Tag Archives: Myre Big Island State Park

Many Cyclists riding around Albert Lea Lake enjoyable

Biking around Albert Lea is reminiscent of the Lake of the Isles

by Andrew Ellis

It’s summer and I woke up with a big decision to make: What was I going to do on this beautiful Saturday? For me, after hearing about  Albert Lea and their beautiful bike route around the lake, I had to check it out. Less then a two hour from the Twin Cities, down the freeway I went. With my bike on the car rack I was soon at the crossroads of I-90 and 35W. Then at the next exit I was pulling into Albert Lea for a weekend for outdoor fun.

Bike-friendly Albert Lea

The town is also known by another name: The Land Between the Lakes. That’s because the city sits between Fountain Lake and Albert Lea Lake and both are prime destinations for soaking in the rays. Getting around on your bike in Albert Lea is easy with city’s low traffic bike lanes and trails. After checking in at the hotel I was excited to ride around Albert Lea Lake, after everything I have heard.

Touring around Albert Lea Lake

The homes along the lake route are very picturesque.

The homes along the lake route are very picturesque.

Touring around the Lake clockwise was recommended and the experience was reminiscent of riding around Lake of the Isles, in Minneapolis. With beautiful landscaped lawns along the waters edge my morning ride was very picturesque. The popular route is about eight and a half miles around using a combination of trails and residential streets.

After returning to the downtown area of Albert Lea, I discovered  several options for lunch before an afternoon ride out to the state park, just outside of town.

Myre-Big Island State Park and the Blazing Star State Trail

The Blazing Star State Trail is over six miles from Albert Lea to the State Park.

The Blazing Star State Trail offers over six miles riding from Albert Lea out through the State Park.

Here in the park you will find both a mountain bike and a paved trail system for bicyclists to enjoy. For mountain bikers the park offers about seven miles of wide grass trails in a sequence of three separate loops, strung together alongside the State trail. The Blazing Star State Trail is paved and runs from Albert Lea Lake in Albert Lea out through Myre-Big Island State Park, approximately six miles.

Throughout the park both trail systems wind through generally open prairie with some young wood land, especially nearer Lake Albert Lea. Nice rolling hills, make for a surprisingly good workout and the park is also known as an excellent birding spot.

Road Biking Opportunities

Exploring the area on bike is easy, too. You can use the roads to navigate around town and rural southern Minnesota. There’s even a dedicated bike lane to safely get you in and out of town. Be sure to watch for traffic as you will be sharing the road.

More about Albert Lea 

The bike route around Albert Lea Lake id reminiscent of the Lake of the Isles.

The bike route around Albert Lea Lake is reminiscent of the Lake of the Isles.

Want to take a trip on the water, but don’t own a boat? It’s okay, you can take a tour of Albert Lake on the Pelican Breeze. If you go on Fridays you can be part of their pizza cruise.

When you need a break from the outdoors there’s plenty to keep your exciting adventure going. There’s locally owned shops, one-of-a-kind restaurants and the area history will top of your bike adventure. Check out more here.

The best part about my weekend here, it is all easy to get to if you’re using your bike as your main means of transportation.

Hayward waits for bridge to complete Blazing Star Trail

The Hayward, MN trail’s new east end trail head dedication was held Sunday, July 17th with country fan-fare. At the celebration of the Blazing Star Trail was Joel Wagar (from MN DNR) and Peggy Bennett (MN Representative). Hayward Mayor, Mike Hansen, was also present to cut the ribbon. Now the communities of Albert Lea and Hayward wait patiently for the bridge over Albert Lea Lake to connect the two section of the trail. Everyone was optimistic that funding for the bridge will come in the next legislative session, so the trail could be completed by 2018.

The Hayward/Blazing Star Trail Head Celebration

The east end of the Blazing Star Trail has about a mile and a half of pavement.

The east end of the Blazing Star Trail has about a mile and a half of pavement.

The dedication and fun was held at the Hayward City Park, located about four miles east of Albert Lea. After the ribbon cutting, kid’s from four to ninety enjoyed the events planned. Throughout the afternoon, people enjoyed games, bike/walk events, lemonade (at the west end of the trail), root beer floats, and prizes.

Blazing Star to the Mississippi River

Resident and visitors rode their bikes on the new section of the Blazing Star Trail, enjoying lemonade and cookies at the end before returning back to Hayward.

Resident and visitors rode their bikes on the new section of the Blazing Star Trail, enjoying lemonade and cookies at the end before returning back to Hayward.

While waiting for the bridge over Albert Lea Lake, the DNR is planning on scheduled meetings. The meetings will discuss possible options to eventually extend the trail. This would be from Hayward to Austin. Once the bridge over Albert Lea Lake is completed, adjacent to a Canadian Pacific Railroad bridge, the they hope to connect it to the Shooting Star Trail in Austin.

The Blazing Star trail head, in Hayward, has a new rest room facilitates, bike racks and a fix-it-station in the park there.

The Blazing Star trail head, in Hayward, has a new rest room facilitates, bike racks and a fix-it-station in the park there.

Once the trail reaches Austin, it would be about 20 miles long. With long term goals set, someday bicyclists will have the ability to ride from Albert Lea to Austin.

Biking around Albert Lea

Known as the “Land Between the Lakes,” Albert Lea is nestled between Albert Lea Lake and Fountain Lake. Geographically located at the crossroads of Interstate I-90 and Interstate 35W, in southern Minnesota, this charming community offers many bike touring options. Today you will find a relaxing setting to bike with family and friends. You can do this while enjoying some of southern Minnesota’s hospitality. Along with the blazing Star Trail, we found that the roads around Fountain Lake are reminiscent of Lake of the Isles, in Minneapolis.

For more information contact the Albert Lea Tourism Center.