Tag Archives: Twin Cities Gateway

AA great destination for a bike adventure riding the trails and bike friendly roads in the Twin Cities Gateway.

An endless bike adventure in the Twin Cities Gateway of Minnesota

by Andrew Ellis

Take a deep breath as you grip your handlebars and prepare for a bike adventure in the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities. You will feel as if you’re deep in the country. As this north metro community area borders the Mississippi River Trail it can be your personal playground while visiting.

When in the area you can: stop and fish; play a round of disc golf; go birding; travel through a chain of lakes by bike or canoe; or explore one of the many parks. You can even satisfy your inner sports fan by visiting the National Sports Center, with a velodrome track.

Stop along the trail in the Twin Cities Gateway for a some fishing.

Stop along the trail in the Twin Cities Gateway if wetting a line and catching some fish are a part of  your agenda.

The Twin Cities Gateway is made up of nine different bike-friendly communities: Anoka; Blaine;, Coon Rapids; Fridley; Ham Lake; Lino Lakes; Mounds View; New Brighton; and Shoreview. All unique in their own way they all offering relaxed small town-type atmospheres with plenty to do, perfect for anyone looking to get away and only minutes from the big city.

A friendly bike adventure get-away

The Twin Cities Gateway is just a short drive, or an easy commute by bike from Minneapolis or St Paul. Another major feature is the Mississippi River Trail  (MRT) following the rivers edge in three of the nine Getaway communities: Anoka; Coon Rapids; and Fridley. Plus the other six Gateway Cities have bike friendly roads and trails that lead to the MRT for a bike adventure.

After riding the trails and bike friendly roads in the Twin Cities Gateway enjoying a cold beverage with friends is a great way to seal the ride.

After riding the trails and bike friendly roads enjoy a cold beverage with friends at the Hammer Heart Brewery, it’s a great way to seal the ride.

 Mississippi River Trail (MRT)

The MRT starts at the headwaters of  Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and passes through the Twin Cities Gateway before flowing into the Gulf, at the mouth of the river in Venice, Louisiana. While riding along the river in the Gateway communities you’ll pass many opportunities for site-seeing, so make sure your camera is fully charged.

Other Off-Road Trails and Parks

You can take the Rum River Regional Trail down to where it meets the MRT, maybe stopping in historic downtown Anoka along the way? There is also the scenic trails in Bunker Hills Regional Park offering heavily wooded and prairie flower landscapes. Or, take the thrilling Coon Creek Regional Trail that connects to the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park and the MRT.

Stop along the trail in the Twin Cities Gateway for a round of disc golf.

Stop along the trail, in several of the parks in the Twin Cities Gateway for a round of disc golf.

For a more extensive rides you can also explore the trails along the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Park Reserve. Or, take the Rice Creek West Regional Trail back to the Mississippi River. This trail passes through Long Lake Park which has several trails that take you by the park’s namesake and Rush Lake. Another option are the trails in the Vadnais-Snail Lakes Regional Park which is filled to the brim and full of beautiful scenery as you switch from one trail to the next.

National Sports Center

If you’re tired of riding trails and want more of a challenge, check out the velodrome at the National Sports Center, in Blaine. The wooden track is open to the public every Thursday for single speed fun. The season begins in late spring and through the summer. Check out their website for more details.

For more info take a look at the At-A-Glance TC Gateway article

Now that you are considering an adventure to the Twin Cities Gateway, also check out our HaveFunBiking  At-A-Glance Twin Cities Gateway Article. Here you will find more details on where to stay, play, and explore this nine city area. Great for planning and to link to your your hand-held devise, for guaranteed fun.

Along with a new fat tire race, the 12th Annual Ham Lake Snowbowl  takes place February 10th offering fun things to see and do for the whole family.  Ham Lake is located in the Twin Cities Gateway Area on the north side of Minneapolis and St Paul

The first annual Snow Bowl Fat Bike Race conquers Ham Lake!

Along with a new fat tire race, the 12th Annual Ham Lake Snowbowl  takes place February 10th offering fun things to see and do for the whole family.  Ham Lake is located in the Twin Cities Gateway Area on the north side of Minneapolis and St Paul and looks forward to your visit.

They are teaming up with the racing crew at the the National Sports Center Velodrome, in Blaine, to create a this fat bike race as part of the Ham Lake SnowBowl festivities.

The Ham Lake Snow Bowl and Fat Tire Race promises a lot of fun for the whole family

The Ham Lake Snow Bowl and Fat Tire Race promises a lot of fun for the whole family

The course will wind through Ham Lake Park, on trails, through scenic woods areas and on the open lake area (If frozen of course). There will be elevation changes and some obstacles easily negotiable by all racers.

Categories

–  Juniors to 29 Age Class, Men and Women
– 30 to 39 Age Class, Men and Women
– 40-49 Age Class, Men and Women
– 50+ Age Class, Men and Women
– All classes will ride together but will be scored separately.

Medals will be awarded to the Top 3 in each age and gender class.

The Ham Lake Snow Bowl is Family Fun Time

Ham Lake’s premier winter event is fun for the whole family, there is something for everyone. Along with the Fat Tire Race—brand new in 2018 and in partnership with Pioneer Cycle, you will find:
-Ice Fishing Contest on Ham Lake—sponsored by the Three Rivers District Order of the Arrow.
-Snow Sculpture Contest—featuring sculptors from all over the country, and even the world!   Vote for your favorite.
-Broomball Tournament—bringing local teams together as well as those from surrounding states.
-Guess the Snow Sculpture Break-Through Date & Time and win cash!
-Follow clues to find the Snowbowl Medallion and win cash!
-Dog pull…Business Expo…Craft Extravaganza…Sledding Hill…Silent Auction…Pull Tabs…Food and more!

Bring your fat bike, or rent one and come to the Annual Ham Lake Snow Bowl on February 10, 2018

Bring your fat bike, or rent one and come to the Annual Ham Lake Snow Bowl

So winter or summer, come and discovering the amenities in Ham Lake for your #nextbikeadventure in the Twin Cities Gateway.

Here is a biker dude having fun, riding into the Monday morning sun on the Mississippi River Trail Corridor that runs through the Twin Cities Gateway community of Fridley, MN.

Bike Pic Dec 4, riding into the Monday morning sun this summer

Here is a biker dude having fun, riding into the Monday morning sun this summer on the Mississippi River Trail Corridor that runs through the Twin Cities Gateway community of Fridley, MN.

What better way to continue your 2017 riding season fun and to plan your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of the HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Monday Morning Sun’ Pic of the Day  

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

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: [email protected]. 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 use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo apperance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic’s of the Day.

Have a great day!

Ready for Halloween, this young cyclist is.

Bike Pic Oct 31, trying on faces in preparation for Halloween

Here in Anoka MN, the Halloween Capitol of the World, we found this young cyclist this summer. She was checking out face painting options that she could use with her costume today.

With the leaves falling fast we hope you get out on your bike and enjoy all the fall riding possibilities and Halloween decorations. See many more bike-friendly places to explore in the new Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide.

Thanks for viewing the Halloween Bike Pic of the day 

On Saturday, in Anoka, MN, the Halloween Capitol of the World these cyclists enjoy riding their bikes along the parade route.

On Saturday in Anoka MN, the Halloween Capitol of the World these cyclists enjoy a bike ride along the parade route.

Now rolling into our 11th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting 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.

Also at the Saturday event in Anoka the T-6 Thunder Planes fly over before the Parade as participants ran the of Gray Ghost Run.

At the Anoka event, the T-6 Thunder Planes fly over before the Parade as the of Gray Ghost Run was in progressed.

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: [email protected]. 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!

Its time to find that spooktaculr costume for the next Halloween Parade in Anoka

A Halloween Capital, Discovering Anoka’s History, Trails, and More

By Andrew Ellis

Rolling into Anoka, MN for my next bike adventure, I felt a welcoming charm in this relaxing community with hospitality everywhere that I turned. With gear on, I was ready to this pedal this area they call the Halloween Capital of the World. The vast trail and bike friendly road network in the Twin Cities Gateway communities was ready for me. In Anoka, my headquarters for this trip just north of Minneapolis and at the confluence of where the Rum River flows into Ol’ Man River, along the Mississippi River Trail (MRT). To my amazement many of the historic buildings in this river town are gracing the street in and around the downtown area,

A great destination for the whole family riding the trails and bike friendly roads in the Twin Cities Gateway.

A great destination for the whole family riding the trails and bike friendly roads in the Twin Cities Gateway.

Along with the Gateway’s bike friendly attributes, this towns history is another reason why you should visit Anoka. Options include the annual Anoka Heritage Home & Garden Tour that will let you immerse yourself in the town’s past. Or, stop by the local Chamber and ask about the festivities surrounding the week of Halloween. But, first, check out all the dining establishments to fuel your body before and after your ride.

Hans’ Bakery

The bike ride to Hans’ Bakery will be a nice wake up for your body, but your taste-buds and sweet tooth will rewarded when you arrive at this local legend of pastries. This establishment started as a diner by German immigrants, now step through the door and it’s like you’re sent back to simpler time. The menu items are on chalkboard and what they offer is presented brightly lit showcase window in the front. The only modern amenity they have is a I-tablet to ring you up.

They have many specialties. One of the most well known is the Texas Donut. It’s name speaks for itself and comes in a couple different version. No political jokes here, but its larger than most peoples’ hands.

Avant Garden

This little cafe tucked into historic downtown area is great place to stop by if you’re looking for a supreme coffee fix, but want to venture away from the a big chains. It’s got everything you’d want from a popular cafe too. In addition, their own unique daily sandwich options can be enjoyed with a Coke from a glass bottle. With an indie vibe that would make it a perfect fit in a big urban setting, the staff there made it extra special.

Anoka Heritage Home & Garden Tour

Ticknor Hill Bed and Breakfast, in the Twin Cities Gateway

Thankfully you’ve eaten, because it’s time for a historic event. The Anoka Heritage Home & Garden tour will take you on a very memorable journey in Anoka’s history. It’s a self-guided tour with 17 stops that include area such as the historic Slabtown and Christian Hall neighborhoods. You’ll find out the origins on their names and stories from its first residents.

There are actually two stops on the tour that have made their way onto the coveted National Registry of Historic Places. The Ticknor Hill Bed and Breakfast is the firsts and still provides guests with small town hospitality while they visit. The second is the Woodbury House that is home to the Mad Hatter Restaurant and Tea House. These are just a few of the many waiting for you to come and explore.

Mississippi River Trail

Riding the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) into Anoka.

Riding the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) from Elk River, back into Anoka.

Once you finish with the history tour you may want to hit some more trails before the sun starts to set. Your in luck, the Northstar Train isn’t far from where you are and can take you up stream to a station along the MRT to ride back. Just buy a ticket and hop on board with your bike, the train will drop you off close to the Mississippi River Trail so you have plenty of time to ride your bike back. The river itself flows close to downtown Anoka so you can make your way back on the MRT pretty easily.

10K Brewery

There’s nothing like a cold beer to reward yourself after a day of riding. This is the only local brewery on this side of the Twin Cities Gateway and it has a calendar full of events. Your taste buds can enjoy a wide variety of brews such as their Amber. While quenching your thirst enjoy some trivia or live music from local artists.

A night of art in Anoka

Come by bike or car and see one of the shows like ‘Lady Pirates of Captain Bree’ at the Lyric Arts Main Street Stage.

Now that you packed in some touring miles and your palate has been satisfied you may be ready to immerse yourself in the local arts scene. One of the main attractions is the Lyric Arts Main Street Stage. Here you’ll be able to escape as actors and actresses bring you into different worlds with numerous productions throughout the year.

Reward yourself with a ice cream treat

Depending on when you get done with your ride, you can always head on over to Two Scoops for some great ice cream. It’s a very comfortable place with everything from ice cream in a cone to sundaes. It even has a small candy section that brings to mind the big candy stores many small towns used to have.

The main event in Anoka happens each October

Anoka has many more happenings all throughout the year that you’ll definitely want to check out. On July 8th come by for Riverfest, which is one of the largest craft fairs in the Twin Cities. One of the most memorable events is the Anoka Halloween celebration were you will find spooktacular events throughout October.

Known as the the Halloween Capital of the World, the city bring out all the stops with everything from a largest pumpkin contest to a scavenger hunt. There are also two main parades: Light Up the Night and the Grand Parade that takes place before Halloween.

The finale of the Halloween Capitol of the World is the Grand Day Parade - the largest in the state.

The finale of the Halloween Capitol of the World is the Grand Day Parade – the largest in the state.

So come and discovering Anoka’s history, food, and bike friendly attributes for your #nextbikeadventure in the Twin Cities Gateway.

In the western part of Bloomington MN you will find Hyland Park with over 1,000 acres of parkland act as the Twin Cities best destination for active families, recreational riders, and beach goers.

Enjoying the nearly endless possibilities of Hyland Park

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

In the western part of Bloomington Minnesota over 1,000 acres of parkland act as the Twin Cities best destination for active families, recreational riders, and beach goers. The Hyland Park Reserve encompasses over 8 miles of paved bike path, A family friendly beach, breathtaking prairies, a Ski resort, seven miles of cross country ski trails, a spectacular playground, and countless other attractions. Read on to learn about what possibilities you could explore.

Biking Hyland Park

While not a loop, the trail system in Hyland Park is well laid out to get you to every corner of the park. However, there are small loops within the trail system. The trails in the southernmost part of the park loops around through dense forest and winds along the Hyland Lake. As you move further north, the trails navigate through the most developed portion of the park, passing the Shoots and Ladders Playground and the visitor center. While traveling north, Hyland park reveals it’s true beauty while sending you through vast prairies. In the northernmost part of the park, the trails pass under the shadow of the Hyland Ski and Snowboard area. Even though the trails pass through very different topography, they all are well maintained, relatively flat, and wide enough to offer comfortable riding for all ability levels.

Attractions

Hyland Ski and Snowboard Area

The Hyland Ski area is a downhill ski area with two terrain parks, Ski jumps and a park featuring an 18-hole disc golf course. Through the winter, it is a popular place for lessons and cold weather sports for metro area residents. In the summer, the park periodically operates it’s lifts for mountaintop concerts, bonfires and general outdoor merriment.

Shoots and Ladders Playground

Tucked into the middle of Hyland Park is the most amazing playground you could imagine. It’s tallest 3 story tall tower soars over scores of other structures amassed to put your kids in a state of playground frenzy. Most surfaces are covered in soft rubber, woodchips, or sand offering safe areas for kids of all ages. The park is open to all two-legged creatures, but please leave your four legged friends at home. Additionally, when the mercury rises Shoots and Ladders has a water misting play area for the kids and enormous umbrellas over the picnic areas for he parents.

Richardson Nature Center

Hidden in the dense foliage of Hyland Park is the Richarson Nature Center, a stunning natural gateway for visitors young and old. After parking in their ample lot, stroll a few feet down the path up to the nature center. The center is a two story home to Raptors (upstairs) and amphibians (downstairs). They have classrooms and events in the center throughout the year for anyone looking to learn more about the ecosystem. One of the best parts of the Richardson Nature Center is the kids park they have cleared just down the path. In an open area of forest, kids can build forts and structures with deadfall collected from around the park.

Bush Lake Beach

While not technically in Hyland Park, Bush Lake Beach sits adjacent to Hyland. It is a man-made sand beach on the east shore of Bush Lake. The entrance to the beach just off East Bush Lake Road and just south of the Richardson Nature Center. Through the summer season, you can purchase a one day or season pass for parking. The Aquatic Center at Bush Lake Beach has a snack area and great bathroom amenities.

Year-Round Fun

What is best about Hyland Park is the number of events it has. Throughout the year Hyland Park schedules outdoor and indoor fun for every kind of nature lover. I’ve enjoyed the “Movie Nights on the Hill” a few times and the 4h of July celebration is spectacular. I strongly recommend making the Hyland Park your first stop, when planning an outdoor excursion.

Find more information about this park and the many other fun activities Bloomington has to offer, here.

In the western part of the Twin Cities, Nestled between Golden Valley and Minneapolis is Theodore Wirth Park. A natural playground you should explore.

Theodore Wirth Park, a gift five minutes from downtown Minneapolis

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

In the western part of the Twin Cities, nestled between Golden Valley and Minneapolis is Theodore Wirth Park.  A space almost as large as New York City’s Central park. With in Wirth (as it’s known to the locals) you will find several scenic, natural areas around Birch pond and Wirth Lake, plus two golf courses and a fabulous mountain bike trail system.

For Twin Cities cyclists, it’s a natural playground you should be exited too explore.

Theodore Wirth Park History

What would become Theodore Wirth Park started in 1889 when 66 acres were purchased and established as a park. Now Theodore Wirth park (named after the park system’s superintendent from 1906 to 1936) has over 750 acres. The Central to the park is the Wirth Chalet, a stone and timber structure that offers events, and product rentals for snow sports.

Where to go in Theodore Wirth Park

If you are interested in riding the mountain bike trails of Wirth park, I find it easiest to park at the beach  house off Glenwood avenue. From there it’s a quick spin west over to the trailhead. If your interest are in the golf courses or Grand Rounds and Luce Line trails, the Golf Clubhouse on Theodore Wirth Parkway is your best starting point.

What are the trails like in Theodore Wirth Park

The trails at Wirth are predominantly designed for the intermediate rider. As you enter the trails at southern entrance you are greeted with a twisting climb up thorough rolling prairie and into well established woods. The trails themselves are well manicured and smooth with ample bermed turns. Expect to see narrow ribbons of brown winding through ample green surroundings. When you find your way into the northern trails, more rocks get introduced. The majority of the rocks are well embedded into the trails and act as exciting obstacles to manage. The northern trails also exist in denser forests, with far fewer field areas. Overall, the Trails at Wirth are fun and flowie, offer challenges for the most advanced riders while being accessible to casual riders.

Grand Rounds Trail

The Grand Rounds Scenic Byway is one of the countries longest continuous urban parkways. It is a connecting trail to more than 300 miles of regional trail around Twin Cities Metro Area. It also acts as the connecting trail between most of the parks in the Twin Cities area. That said, you can enjoy a day trip on the Grand Rounds Trail all over the Twin Cities via protected and paved bike lanes. The Grand Rounds travels through 7 districts:  Chain of Lakes (13.3 miles), Minnehaha (12.6 miles), The Mississippi River (9.2 miles), Downtown Riverfront (1.2 miles), Northeast (6 miles), Victory Memorial (3.8 miles) and Theodore Wirth Park (4 miles). Additionally, this trail is cleared by 6am every day through the winter if you choose to use it for commuting.

 

Luce Line Trail

The Grand Rounds Bike trail here connects to the binning of the Luce Line trail.

The Grand Rounds Bike trail here connects to the binning of the Luce Line trail.

The Luce Line trail is a 63 mile limestone path stretching from Cosmos in western Minnesota to Wirth park. It is available for Biking, hiking, running, jogging, and snow activities in specified areas. This trail is an exceptional way to explore neighborhoods and destinations west of the city.

How to help

If you ride and enjoy the trails at Wirth, consider volunteering for trail maintenance. The Minnesota Off Road Cycling organization (MORC) schedule trail work sessions on Wednesdays through the summer. Consequently, the group meets at 6 O’clock and welcomes anyone interested in helping. Wear long pants, boots, and work gloves because you will be doing hard labor. Moreover, you will find that the hard labor is enjoyable because you are giving back to fellow riders.

Winter riding in Wirth

The mountain bike trails in Wirth Park are extra fun in the winter on a fatty.

The mountain bike trails in Wirth Park are extra fun in the winter on a fatty.

While the trails are open through the winter, Fatbiking is not the only sport you can enjoy at Wirth. Therefore, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, tubing, sledding, skating, and, ice fishing are all available within the park. When planning a ride in the fall and spring, be sure to check the MORC website for trail conditions.

 

Yeah its Friday time for another adventure photo was taken in Minnesota along the Mississippi River Trail.

Bike Pic July 21, Yeah Its Friday Time For Another Adventure!

Now that it’s Friday, it’s time to ride off for a weekend of fun on that next bike adventure. As these cyclists and their kids demonstrate, why not consider a bike touring weekend around Shoreview with all the celebrations going on?

What better way to start your Summer and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the latest Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Yeah Its Friday’ Pic of the Day  

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

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: [email protected]. 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 use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo apperance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic’s of the Day.

Have a great day!

Visiting Ham Lake with plenty of bike-friendly roads and trails to enjoy.

Summer Or Winter Ham Lake Is A Perfect Place To Visit

by Andrew Ellis

Ham Lake is one of my favorite places to stay when visiting and biking in the twin Cities Gateway Area. Getting around from here it is easy on my bike for summer fun and winter fat biking. It’s almost like there is a bike-friendly road wherever you go with wide paved shoulders That makes it easy to connect to the Gateway’s vast network of trails. It’s great place to stay when you want to get out of the confines of your hotel room and explore. Only a few miles from all the other area attraction in the Twin Cities Gateway, Ham Lake offer several opportunities to check out when not exploring the trails and roads here. 

Willow Tree Winery

Not only do Minnesotan’s brew their beer, but they also make their own wine. Here in Ham Lake you can get a taste of the local wine at a small winery in the spacious farmland of Ham Lake. At Willow Tree Winery you’re free to roam almostw anywhere you choose. You can walk among the small vineyard that you’ll be able to see from the road, and if the vines looks a little bare that’s because all of the bottling is done in the early fall. There plenty of places to sit down and relax while you sip from the local creations. You can also step inside the small tasting room that has wine bottles stacked and lining the walls, a couple tables, TVs, and small counter where the owner usually sits. It’s not a bad place to enjoy before you start riding again.

More Fun Activities In Ham Lake

Bike a half hour south and you’ll find many options including nine holes of disc golf at Bunker Hills Regional Park. You can also ride a little over a half hour north for more disc golf at Blue Ribbon Pines Disc Golf Course in East Bethel. And if you’re looking to try and bowl a perfect game check out Ham Lakes Lanes & Lounge that also features an arcade and food.

A few minutes away from Ham Lake is the Blue Ribbon Pines Disc Golf Course.

A few minutes away from Ham Lake is the Blue Ribbon Pines Disc Golf Course.

T-Box Bar & Grill

At some point you’ll need fuel and T-Box Bar & Grill has plenty to satisfy your appetite. It’ got everything from wings and salmon to pizza and spaghetti. They even have a great wine and beer section to choose from as well as scotch, whiskey, and bourbon.

Ham Lake Snow Bowl

If you’re around in February, make sure to come by for the annual Ham Lake Snow Bowl on February 10th. It includes a scavenger hunt, ice fishing, local crafts and food, a sliding hill, and more.

Bring your fat bike, or rent one and come to the Annual Ham Lake Snow Bowl on February 10, 2018

Bring your fat bike, or rent one and come to the Annual Ham Lake Snow Bowl

So come and discovering the amenities in Ham Lake for your #nextbikeadventure in the Twin Cities Gateway.

Biking Around Lino Lakes Is A Short Trip North For Fun

by Andrew Ellis

When you’re in Lino Lakes it can feel like you’re smack dab in the middle of northern Minnesota. You’re pedaling down wide open roads that take you by lakes, farmland and scenery that can meet you with the horizon. Where roads with no shoulder offer trails or sidewalks that parallel the street to connect you to the vast Twin Cities Gateway trail system for your #nextbikeadventure. Enjoy the many options, including the Blue Heron Celebration in August, when visiting Lino Lakes:

Riding around Lino Lakes which has the second largest Blue Heron rookery in the state.

Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Park Reserve

Easy to get to by bike from your hotel, an entire day here won’t be enough. The Park Reserve here offers seven lakes to make for an outdoor enthusiast feel like they are in heaven. Riding or hiking the trails around these lakes, amongst the prairies landscapes offers plenty of opportunities to get you in touch with natural. When not riding, you can also rent a canoe or kayak to paddle through the chain of lakes.

Wargo Nature Center

On your venture in Lino Lakes your first stop could be the Wargo Nature Center, which has plenty of programs for kids throughout the summer. After you ride down the scenic driveway, park your bike at the fish-shaped bike rack, next to the parking lot. Inside the visitors center take a look at the mapped hiking and biking routes. You can also rent a canoe here or view all the local critters that have been preserved and on display on the walls and shelves.

Another birding hotspot is in some of the open meadows that paved bike paths pass through the par

Another birding hotspot is in some of the open meadows that paved bike paths pass through the park.

Walk outside and you’ll see three entry ways to connecting trails that are mostly natural surface. The trails are very well maintained and wide enough to walk two abreast and pass others walking by. As you hike along you will be surrounded by the sounds and sights of nature. Along the trails you will see many kinds of trees and plants with plenty of birds chirping. You may even be lucky enough to see a little red fox ahead of you crossing the walkway.

There are also plenty of hand-drawn signs throughout the area that tell you more about the area and Minnesota’s natural history dating back to before the Ice Age. You can even step up and look out into wetlands at a couple dock stations along the shoreline. If you want to explore the wetlands more, you can check out a canoe or kayak back at the visitors center.

Blue Heron Rookery

Egrets and blue heron are also a common to see as you paddle along.

Egrets and blue heron are also a common to see as you paddle along.

A highlight to visiting this area of the Twin Cities Gateway is the Blue Heron Rookery. It’s the second largest heron rookery in the state, however it isn’t the exactly easiest to get to or see. You can catch glimpses of the island if you drive by some of the lake houses on the other side of the lake, or you use a canoe or kayak to get close to it. There is a no wake zone by the island, but you should be able to get a nice view of the island using field glasses or a zoom lens on your camera. For more information on the Peltier Island heron colony, visit the Facebook page.

Relax on the Beach, Swim, Bike, and More

You can also visit the main beach on Centerville Lake and go for a swim or just relax and let those rays give you a nice tan. There is also a little playground for kids, a beach volleyball area, and picnic tables here. You will also find plenty of paved trails leading in and out of here to help you get around the area, and one of them even leads to Chonomax Golf Course. The different lakes also have various public access points for fishing and boat launches.

HammerHeart Brewery

Stopping at the HammerHeart Brewery in Lino Lakes is always refreshing after a ride.

Whether you’re looking for a mid-day break or want to relax after a long day of exploring, there is nothing better than an ice cold beer at the Brewery here. Even better, the brews here are locally crafted and inspired by Norse and Celtic history, love, old world traditions. If you’re lucky enough to stop by on a Saturday there’s a good chance you’ll be able to get food from one of the various food truck they bring in to compliment their selection of brews.

Lino Lakes’ Blue Heron Days

Remember the Blue Heron Rockery? Well, by the middle of August the nests are all empty out on the island. However, the city of Lino Lakes who adopted the blue heron for their city logo many years ago has an annual event to celebrate the bird and its habitat. Perfect for the whole family the annual celebration features a parade, carnival, movie night, petting zoo, and more. This years event is scheduled for August 18, 19 & 20. For more information visit the city’s website about Blue Heron Days.

The celebration and parade in Lino Lakes is fun for the whole family.

The celebration and parade in Lino Lakes is fun for the whole family.

A part of Minnesota’s Twin Cities Gateway Community, Lino Lakes is located on the north side of Minneapolis and its easy to find your next bike adventure here.