Tag Archives: Shooting Star Trail

Border Bike Ride makes it easy to explore towns in Iowa and Minnesota

The Border Bike Ride allows all levels of cyclists the opportunity to ride on two trails, with several communities along the way. The fun begins in Riceville, in northeast Iowa, at the trailhead and welcome center of the Waspi-Great Western Line (WGWL) Trail on Saturday, August 24th. With many route options, recreational riders of all levels have several opportunities. The 56-mile route option crosses the border into Minnesota and to visit communities along the Shooting Star Trail.

The Border Bike Ride options

A multiple bike route event with a choice of:

  • Two family routes (22 miles round trip, entirely on the WGWL Trail)
  • Intermediate Routes (40 miles or 50 miles, on WGWL Trail and county hard-surface roadways)
  • Advanced Route (56 miles, on WGWL Trail, Shooting Star Trail, and paved county roadways)

Ride highlights

Border Bike Ride crosses the Wapsipinicon River twice.

Experience a biking environment that includes the following scenic views:

  • With miles of winding trail, the former WGWL railroad bed travels through the towns of Riceville and McIntire and twice crosses the Wapsipinicon River. Along the way also experience an 800-foot boardwalk that hovers over the flood plain that borders the river.
  • Also along the trail, take a peek at two ghost towns of the former villages of Acme and Bailey.
  • An added opportunity may include exploring the side trail that runs through the park next to Lake Hendricks.
  • As you pedal, travel next to Mennonite and Amish farms with a views dairy cows and draft horses grazing in the pasture. You will also pass by several Mennonite greenhouses that supply the area resident and visitors with flowers, fruit and vegetable products.
  • Seasoned cyclists on the 56-mile route will cross the border from Iowa into Minnesota with pleasant views of lady slipper flowers, Lake Louise State Park and the Upper Iowa River while riding along the Shooting Star Trail.

Some of the sweet treats along your ride

The delicious Heavenly Apples will be included with registration and served at Bailey station. Further along, enjoy homemade bars and ice cream at Lylah’s Marsh from 2-5 p.m. Then upon your return, ice cream sundaes/floats will be available for purchase at WGWL Trailhead/Welcome Center, from 2-6 p.m.  With maps provided you will find further refreshments and treats available at bike sponsor stations along the routes.

Registration

Border Bike Ride fun

Register online at https://borderbike.wgwltrail.com/. The cost is $12 to ride and $22 to ride with an event shirt.  Please note, event shirt is only available if pre-ordered by August 9th for Summer Farewell Border Bike.

Bike on your own or in a group.  Group departures from the WGWL Trailhead (110 East Main Street Riceville IA 50466) are at the quarter past the hour from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. Shuttle available upon request.

Ride Benefits

Proceeds support the existence of the Wapsi-Great Western Line – a linear park preserving the past for the future, giving active people a safe place to run, hike and bike.

Blazing Star Trailhead dedication extends trail closer to Austin

In Southern Minnesota, the Blazing Star Trail Head dedication and celebration, in Hayward, MN, will take place this Sunday, July 17, near Albert Lea. After the ceremony the contractors will start construction on the last two miles of the extension. This will be starting in Hayward, MN and going west, near Albert Lea Lake.

The Hayward/Blazing Star Trail Head Celebration

The dedication and fun begins next Sunday, at 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. at the Hayward City Park, located about four miles east of Albert Lea. Throughout the afternoon kids from four to ninety will enjoy the events planned. These include games, bike/walk events, lemonade and root beer floats, and prizes.

Blazing Star to the Mississippi

A bridge over Albert Lea Lake is still necessary to connect the trail from Hayward, west to Albert Lea. Also, at this time there is no specific date to extend the trail from Hayward to Austin. However, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resouces (DNR) is scheduling meetings to discuss possible options. Eventually the trail is planned to cross the Albert Lea Lake adjacent to a Canadian Pacific Railroad bridge, then go through Hayward and extend to Austin.

According to DNR reports, the trail will eventually connect Albert Lea to Austin and the Shooting Star. 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, east to the Mississippi River.

About 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 is about 90 miles south of the Twin Cities. Today you will find a relaxing setting to bike with family and friends while enjoying some of southern Minnesota’s hospitality.  For more information contact the Albert Lea Tourism Center.

More Places To Ride

Find many more bike friendly places to ride and explore in the new Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide.