can 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 we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to [email protected]. Please Include a brief caption for the image, who shot it, and where. Photo(s) sent to us should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide to be considered. You will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram if we use your photo.

As we continue encouraging 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 in our 15th year of producing this handy information booklet full of maps.

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. With one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo appearance while you are riding and having fun, we may be around the corner. You could be in one of our next Pic of the Day.

Have fun as we pedal into 2024!

Here in today's bike pic, this bold north biker dude is having fun riding into the Monday morning sun, along the Minnesota River in Bloomington Minnesota.

Bike Pic March 06, finding traces of snow this wheelie Wednesday

With only traces of snow in some parts of the upper midwest, today’s bike pic shows a bold north biker dude having fun shredding the trail. Why not review the following tips to make your week an adrenaline high?

So adjust to the warmer temps and get into the zone when continuing your time outdoors and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends, and check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing today’s bike pic

Now rolling through our 20th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, we aim to encourage more people to bike and have fun while highlighting all the unforgettable places you can 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 we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to [email protected]. Please Include a brief caption for the image, who shot it, and where. Photo(s) sent to us should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide to be considered. You will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram if we use your photo.

As we continue encouraging 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 in our 15th year of producing this handy information booklet full of maps.

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. With one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo appearance while you are riding and having fun, we may be around the corner. You could be in one of our next Pic of the Day.

Have fun as we pedal into 2024!

A bike pic to remember! This wheelie Wednesday take a chance, if life were a mountain bike trail a wheelie could help smooth out your day-to-day ride or aided in dropping into your sweet spot.

Bike Pic Feb 28, a wheelie Wednesday to remember

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

So adjust to the warmer temps and get into the zone when continuing your time outdoors and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends, and check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing today’s bike pic

Now rolling through our 20th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, we aim to encourage more people to bike and have fun while highlighting all the unforgettable places you can 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 we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to [email protected]. Please Include a brief caption for the image, who shot it, and where. Photo(s) sent to us should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide to be considered. You will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram if we use your photo.

As we continue encouraging 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 in our 15th year of producing this handy information booklet full of maps.

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. With one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo appearance while you are riding and having fun, we may be around the corner. You could be in one of our next Pic of the Day.

Have fun as we pedal into 2024!

This Bike Pic Friday, with several inches of snow to cover the ice on the trail, having some fun. Maybe taking in a race?

Bike Pic Feb 23, yeah it’s Friday, and more warm weather ahead

This Bike Pic Friday, fond memories of what a snow covering the trail should look like, so adjust your gear and have fun.

So adjust to the warmer temps and get into the zone when continuing your time outdoors and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends, and check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing today’s ice cream smiles Sunday bike pic

Now rolling through our 20th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, we aim to encourage more people to bike and have fun while highlighting all the unforgettable places you can 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 we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to [email protected]. Please Include a brief caption for the image, who shot it, and where. Photo(s) sent to us should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide to be considered. You will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram if we use your photo.

As we continue encouraging 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 in our 15th year of producing this handy information booklet full of maps.

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. With one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo appearance while you are riding and having fun, we may be around the corner. You could be in one of our next Pic of the Day.

Have fun as we pedal into 2024!