Tag Archives: New Brighton

The New Brighton 10-mile bike loop ties history with nature

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

From its early years discover the historical connection to railroads and livestock this bike-friendly community. Today the New Brighton 10-mile bike loop offers cyclists a mixture of history, nature and many attractions as you ride here. Plus it is easy to add additional adventure with trail connections that will take you throughout the Twin Cities Gateway. With all the opportunities here you will find a picture-perfect destination for your next bike vacation here.

The New Brighton bike loop is fun for the whole family.

The New Brighton 10-mile bike loop

This bike loop travels clockwise and begins at the Homewood Suites by Hilton. Taking a left out of the parking lot onto Old Highway 8, you will find a trail on the west side as you pedal south. Soon after passing Lions Park the route enters a new development on Ring Road and catches the trail. Soon you are making a big sweep through the prairie grass as the trail crosses under the RR bridge near the freeway and takes you out on Beach Road. Lake. After crossing the south shore of Long Lake experience a mix of busy and calm. Now pedaling Manning Trail, along the freeway border wall, to your right enjoy nature along the south shore of Pike Lake. If you want to explore nature along the shoreline there is an optional short loop off the path.

A fun bike loop to explore with friends.

A stop for ice cream while biking to the Rice Creek Trail

Now pedaling to the northwest through the residential neighborhoods on the west side of Pike Lake the route ventures up to the Rice Creek North Regional Trail. On your way over to Central Avenue, if it is a hot day, consider stopping by Grandpa’s Ice Cream, at Moore Lake Road. Now riding north on a trail running parallel to Central, just before at 69th Avenue you are at the Rice Creek Trailhead. Here the 10-mile loop travels back east towards the headwaters of Rice Creeks. An option for future consideration is the Rice Creek Trail West. From Central Avenue, the trail follows the winding flowage to the Mississippi River and its well-known trail, the MRT.

The flavors here are worth stopping for.

The smells, sounds, and wilderness sightings along the trail

Back on the 10-mile route, pedaling east, this section is one of my favorite parts of the Rice Creek Trail. As the route winds back and forth along the waterway under a forested canopy I am amazed. Riding this section of the trail the forest air, noises, and wildlife sightings will encompass you. At the next trail Y, the bike loop pulls away from the creek and continues along a rail line that helped establish New Brighton. After crossing Rice Creek one more time on this bike loop you will be entering Long Lake Regional Park.

Biking along the rail line brings hits from the community’s past.

Stop by the New Brighton History Center, in the park

Here in the park, you will find numerous trails circling around between the east shore of Long Lake and the south shore of Rush Lake. Follow the turn-by-turn cue sheet of the route if you don’t want to miss a turn. There are a lot of intersections in the park. After crossing a final set of RR tracks you will pass the New Brighton History Center. Here you can stop and learn more about the areas past before returning back to the start.

A great place to stay on a bike vacation.

Returning back along Highway 8, it’s just a short distance back at the parking lot at Homewood Suites. After parking your bike check out a nearby eating establishment. Then plan another bike adventure in the Twin Cities Gateway Area.

Printable map and  Q (cue)-sheet)

For a printable bike map of New Brighton, click here

For a turn-by-turn, Q-sheet of New Brighton, click here

New Brighton’s annual Stockyards Days

If your vacation plans are centered around the second week in August, consider joining the fun at the community’s annual Stockyards Day’s.

A Minnesota fall bike/birding hotspot in the Twin Cities Gateway to enjoy

As fall approaches and many of the migratory birds are starting to gather for their departure south on the flyway we wanted to share a few bike/birding hotspots we found in the north Twin Cities Metro Area. While ground-truthing a few bike maps in the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide we noticed some migratory wildlife haunts perfect for viewing the fall migration that you may want to check out along the paved bike trails.

As migratory birds start gather for their departure south on the flyway this fall.

As migratory birds start to gather for their departure south on the flyway this fall.

An area once inhabited by Dakota and Ojibwe tribes, today the nine communities in the Gateway offer excellent viewing opportunities in the parks along its lakes and the Mississippi River. These parks provide nature enthusiasts with several places to enjoy bird watching. Why here? From these areas alone you are able to spot an impressive list of waterfowl, along with hawks and songbirds that are still around. Starting with many spots along the Mississippi River Trail (MRT), the Rice Creek Trail and the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary (BWS) check all the Important Birding Areas (IBA) out:

Bike/birding hotspots along the Mississippi River

The Mississippi River, north of Minneapolis, is an important IBA waterfowl area that is adjacent to floodplains areas easily accessible to the MRT bike trails passing through Anoka, Coon Rapids and Fridley. This IBA area also connects to the Rice Creek corridor and its adjacent floodplain on public lands. With the bike trail following the stream, it flows out of the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes, near Lino Lakes, towards the Mississippi where you will find many birding opportunities. According to the National Audubon Society website this IBA lies within an area that has a very high population density and an area that is one of the fastest-growing areas in the Twin Cities area.

A viewing spot on the Mississippi River Trail near the Coon Rapids Dam.

A viewing spot on the Mississippi River Trail near the Coon Rapids Dam.

The Mississippi Flyway is not only a tremendously important flyway for waterfowl, but it also attracts raptors and other migratory birds. Warblers can be seen in abundance along the river because of its rich source of insects during both the spring and fall migrations.

Bike/birding hotspots along the Rice Creek Trail

A group of birders set up viewing along the Rice Creek Trail.

A group of birders set up viewing along the Rice Creek Trail.

The Rice Creek IBA is another Important Birding Area and consists of two parts: The Ramsey County Open Space, also known as Arden Hills Army Training Site (AHATS) and Rice Creek North. This stretch, you will find sizeable populations of birds and other animals in a supported variety of marsh, grassland, and wooded habitats. See the National Audubon Society website on this northeast section of the Rice Creek flowage.

The Blaine Wetland Sanctuary

Back in the center of the Twin Cities Gateway, the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary (BWS) offers over 500 acres of wetland and upland habitat for viewing. A boardwalk through the sanctuary, extended from a parking area connects the existing paved trail to East Lake Park. Walk or ride your bike, with viewing equipment, along with the boardwalk and trail.

For more information on these birding hotspots and others, contact Ramsey County Parks and Recreation Department at (651) 748-2500 or see www.co.ramsey.mn.us/parks for more information.

Nearby places to stay and connect to the trails while birding, see these Twin Cities Gateway lodging properties. For maps showing bike trail access from your selected hotel, check here.

Have Fun!