Tag Archives: Mississippi River Trail

The Saint Paul Classic Bike Tour, in its 23rd year, spotlights several of the scenic parks and parkways St Paul with rover riding along.

Bike Pic Sept 11, even rover is having fun riding down Summit Avenue

This bike pic Saturday, as we remember those lost due to 9/11, here is rover enjoying a ride down Summit Ave, in St. Paul, MN with his family.

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 in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations. An now, check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing our latest bike pic  

Now rolling through our 16th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, our goal is 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 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]. Include a brief caption (for each) of who is in the photo (if you know) and where the pic was shot? 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 13th year of producing this handy 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 Pic of the Day.

Have a great day with a safe, memorable 2021!

Walking the dog or taking the kid out for a spin its a perfect day outside on this Labor Day Weekend.

Bike Pic Sept 06, round the river family fun on Labor Day

Walking the dog or taking the kid out for a spin it’s a perfect day outside on Labor Day Weekend. Here in this photo mom enjoys riding the Mississippi River Trail along the East River Road, in St Paul, MN,

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 in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations. An now, check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing our latest bike pic  

Now rolling through our 16th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, our goal is 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 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]. Include a brief caption (for each) of who is in the photo (if you know) and where the pic was shot? 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 13th year of producing this handy 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 Pic of the Day.

Have a great day with a safe, memorable 2021!

Bike Pic Aug 26, fat bike fun mountain biking

This Bike Pic Thursday, fat bike fun while riding the mountain bike trails in the Pillsbury State Forestry, near Brainerd, MN. With both the Mississippi River Trail and the Paul Bunyan Trail passing through this bike-friendly community, single track riders will find several trails to shred, like the area at Cuyuna Lakes Recreational Parks, nearby.

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 in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations. An now, check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing our latest bike pic  

Now rolling through our 16th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, our goal is 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 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]. Include a brief caption (for each) of who is in the photo (if you know) and where the pic was shot? 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 13th year of producing this handy 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 Pic of the Day.

Have a great day with a safe, memorable 2021!

In this Thursday bike pic we caught this biker chick having fun riding on the Mississippi River Trail, west of Hastings, MN towards Pine Bend.

Bike Pic Aug 24, a fun bike ride on the Mississippi River Trail near Hastings

In this Tuesday bike pic, we caught this biker chick having fun riding on the MRT (Mississippi River Trail), west of Hastings, MN riding towards Pine Bend. A great place to visit and ride, Hastings offers a ten-mile trail loop with many additional trail spurs and bike-friendly roads for added miles.

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 in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations. An now, check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing our latest bike pic  

Now rolling through our 16th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, our goal is 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 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]. Include a brief caption (for each) of who is in the photo (if you know) and where the pic was shot? 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 13th year of producing this handy 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 Pic of the Day.

Have a great day with a safe, memorable 2021!

Here in this Tuesday's bike pic is a family having fun riding on the Mississippi River Trail, Just before Prescott  WI, on the westside of the St Croix River Bridge. 

Bike Pic Aug 21, a family fun bike ride on the Mississippi River Trail

Here in this Saturday’s bike pic shows a family having fun riding on the Mississippi River Trail, Just before Prescott  WI, on the westside of the St Croix River Bridge.

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 in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations. An now, check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing our latest bike pic  

Now rolling through our 16th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, our goal is 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 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]. Include a brief caption (for each) of who is in the photo (if you know) and where the pic was shot? 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 13th year of producing this handy 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 Pic of the Day.

Have a great day with a safe, memorable 2021!

Picture yourself riding the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) through the wilds of Minnesota, pedaling America's famous 3,000 mile bike system

The Mississippi River Trail through Minnesota is a bike adventure of a lifetime

by Russ Lowthian
Picture yourself riding the MRT (Mississippi River Trail) through the wilds of Minnesota.
Pedal along with family and friends at your own pace on this Bold North adventure.
This is the first leg of America’s famous 3,000-mile bicycle trail system, using bike-friendly roads and multi-use pathways. You may find some of my observations of interest by leading several MRT bike tours over the years and referencing
my book Road Biking Minnesota.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the Mississippi’s headwaters near Park Rapids to the Iowa border, the full Minnesota section of the journey is roughly 620 miles. The following route descriptions are spread over nine days to keep the daily mileage comfortable for plenty of time visiting the river towns along the way. Depending on how much time you can spend on any bike vacation, this overview makes it easy to break it apart for multiple bike getaways.

Please visit the embedded links offering short video clips and maps of the Mississippi trail system as you read the following. See the first video clip here to get a better feel for what you will see and experience leaving Itasca State Park on the MRT. The information in this video and subsequent videos are made possible by the MN DNR, the MN Historical Society, Explore Minnesota Tourism, and the National Park Service.

MRT – Day 1 from the Mississippi Headwaters to Bemidji

 

 

After enjoying a hearty breakfast at the historic Douglas Lodge, in Itasca State Park, it’s time to roll out. First, you will need to pedal a few miles through the towering pines to where the Mississippi River begins. At the Headwaters parking lot, walk your bike down the trail. There, dip your rear wheel in the stream to celebrate the beginning of your journey. You may hear one of Minnesota’s loons cheering you on. Departing out of the park’s north entrance, follow the internationally recognized Mississippi River Trail. Pedaling a scenic county road in a northeasterly direction, this 30-plus mile stretch offers a beautiful rolling terrain. Smell the air as you pass by patches of pine forests and an occasional old farm setting. Soon you are pedaling into the first city on the Mississippi River.

Rolling into Bemidji

Arriving in Bemidji, the MRT enters on a city trail that connects to the Paul Bunyan Trail. As the river’s current flows into Lake Bemidji, this is a good place to consider for your first evening. While here, discover all this community has to offer.

A-League of American Bicyclists (LAB) Bike Friendly Community it’s easy to get around and explore the city by bike.

In the downtown area, you will find metal sculptures, murals, and historic architecture on just about every corner. Don’t forget to stop by the visitor’s center to have your picture taken with
Paul Bunyan and Babe, his blue ox. For lodging and more things to do when not riding, see our Bike Bemidji article. You will find camping options in Lake Bemidji State Park.

MRT – Day 2 from Bemidji to Grand Rapids

Back in the saddle, the MRT takes the Paul Bunyan Trail north to where the Mississippi River pours out of Lake Bemidji. As the current flows east, enjoy the sites along the Great River Road as it rolls into Chippewa National Forest. This next stretch of the MRT to Grand Rapids is roughly 80 miles. To get a better feel for what’s ahead after leaving Bemidji, watch the 2nd video clip here.

With an abundance of wildflowers along the road, pedal through the enchanted treasures this forested area offers. Along the way, notice a huge population of bald eagles and hawks as the
river meanders from one huge lake body to the next. Soon the river flows into Lake Winnibigoshish (Lake Winnie), and the MRT takes a course around the lake’s south shoreline.

To the first Federal Dam on the Mississippi

 

 

 

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Passing several resorts, you may want to stop for a selfie by the big fish monument. Riding up the east shoreline through towering pines, the MRT is soon up to the Federal Dam where Lake
Winnie spills back into the Mighty Mississippi. This dam was created in the late 1800s, making
it the largest river reservoir. Approximately 45 miles from Bemidji,
there is a campground. A couple of miles further east, you will find a restaurant and some lodging options.

The MRT follows suit as the river meanders, now in a southerly direction, passing through a Native American village called Ball Club. Here the river dips and then flows to the east again. Soon the MRT rolls into Schoolcraft State Park, where it meets back up with the Mississippi. This secluded park is the perfect place to take a break. Quiet and peaceful, the park offers a relaxing
environment with a virgin white pine forest over 300 years old. Take a panoramic virtual tour of the area here, and then it’s on to some Wizard of Oz trivia.

Rolling into Grand Rapids

This is the town where Judy Garland, from The Wizard of Oz, spent her childhood. Today the community offers visitors many fun options to explore, along with the Judy Garland Museum. Once settled in, visit the Forest History Center and the local art scene. Not only is this area rich in forested beauty, but it also offers many art forms, including many bronze sculptures and historic architectural sites. Grand Rapids is also the western gateway to the Mesabi Iron Trail and Range. Another LAB Bike Friendly Community it’s easy to get around this river town and explore the city by bike.  If you have a few extra days, the mining communities along this Mesabi trail are worth checking out.  For lodging and more things to do when not riding, see our Bike Grand Rapids article.

MRT – Day 3 from Grand Rapids to Aitkin

As the Mississippi River pushes against the western slope of the St. Lawrence Divide, it
flows south, and the MRT hugs the west bank as it rolls out of Grand Rapids. This stretch of
the MRT is approximately 70 miles to Aitkin. Watch the next video clip here to get a better feel for what’s ahead after leaving Grand Rapids.

Approximately 20 miles south, you will come to a crossroads. Here, by taking a left and crossing the river, you’re in the town of Jacobson. If you turn onto this half-mile side-trip adventure, you will discover many pieces of unusual lawn art and a rest stop option.

Rolling into Palisade

 

 

 

Back on the route, continue south, and you will soon be in a town named for the high banks on each side of the river. This is another intriguing place to stop. The community has a restaurant
and a convenience store if you want to picnic or stay the night in the campground
alongside the river. Back in the saddle, out of Palisade, there are two options to reach Aitkin.

You can depart on the Great River Road, now a hard gravel surface for the next 15 miles,
enjoying a peaceful ride along the river. Or take the alternate route, adding eight miles to your
trip for the day riding on a busy highway with a narrow shoulder.

Rolling into Aitkin

Regardless of the route selected above, you will be rolling into a community
with riverboat history. Once a popular meeting point for Native American Indians
and explorers, today, the town makes a good overnight choice that offers both camping
and lodging options. After you settle in, check out the museum converted from the Burlington Rail Depot. Here you can learn about the town’s steamboat history and other interesting facts.  For more things to do and lodging options, click here.

MRT – Day 4 from Aitkin to Little Falls

As the Mississippi flows in a westerly direction, the MRT roll into Cuyuna Country. Here the river passes on the north side of an iron range of the past. While the bike route meanders around these abandoned open mine pits, you can see some of Minnesota’s newest lakes. As the river bends to the southwest, the MRT is rolling towards the Brainerd Lakes Area.

Rolling into Brainerd

Just imagine riding in an area sometimes referred to as Paul Bunyan’s playground. Legend has it that Paul and his blue ox, Babe (remember that mythical figure you can take a selfie within
Bemidji?) were having fun, wrestling around after a long rain spell. Stomping and tromping, the two made many large depressions that eventually filled with water to create the 464 lakes in the area. With the MRT and Paul Bunyan Trail merging back together in Brainerd/Baxter, you will find many fun adventures and good things to eat here. For more, see our  Brainerd/Baxter article.

Back in the saddle, the trail and river both head south again. As the Great River Road rolls
along the east bank, passing Crow Wing State Park, agriculture replaces the forested
landscape. Further down the MRT, cross over to the west bank and visit Camp Ripley, which
offers a fascinating military museum. Here see hundreds of exhibits showcasing vehicles and field equipment of Minnesota’s military past. It’s still ten miles of pedaling to reach the next river town, “where the river pauses.”

Rolling into Little Falls

For centuries Little Falls has been a place where native inhabitants, early settlers, and recent visitors have used it as a gathering place. Located where the Mississippi River pauses, this
river community is the town of Charles Lindbergh’s childhood. After settling in, check out the historic attractions and museums while experiencing the town’s original murals and frescoes. While here, if interested, you can discover who helped finance the original production of the “Wizard of Oz.” For lodging and more things to do when not riding, see our Bike Little Falls article.

MRT Day-5 from Little Falls to Monticello

Cyclists will pass by Charles Lindbergh State Park at the edge of town, where his childhood home still stands. Then the MRT passes by the Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum before the river valley floor opens up to more agriculture. To get a better feel for what’s ahead after leaving Little Falls, watch the 4th video clip here.

Rolling into St Cloud

Through this stretch, the river offers several sets of rapids as the MRT rolls into St. Cloud. Another LAB Bike Friendly Community, it’s easy to get around this river town and explore the city by bike. While in this river community, check out some of the attractions, including the Munsinger-Clemens Botanical Gardens. For lodging and more things to do when not riding, see our Bike St. Cloud article.

The MRT and river both swing back to the southeast on the east side of the river. Using county roads that parallel several irrigated potato fields, the route takes you to Clearwater. Then, crossing the Mississippi again, cyclists will notice the river is a bit wider here as they pedal to Monticello.

Rolling into Monticello

Here you will find a river town, full of charm, tucked up against the Mississippi River and conveniently located between St. Cloud and the Twin Cities. This vibrant community with many scenic parks is also home to thousands of geese and swans each winter. After settling in, check out the attractions in Monticello. For the lodging option in the area, visit the local chamber here.

MRT – Day 6 from Monticello to St Paul

Leaving Monticello, the MRT crosses the river and meanders through the farm fields of specialty crops to Elk River. To get a better feel for what you will see as you ride into the Twin Cities, watch the 5th video clip here.  Stopping in Elk River, cyclists passing through the downtown area will notice the fresco mural on Main Street. You will also find plenty of options for a rest stop here.

As you head out of Elk River, you will cross over the Mississippi River again on the Great River Road. Soon you are passing through Dayton and entering the northern edge of the Mississippi National River and Recreational Area.

Now, in the next twenty-five miles, MRT enthusiasts will enjoy stopping at several of the Twin Cities Gateway community attractions.

From here, enjoy paved bicycle paths through Minneapolis before reaching the St. Paul suburb of Inver Grove Heights.

MRT Day-7 from St Paul to Frontenac

As the Mississippi River Trail leaves the St Paul area, the route tentatively detours to the south on its way to Hastings. To get a better feel for what’s ahead after leaving St. Paul, watch the 6th video clip here. Hopefully by mid-summer, of 2018, the paved trail out of South St. Paul will connect to the Mississippi River Regional Trail, allowing cyclists a direct route to our next river town.

This new trail near Schaar’s Bluff is completed on the far end and will take cyclists into downtown Hastings’s historic district. You can find more about Hastings in our At-A-Glance article, along with a place to stop for cool refreshments or a meal.

Leaving Hastings, the MRT follows the Mississippi, winding along the backwaters of the river and past the Prairie Island Indian Community. About ten miles further, the route enters Red Wing, the next river community on the Minnesota section of the Mississippi River Trail.

Rolling into Red Wing

As the MRT runs alongside the river bank on the Great River Road, you will find the atmosphere in Red Wing both unique and charming. From the beautiful bluffs, historic sites, and world-famous boots and pottery, this river town also offers several dining opportunities for a stop here. If you decide to spend the night, see Visit Red Wing for more options.

Back on the Mississippi River Trail, it’s approximately another 10 miles to Frontenac State Park for the night. The city is on the National Register of Historic Places and contains many homes dating back to the Civil War era. Here you will find the Whistle Stop Café and a convenience store if you choose to camp in the state park for the evening.

MRT Day-8 from Frontenac to Winona

Back on the MRT, the route uses the wide paved shoulder of the Great River Road to Minnesota City. With a wide shoulder and rumble strip dividing you from the traffic, the Mississippi River is in sight, to your left most of the time. When you start to notice the river widening, the Mississippi is now flowing into Lake Pepin, and you are close to the ‘Birthplace of Water Skiing.’

Rolling into the Lake City

Here discover the quaint shops and restaurants next to the harbor in the downtown area of Lake City. This river town is also a popular place for touring cyclists. In addition to the Annual Tour de Pepin bike tour, the area offers several other mapped rides. See the Lake Pepin Area Bike Map and checkout. Visit Lake City for more options.

As the river flows out of Lake Pepin, the next river community on the MRT is a town known for eagles and ‘Gumpy Old Men.’

Rolling into Wabasha

The oldest city on the entire upper Mississippi River, this community has been thriving since 1826. As touring cyclists roll into town, they will find 50 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places if time permits, enjoy their historic walking tour, and discover the stories that have made this town so unique. With Bald Eagles in abundance along the river, this is also home to the National Eagle Center, located downtown. Also, with the popular movie “Grumpy Old Men” its sequel shot here, dine at Slippery’s Bar & Grill for a nostalgic look at this river town. You can find more options at Visit Wabasha.

Rolling into Winona

Taking the MRT out on the back road through the village of Kellogg, it’s about 30 miles of pedaling to Winona, along the bluffs. Arriving in this pristine river town, enjoy several views of the city nestled into a valley bordered by bluffs along the Mighty Mississippi. Here in Winona, there is plenty to discover with so many attractions and museums. Be sure to visit the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. You will also notice many of the downtown buildings are on the National Register of Historical Places and self-guided history tours are an option. Being a LAB Bike Friendly Community, it’s easy to get around this river town and explore the city by bike. See our At-A-Glance Winona article for more tour, dinner, and overnight options.

A stop a the Pickwick Mill, 2-miles off the MRT

MRT Day-9 from Winona to the Iowa Boarder

Leaving Winona, the Mississippi River Trail creatively takes you up into the bluffs past the historic Pickwick Mill and then onto the Apple Blossom Drive Scenic Byway. Here at the top of the byway, a cyclist in the area enjoys a remarkable view of the Mississippi River Valley. Then it’s a cruise down the Byway, into La Crescent.

From La Crescent, the last leg of Minnesota’s section of the Mississippi River Trail is approximately 24 miles to Albin, IA.

Enjoy!

The Coon Rapids 10-mile bike loop makes it easy to connect and discover

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

Named for the turbulent Mississippi River waters at the confluence of Coon Creek, the city of Coon Rapids is a fun place to explore on a bicycle. One of the nine communities in the Twin Cities Gateway, it’s a perfect destination for a bike vacation using the Coon Rapids 10-mile bike loop. Here you will find many connections to hundreds of miles of trails. The Coon Creek Trail and the Mississippi River Trail are two greenway systems here that allow you to pedal safely throughout the area. So, if you enjoy biking along rivers and creeks, we have some ideas for you, starting with the Coon Rapids 10-mile loop.

The 10-mile bike loop is fun for all levels of riders.

The Coon Rapids 10-mile bike loop

Leaving from the outer parking lot of the Muddy Cow Restaurant or a nearby hotel, the route travels in a clockwise direction. Pulling out onto Springbrook Drive, this tour safely crosses Coon Rapids Boulevard. Once across, we suggest using the paved trail that runs parallel to the street due to heavy traffic. After crossing 85th Avenue, about two miles into the loop, consider stopping at the Springbrook Nature Center.

Many roads here offer trails that parallel for added comfort and fun.

Now pedaling along the south side of 85th Avenue, at East River Road, cross the street at the stoplight and use the sidewalk on the west side, up to 85th Lane. Here enjoy the quiet neighborhood streets that connect you to the Mississippi River Trail (MRT).  At 86th Avenue, continue straight ahead on the MRT between two residences, and the real fun begins. Then, as the trail drops into the forested vegetation along the bank of the Mississippi River, it’s a whole new experience.

The visitors center here makes a great rest stop.

Following the trail along the river to the Coon Rapids Dam, you will pass several trail T’s in the park, offering more loop options. One loop in the park circles Cenaiko Lake where you will find many people fishing for trout.

The Coon Rapids Dam and Visitors Center

At the visitor’s center at the Coon Rapids Dam, you will find more information on the area and its history. The dam is another popular fishing location and a crossing point for cyclists riding the Three Rivers Trails throughout the Twin Cities Metro.

Riding across the Coon Rapids dam always offers a refreshing mist of cool air.

Turning north to Coon Creek

Riding up Egret Boulevard, you can ride in the bike lane or use the parallel pedestrian path.

Now at the Dam, the 10-mile Loop leaves the MRT and heads north out of the park on Egret Boulevard. You can ride the designated bike lane or use the pedestrian path paralleling the street on a bike-friendly road. Continuing north after crossing Coon Rapids Boulevard, at Robinson Drive, you will find the Coon Creek Trailhead. On the trail and after crossing the creek, the 10-mile loop takes a right at the trail T. If you want to add a few miles to your ride, here is another option. To your left, the trail will take you up through the Erlandson Nature Center and, further along, connects to Bunker Hills Regional Park.

The smells, sounds, and views of nature as you pedal

Now pedaling south alongside Coon Creek, enjoy the smells, sounds, and views of nature. This stretch of the trail is a tranquil wilderness setting as you pedal along the stream through the forested canopy.  After crossing over a creek bridge one more time, pass under the railroad tracks for another option. Stop for a round of bumper boats, go-karts, or miniature golf at Lilli Putt before heading east and completing the 10-mile Loop.

Enjoying the smells, sounds, and views of nature along the trail.

The trail runs parallel along Coon Rapids Extension and Boulevard for the last few miles of the route. Back at the parking lot, or your hotel, check out nearby eating establishments and plan another bike adventure in the Twin Cities Gateway Area.

Printable map and Q (cue)-sheet)

For a printable bike map of Anoka, click here

For a turn-by-turn Q-sheet of Anoka, click here

Bike Pic Aug 07, finding shade on your Saturday ride

With the heat picking up again you may see something of interest when rolling your bike into the shade for a break? This photo was shot as this biker dude was coming off the Mississippi River Trail, in the Twin Cities Gateway.

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 in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations. An now, check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing our latest bike pic  

Now rolling through our 16th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, our goal is 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 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]. Include a brief caption (for each) of who is in the photo (if you know) and where it was shot? 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 13th year of producing this handy 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 Pic of the Day.

Have a great day, with a safe, memorable 2021!

Bike Pic July 25, the Munsinger Gardens is a relaxing stop

The Munsinger Gardens is a great place to stop and relax when visiting or passing through St Cloud, MN on a MRT (Mississippi River Trail).

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 in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations. An now, check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing our latest bike pic  

Now rolling through our 16th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, our goal is 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 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]. Include a brief caption (for each) of who is in the photo (if you know) and where it was shot? 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 13th year of producing this handy 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 Pic of the Day.

Have a great day, with a safe, memorable 2021!

The Great River Energy Mesabi Trail Tour has split into three fun weekends

The Great River Energy Mesabi Trail Tour has a whole new look to keep everyone safe in 2021. By splitting the event over three different weekends, they have created the ultimate in safe social distancing. Helping to make sure everyone has a memorable time. This year’s tour #1 is July 31st, Tour #2 is August 28th, and Tour #3 is September 18th. Regardless of the three Mesabi Tour dates you choose, you will experience the same outstanding customer service and reliable logistics they have been famous for over the past 15 years.

The Mesabi Trail Tour, on the trail, crossing one of the iron ore tracks.

While you pedal (fully supported) along one of Minnesota’s premiere paved bicycle trails, you will encounter historic & scenic points of interest, food & music at rest stops, and a finish line celebration complete with a picnic lunch and more music!

Cost of riding the Mesabi Trail Tour in 2021

The cost of riding this year’s event (cost per weekend ride) is $45 for riders 17 years and older.  The ride is still free for kids 16 and under, with a parent or guardian riding along.

Noticeable changes to the 2021 Mesabi Trail Tour

If you have ridden the Mesabi Trail Tour before, here are the changes you will see for 2021:

  • Instead of one big tour in August – choose from three smaller tours throughout the biking season.
  • Instead of one long linear route – each tour will travel out & back on the Mesabi Trail from the same location – you will encounter TWO-WAY bicycle traffic.
  • Instead of four linear routes – choose from two routes of about 25 & 50 miles, out & back on the Trail.
  • The number of participants will be limited to 200 per tour each weekend instead of accepting an unlimited number of riders in the past.
  • Instead of opening registration in January – registration will open six weeks before each tour, running for about four weeks or until limits are reached.

The scenery is stunning along the Mesabi Trail.

Spring, summer or Fall your riding experience on the Mesabi Trail is what great memories are made from.

Spring, Summer, or Fall, your riding experience on the Mesabi Trail is what great memories are made from.

The view is stunning as you cross over the Rouchleau Mine Pit. Open to both walkers and bikers in the summer, and snowmobilers can enjoy crossing here in the winter. The contrast between the aqua blue water and the red cliffs below is breathtaking. The bridge spans across an abandoned mine pit that was named after Louis Rouchleau. It is now filled with water that is 450 feet at its deepest point.  With many natural springs feeding this three miles long, by five miles wide open pit, it is the main water supply for the City of Virginia.

More information to plan your visit to the Mesabi Trail

For more information and lodging options, visit the Iron Range Tourism Bureau: https://ironrange.org/motel

Be sure to add to your summer biking itinerary a visit to the Mesabi Trail. This paved trail system currently offers over a hundred miles to explore. The trail will reach 155 miles when complete, connecting Grand Rapids, at the Mississippi River Trail to Ely, next to the Boundary Waters. To learn more, go to: http://www.mesabitrail.com/.