by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com
At the confluence of the Rum and Mississippi Rivers, discover the city of Anoka, with fun at every turn along the route. A bike-friendly community to explore you will find parks and historic neighborhoods on the Anoka 10-mile bike loop. One of the nine Twin Cities Gateway communities, it’s a perfect destination for a bike vacation with all the trail opportunities here. So, if you enjoy pedaling through charming neighborhoods visit Anoka on your next bike adventure.
The Anoka 10-mile bike loop
We recommend starting your bike ride at the Gathering Place Band Shell. It’s located in Akin Riverside Park, on the east bank of the Rum River, a block west of Ticknor Hill Bed & Breakfast.
Traveling clockwise, over the river bridge and the pedestrian crossing on Ferry Street enjoy riding along picturesque Benton Street in the historic Whiskey Flats neighborhood. Don’t be alarmed if you hit a pass-through trail while riding along this residential lane it deters traffic. The street here, a part of the Mississippi River Trail, has been altered to block drive-through auto traffic. Soon you are on the trail pedaling into Mississippi River Community Park.
Kings Island and park amenities
Arriving in the park you will find restroom facilities and 1.7 miles of paved trail on the grounds here. The community park sits on the east bank of the Mississippi River. Here find a playground in the form of a boat, reminding users of the park’s connection with the Mighty Mississippi. The King Island section of the park incorporates the natural beauty of a wooded flood plain with hiking trails and a mix of prairie flowers.
Up to River Bend Park
Leaving from the park the Anoka 10-mile loop utilizes the trail along its northern route up through Anoka’s industrial area. After crossing Highway 10, notice the Regency Inn Hotel to your left and those who want to ride the 6-mile route should turn east on Vista Way here. Back on the 10-mile loop pedaling north up to Bunker Lake Boulevard. Further along, you will find River Bend Park a perfect place to stop and view the Rum River. Another option, after crossing the river bridge, is to take the trail up, over Bunker Lake Boulevard to the Rum River Library and the Anoka Nature Preserve.
The Anoka Nature Preserve is a 200-acre passive recreational area with low maintenance, hard-packed roads, perfect for off-road cycling and hiking. Along the riverbank, several paths lead to wildlife observation decks. Back at the Preserves trailhead, north of the library, you will find a playground and a restroom option.
Riding along the Rum River
Now heading south on the Rum River Trail, pedal along the east bank of the river and enjoy the wildlife viewing. As you get closer to the inner city of Anoka the trail pops out, onto the bike lane on 4th Avenue and through the historic Cutterville and Wet Flats neighborhoods. Here the 6-mile loop emerges from the west and the trail resumes your ride along the river.
The historic downtown district of Anoka
As you approach four metal grain bins along the trail you are entering the north side of the historic downtown area of Anoka. Here you will find several delicious dining establishments and other points of interest. Also known as the Halloween Capital of the World, the city of Anoka becomes alive with festivities each fall. Now, before taking the river trail, under Main Street and back to the band Shell, check out the observation deck at the Rum River Dam.
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