Tag Archives: Paul Bunyan Trail

Ride into the Brainerd Lakes Area and you'll see what people love about northern Minnesota. Ride the open roads or the Paul Bunyan Trail and more.

Ride your bike around Brainerd Lakes Area and discover northern fun

by Andrew Ellis

The farther you drive into northern Minnesota, the more you’ll find yourself surrounded by trees, lakes, and never-ending roads and trails, and the Brainerd Lakes Area is no exception. When you want to escape the city for a taste of the come-stay-a-while vibe of relaxing by a lakeside, you’re in luck.

The Paul Bunyan trail in the Brainard Lakes Area is a fun trail for the family

It’s a slowed-down pace, but there really is no better way to enjoy the great outdoors of Minnesota. And if you’re going to be getting around on your bike, you can go at any speed you choose. Also, the number of lakes in the area makes it easy to find a place to drop a line in the water.

More about the bike-friendly Brainerd Lakes Area

With many bike-friendly street routes to get you to and from the area hotels in the Brainerd-Baxter. You will also the famous Paul Bunyan Trail, which takes you all the way to Bemidji, and the Mississippi River Trail, easy to access here.

When not touring the lakes area, there are plenty more ways to make everlasting memories. You can walk around Paul Bunyan Land, head over to Pirate’s Cove for some mini-golf, or take a tour of the area on a zip line at Mount Ski Gull.

The area also caters to those who may want to cool down with an indoor activity or have a more relaxing evening. You can enjoy a great meal and a view of North Long Lake or Gull Lake simultaneously with one of their lakeside restaurants. If you want some more local culture, there are plenty of art exhibits, plays, and more shown in the area. And don’t forget the shops, either. There are plenty of unique shops where you can find the perfect souvenir.

Biking opportunities in the bike-friendly Brainerd Lakes Area

Get your bike and get ready to pedal. Brainerd has plenty for you to do. You can take on some mountain bike trails, start the journey up Paul Bunyan Trail, and use road loops to explore the area on your own.

Paul Bunyan Trail

The Paul Bunyan trail in the Brainard Lakes Area is a fun trail for the family

The Paul Bunyan trail in the Brainard Lakes Area is a fun trail for the family.

Starting in Brainerd and winding around some of its lakes is the Paul Bunyan Trail. You’ll get a great tour of the northern country life of Minnesota. There are three sections to the trail, or you can take the entire 120 miles that take you to Bemidji, where you can see the famous statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Ox.

Cuyuna Lakes State Trail and mountain bike park

Just east of town, you’ll come upon the natural beauty of the Cuyuna Lakes area. There, you have a couple of options. There’s a 20-mile trail that takes you northeast to the Croft Mine Trailhead. This trail will take you through Minnesota’s north countryside, full of lakes prime for fishing and swimming and beautiful forests full of trees. It’s a freeing experience you won’t soon forget. You can also take on the mountain bike trail system. Each trail varies in difficulty depending on how much of a challenge you want. Obstacles include rocks, wooden paths, and more. You’ll definitely want to come back.

Road biking opportunities galore!

There are plenty of trails and loops to help you make your way around Brainerd and the surrounding area. You can take West Baxter or Sylvan that take you both deeper into the heart of Brainerd and to its perimeter, which also takes you by a couple of lakes. Then there’s Merrifield and Gull Dam Trail that take you north of town and around several of the area’s lakes. The South Long Lake Trail takes you southeast and gives you a little view of South Long Lake. Starting just southeast of the town, you can take Camp Jim Trail that travels north and loops around the town. Plus, there is plenty of fun for those who won’t ride an MRT section (Mississippi River Trail).

See more about the Brainerd Lakes Area here for your next bike adventure.

Bike Pic Aug 27, 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.

View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa Bike Guide or the Minnesota Bike/Hike edition. Then plan your next outing with family and friends at one of the HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for viewing our Bike Pic of the Day 

Now rolling into our 15th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike. While showcasing all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more place to have fun we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy.

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 do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing the guide.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. And don’t forget to smile, while you are riding and having fun. We may capture you in one of our next photos that we post daily.

Have a great day!

Bike Pic June 11, a cool spots for mountain biking fun

This bike pic Saturday, check out Godbolt Lake and Hanson Lake Loops, near Walker, MN, south of Leech Lake for some mountain biking fun.

Get into the zone and plan your next bike outing with family and friends. Check out the latest Iowa and Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide; there are many bike-friendly maps inside for your #NextBikeAdventure.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Bike Pic’ 

Now rolling into our 15th 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 bike pic 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!

Here this cyclist is enjoying Minnesota's peak riding time on the Paul Bunyan Trail.

Minnesota’s Peak Riding Time Is Fall: Part One

Autumn Is Minnesota’s Peak Riding Time: Northern Minnesota

With the summer season officially off the calendar, fall is a great time to extend your bike riding adventures here in Minnesota. As the trees change colors along the miles of paved and mountain bike trails, cyclists will find a kaleidoscope of colors along the way. With the abundant rainfall this year, colors are predicted to be spectacular. If the weather remains mostly sunny during the day and cool at night, conditions will favor a stunning ride while exploring Minnesota. It’s no surprise that Minnesota’s peak riding time is fall.

Each year the fall color peak normally arrives in the northern one-third of the state in mid-September to early October. Granted, there is an exception to that rule if you are looking at biking in the Arrowhead region along Lake Superior. If you are, then the peak fall colors normally arrive about a week later than inland areas due to the warming effect of the lake. In the central one-third of the state, wooded areas become colorful between late September and early October. For the southern-third of Minnesota, colors peak early to mid-October. This year the peak cycle, statewide, is running a week or so later than normal due to ideal summer conditions – so enjoy!

To get a more accurate gauge to the change in colors in areas of Minnesota that you would like to visit, a color report is available online or through a weekly e-newsletter from Explore Minnesota Tourism each Thursday afternoon during the fall season.

This section is part one of a three part series.

Northern Minnesota Trails To Enjoy Peak Colors 

Northeastern Minnesota

Gitchi-Gami: This trail along the North Shore now has a 29 mile segment. This segment goes from Gooseberry Falls State Park through Split Rock Lighthouse State Park to Beaver Bay. For more information on visiting the area see Heart of the Northshore Tourism Association.

Mesabi: This is one the most interesting trails in the state with 120 miles completed so far between Grand Rapids and Virginia/Biwabik. Built only partly on old rail lines, it dips and climbs around bogs and mine-pit lakes. Then, it continues around slag heaps and natural lakes highlighted by aspen and pines. See more at Grand Rapids Tourism on the west end and the IronTrail Tourism for the east end of the trail.

Willard Munger: This 75 mile trail between Hinckley and Duluth is one of the oldest and longest paved trails in the nation. The trail starts in Hinckley, Minnesota 61 and then goes to Carlton. For more information on the south end of the trail see: Hinckley Tourism and at the northern end. For near Jay Cook State Park, see Carlton Tourism.

Sunrise Prairie/Hardwood Creek: These county trails, just north of the Twin Cities and parallel of Interstate 35W, starts from Washington County’s Hardwood Creek Regional Trail at Forest Lake. Then, the trail changes to Sunrise Prairie Trail at Stacy for another 16 miles up to North Branch. See more information at Sunrise Trail Prairie Trail or Hardwood Creek Trail.

Northwestern Minnesota

Paul Bunyan: This 120 mile trail winds through lake country from Brainerd/Baxter to Bemidji. The southern trailhead is in Baxter, off Minnesota 371 at Excelsior Road (parking is near Northland Arboretum). The trail takes you up through the Chippewa National Forest then to Akeley (7¾ miles to Walker on the Heartland Trail). Afterwards, the trails continues onto Bemidji. Then, it goes to Bemidji State Park. See more information on the south end of the trail at Brainerd/Baxter/Nisswa Tourism and Bemidji Tourism at the north trailhead.

Heartland: There are lots of towns to explore on this 49 mile ride. The trail takes you between Park Rapids to Cass Lake, through Walker and connects to the Paul Bunyan Trail. For At-a-Glance Tips see: Leech Lake Tourism on the east end and Park Rapids Tourism at the west end of this trail.

Migizi: This scenic U.S. Forest Service loop ride around Pike Bay is 17 miles if you count the spur to-and-from Norway Beach Recreation Area on Cass Lake, streets in the town of Cass Lake, and the three miles that run south of Cass Lake along Minnesota 371. See Cass Lake Tourism for more information.


Trip Tips: To Enjoy Minnesota’s Peak Riding Times by Bike

Before you go:

  • Always check the MnDNR website for a trail map or to see if road construction or flooding has closed a portion of that area.
  • Also, each Thursday afternoon during the fall season a color report is available online. You can also receive it through a weekly e-newsletter at Explore Minnesota Tourism.

Staying safe:

Even on off-road trails, bicyclists need to wear helmets. Since you are much more likely to fall on your head by locking wheels with another bike or by stopping suddenly than you are to be hit by a vehicle, make sure to wear helmet.

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

Also, ride with a buddy, especially on isolated stretches.

Have Fun and check back this Thursday for part two of Minnesota’s Peak Riding Time!

Bike Pic Nov 5, carrying a tune

Stopping along the trail these two cyclists cant help themselves, picking up the tune being played by the gentleman with the accordion. Photo taken by Dawn Wilson on the Tour of Lakes ride, in the Brainerd Lakes Area of Minnesota.

Thanks for viewing the Bike Pic of the Day here at HaveFunBiking (HFB), hope you enjoyed the photo.

Now, rolling into our 10th year as a bicycle media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike, while showcasing unforgettable places to ride. As we search and present more fun photos worth a grin, scroll through the information and stories we have posted to help you find your next adventure. Then, while out there if you see us along a paved or mountain bike trail, next to the route you regularly commute on, or at an event you plan to attend with your bike, be prepared to smile. You never know where our camera’s will be and what we will post next!

Do you have a fun photo of yourself or someone you know that you would like to see us publish? If so, please send it our way and we may use it. Send your picture(s) to editor@HaveFunBiking.com with a brief caption (of each), including who is in the photo (if you know?) and where it was taken. Photo(s) should be at least 620 pixels wide for us to use them. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and an acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As HaveFunBiking continues to encourage more people to ride, please reference our blog and the annual print and quarterly digital Bike/Hike Guide to find your next adventure. We are proud of the updated – At-a-Glance information and maps we are known for in the HFB Destination section on our website and in the guide. Now, as the Bike/Hike Guide goes into its seventh year of production, we are adding a whole new dimension of bicycle tourism information available for mobile devices where you may see some additional bike pics – maybe of yourself so.

Bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure – we may capture you in one of the next photos we post.

Have a great day!