Tag Archives: Twin Cities Gateway

With spring here, we wanted to share another bike/birding hotspot we have enjoyed over the years that you may want to add to your list of places to explore.

Bike/Birding hot spots in the Twin Cities Gateway area to enjoy

With spring here, we wanted to share another bike/birding hotspot we have enjoyed over the years that you may want to add to your True Noth list of places to explore. Check out several bike trails in the north suburbs of the Twin Cities Gateway this spring and summer. Ground truthing the maps in the MN Bike/Hike Guide our interests were piqued by the many birding haunts that we noticed in the community of Shoreview.

An area once inhabited by Dakota and Ojibwe tribes, today the Shoreview community has many parks along its lakes. These parks provide both residents and visitors places to enjoy bird watching. While here, from these areas alone you can spot an impressive list of songbirds, hawks, and waterfowl.

Looking for some new birding spots to explore?  The Twin Cities Gateway has you covered starting with a local apple orchard. From there, we have identified several additional birding hotspots worth checking out.

A Birding Hotspot – Victoria Valley Orchard

Another birding hotspot to see hawks is the victoia Valley Orchard, in Shoreview.

A birding hotspot to see hawks is at the Victoria Valley Orchard in Shoreview.

As Summer will soon be upon us, many of the nesting sites in the apple trees at the Victoria Valley Orchard have fulfilled their use. One task finished, they are now a good place to spot many seasonal birds and hawks. Like many of the groves around the country, the orchard here is a rich habitat for nesting birds as they forage nearby. Here are a few of the birds that have been observed here: the Baltimore Oriole, Blue-Winged Warbler, Chimney Swift, Osprey, Red-Shouldered Hawk, several species of sparrows, and the Scarlet Tanager.

Location: The Victoria Valley Orchard is located at 4304 North Victoria Street, in Shoreview, MN. You are welcome to wander the orchard throughout the year to spot the different birds that live or pass through here. Commercially they are only open from early September through mid-November if you would like to buy some of the 19 varieties of apples that they grow. For more information please visit their website at http://www.victoriavalleyorchard.com/.

A Birding Hotspot – Snail Lake

A birding hotspot can be found along most of the paved bike trails that meander through the parks in Shoreview.

A birding hotspot can be found along most of the paved bike trails that meander through the parks in Shoreview.

Another birding hotspot on our tour in Shoreview is the trail along Highway 96. This trail borders the north side of Snail Lake. One of two areas to observe the birding activity here is at the grassy area just off the trail. With a few potholes and a line of trees partially blocking the view of the lake, you may spot several varieties of warblers, if they haven’t left. Plus, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of the Red-Shouldered Hawks. A variety of other marsh birds that use this area can also be seen here.

Location: The trail location is on Highway 96 and across from the Shoreview Public Library. There is a public park at the south end of the lake for another viewing location.

Birding Hotspot – Sucker and Vadnais Lakes

Now heading further east along Highway 96, our tour of birding hotspots takes us first to Sucker Lake. Then, across County Road F, the trail takes you into Vadnais Lake’s park area. Both these lakes and the park areas are a part of the Vadnais-Snail Lakes Regional Park and are reservoirs for the St. Paul Regional Water Authority. These lakes are fairly deep and the wetlands are composed of extensive tamarack and shrub swamps with large marshy areas. The forest area here is mainly mature pine plantations with some oak woods for nesting Pine Warblers and Red-Shouldered Hawks. A variety of marsh birds use the shoreline here. Along with the fall migratory waterfowl activity of both lakes, this area is also good for migratory warblers and Red-Breasted Nuthatches.

Location: Just south of Highway 96, take the Rice St. exit from I-694 and go north. The north access and parking is east of Rice St. on Sucker Lake Road. The south entrance is east from Rice St. on County Road F, then north on Sucker Lake Road.

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

Another birding hotspot is in Grass Lake where paved bike paths pass through some of the open meadows.

Birding Hotspot – Grass Lake

Another birding hotspot in Shoreview is Grass Lake, which is also a part of the Vadnais-Snail Lakes Regional Park system. The main vegetation here is the deep water cattail marsh with floating mats. On both the east and west sides of the lake, Oak woodlands can be found. On the north side of the park, there is a mixture of swamp shrubs and grasslands that are prevalent. Here at Grass Lake is where Marsh Wrens, Osprey, and Red-Shouldered Hawks commonly nest. Common Loons are often seen in the spring and summer along with many sparrow species that stopover during their migration.

Location: Grass Lake is reached by turf and paved trails from the parking area off of Gramsie Road. The parking lot can be reached by taking the Victoria St. exit from I-694 and going north to Gramsie Rd., then east to the MacKubin Rd. intersection. Entrance is on your right.

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

A 12.5-mile Bike Loop to Shoreview’s Birding Hotspots

For those interested in riding their bicycle to the above parks described, we have identified an easy path to take to have optimal bird watching capabilities. Please download the 12.5-mile Turn-by-Turn Route to begin your bird watching journey by bike to see some of Shoreview’s birding hotspots.

More map options can be found at the Ramsey County Maps.

This Bike Pic Monday, fond memories, of riding into the morning sun with warmer weather ahead, we found this biker chick.

Bike Pic Mar 18, riding into the Monday morning sun

This Bike Pic Monday, fond memories, of riding into the morning sun with warmer weather ahead. We found this biker chick in the HFB Archives riding the Mississippi Trail in the Twin Cities Gateway Area of Minnesota, with his friends.

What better way to continue your fun, finding your #NextBikeAdventure. See all the great ideas and bike destinations in the 2019 Bike/Hike Winter Planning Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Monday’ Bike Pic  

Now rolling into our 12th 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!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post at HaveFunBiking (HFB)? If so, please send your picture(s) 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. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit at HaveFunBiking 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 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.

Watch for our spring print guides in April.

As 30-Days of Biking progresses in April, the spring 2019 Bike/Hike Guides will be available in both print and digital format. So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure.

Please share all our pic’s with your friends and us on our Facebook and Instagram. Don’t forget to smile; we may be around the next corner with our HFB camera, ready to capture you for the next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great day!

This Bike Pic Tuesday with fond summer memories a March rain is predicted to bring down the snow levels. 

Bike Pic Mar 12, fond summer memories with rain on the way

This Bike Pic Tuesday with fond summer memories a March rain is predicted to bring down the snow levels. We found this biker dude riding the Mississippi Trail in the Twin Cities Gateway Area of Minnesota, with his friends.

What better way to continue your fun, finding your #NextBikeAdventure. See all the great ideas and bike destinations in the 2019 Bike/Hike Winter Planning Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Tuesday’ Bike Pic  

Now rolling into our 12th 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!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post at HaveFunBiking (HFB)? If so, please send your picture(s) 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. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit at HaveFunBiking 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 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.

Watch for our spring print guides in April.

As 30-Days of Biking progresses in April, the spring 2019 Bike/Hike Guides will be available in both print and digital format. So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure.

Please share all our pic’s with your friends and us on our Facebook and Instagram. Don’t forget to smile; we may be around the next corner with our HFB camera, ready to capture you for the next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great day!

This Bike Pic Friday, with several inches of snow to cover the ice on the trail, having some fun. Maybe taking in a race?

Bike Pic Feb 8, yeah its Friday with plenty of snow for the weekend

This Bike Pic Friday, with several inches of snow to cover the ice on the trail, having some fun. Maybe taking in a race? Here are cyclists are warming up for the Ham Lake Snow Bowl Fat Bike Race this Saturday, 02/09/2019.

What better way to continue your fun, finding your #NextBikeAdventure. See all the great ideas and bike destinations in the 2019 Bike/Hike Winter Planning Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Friday’ Bike Pic  

Now rolling into our 12th 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!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post at HaveFunBiking (HFB)? If so, please send your picture(s) 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. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit at HaveFunBiking 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 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.

Watch for our spring print guides in April.

As 30-Days of Biking progresses in April, the spring 2019 Bike/Hike Guides will be available in both print and digital format. So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure.

Please share all our pic’s with your friends and us on our Facebook and Instagram. Don’t forget to smile; we may be around the next corner with our HFB camera, ready to capture you for the next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great day and a memorable New Year!

This Bike Pic Wheelie Wednesday, if life were a mountain bike trail and a wheelie dropped you into your sweet spot, why not take a chance.

Bike Pic Feb 6, fond memories this Wheelie Wednesday

This Bike Pic Wheelie Wednesday, take a chance! If life were a mountain bike trail and a Wheelie helped smooth out your day-to-day ride or aided you in dropping into your sweet spot, why not review the following tips to make your week, adrenaline high? Here cyclists warm up for the Ham Lake Snow Bowl Fat Bike Race this Saturday, 02/09/2019.

What better way to continue your fun, finding your #NextBikeAdventure. See all the great ideas and bike destinations in the 2019 Bike/Hike Winter Planning Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Wednesday’ Bike Pic  

Now rolling into our 12th 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!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post at HaveFunBiking (HFB)? If so, please send your picture(s) 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. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit at HaveFunBiking 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 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.

Watch for our spring print guides in April.

As 30-Days of Biking progresses in April, the spring 2019 Bike/Hike Guides will be available in both print and digital format. So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure.

Please share all our pic’s with your friends and us on our Facebook and Instagram. Don’t forget to smile; we may be around the next corner with our HFB camera, ready to capture you for the next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great day and a memorable New Year!

Finding a birding hotspot to check in Shoreview is easy with all the park and trails.

Bike/Birding hot spots in the Twin Cities Gateway to enjoy

With summer soon upon us, we wanted to share a bike/birding hotspot we discovered to add to your list of Minnesota places to explore. Checking out several bike trails in the north suburbs of the Twin Cities this summer. Ground truthing the maps in the MN Bike/Hike Guide our interests were piqued by the many birding haunts that we noticed in the community of Shoreview. An area once inhabited by Dakota and Ojibwe tribes, today this community has many parks along its lakes. These parks provide both residents and visitors places to enjoy bird watching. Why here? From these areas alone you are able to spot an impressive list of songbirds, hawks, and waterfowl. Looking for some new birding spots to explore? We’ve got you covered starting with a local apple orchard. From there, we have identified several additional birding hotspots in the Twin Cities Gateway that is worth checking out.

A Birding Hotspot – Victoria Valley Orchard

Another birding hotspot to see hawks is the victoia Valley Orchard, in Shoreview.

A birding hotspot to see hawks is at the Victoria Valley Orchard in Shoreview.

As September will soon be upon us, many of the nesting sites in the apple trees at the Victoria Valley Orchard have fulfilled their use. One task finished, they are now a good place to spot many seasonal birds and hawks. Like many of the groves around the country, the orchard here is a rich habitat for nesting birds as they forage nearby. Here are a few of the birds that have been observed here: the Baltimore Oriole, Blue-Winged Warbler, Chimney Swift, Osprey, Red-Shouldered Hawk, several species of sparrows, and the Scarlet Tanager.

Location: The Victoria Valley Orchard is located at 4304 North Victoria Street, in Shoreview, MN. You are welcome to wander the orchard throughout the year to spot the different birds that live or pass through here. Commercially they are only open from early September through mid-November if you would like to buy some of the 19 varieties of apples that they grow. For more information please visit their website at http://www.victoriavalleyorchard.com/.

A Birding Hotspot – Snail Lake

A birding hotspot can be found along most of the paved bike trails that meander through the parks in Shoreview.

A birding hotspot can be found along most of the paved bike trails that meander through the parks in Shoreview.

Another birding hotspot on our tour in Shoreview is the trail along Highway 96. This trail borders the north side of Snail Lake. One of two areas to observe the birding activity here is at the grassy area just off the trail. With a few potholes and a line of trees partially blocking the view of the lake, you may spot several varieties of warblers, if they haven’t left. Plus, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of the Red-Shouldered Hawks. A variety of other marsh birds that use this area can also be seen here.

Location: The trail location is on Highway 96 and across from the Shoreview Public Library. There is a public park at the south end of the lake for another viewing location.

Birding Hotspot – Sucker and Vadnais Lakes

Now heading further east along Highway 96, our tour of birding hotspots takes us first to Sucker Lake. Then, across County Road F, the trail takes you into Vadnais Lake’s park area. Both these lakes and the park areas are a part of the Vadnais-Snail Lakes Regional Park and are reservoirs for the St. Paul Regional Water Authority. These lakes are fairly deep and the wetlands are composed of extensive tamarack and shrub swamps with large marshy areas. The forest area here is mainly mature pine plantations with some oak woods for nesting Pine Warblers and Red-Shouldered Hawks. A variety of marsh birds use the shoreline here. Along with the fall migratory waterfowl activity of both lakes, this area is also good for migratory warblers and Red-Breasted Nuthatches.

Location: Just south of Highway 96, take the Rice St. exit from I-694 and go north. The north access and parking is east of Rice St. on Sucker Lake Road. The south entrance is east from Rice St. on County Road F, then north on Sucker Lake Road.

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

Another birding hotspot is in Grass Lake where paved bike paths pass through some of the open meadows.

Birding Hotspot – Grass Lake

Another birding hotspot in Shoreview is Grass Lake, which is also a part of the Vadnais-Snail Lakes Regional Park system. The main vegetation here is the deep water cattail marsh with floating mats. On both the east and west sides of the lake, Oak woodlands can be found. On the north side of the park, there is a mixture of swamp shrubs and grasslands that are prevalent. Here at Grass Lake is where Marsh Wrens, Osprey, and Red-Shouldered Hawks commonly nest. Common Loons are often seen in the spring and summer along with many sparrow species that stopover during their migration.

Location: Grass Lake is reached by turf and paved trails from the parking area off of Gramsie Road. The parking lot can be reached by taking the Victoria St. exit from I-694 and going north to Gramsie Rd., then east to the MacKubin Rd. intersection. Entrance is on your right.

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

A 12.5-mile Bike Loop to Shoreview’s Birding Hotspots

For those interested in riding their bicycle to the above parks described, we have identified an easy path to take to have optimal bird watching capabilities. Please download the 12.5-mile Turn-by-Turn Route to begin your bird watching journey by bike to see some of Shoreview’s birding hotspots.

More map options can be found at the Ramsey County Maps.

 

With many trails rolling in and around Anoka, I felt a welcoming charm in this relaxing community with hospitality everywhere that I turned.

Anoka is a fun place to take a fall trail ride, especially around Halloween

With many trails rolling in and around Anoka, the charm in this relaxing community is everywhere that you turn. One of nine Twin Cities Gateway communities, Anoka is the Halloween Capital of the World and offers a vast network of bike-friendly roads and trails. A perfect place to begin a ride, this river town is at the confluence of the Rum River as it flows into the Mississippi River, next to the famous trail with the same name the MRT. Making it easy to view many of the historic buildings which are near the trail and downtown Anoka.

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 in the Twin Cities Gateway.

Along with the many trails to ride, the history and Holloween decor is another reason why you should consider visiting Anoka in the fall. Stop by the local Chamber or call and ask about the festivities surrounding the week of Halloween. Then, when you arrive, check out some of the dining establishments to fuel your body before or after your ride.

Hans’ Bakery

The bike ride to Hans’ Bakery, two miles south of the downtown area will excite your sweet tooth with a delicious assortment of legendary pastries. This establishment started as a diner by German immigrants. Now step through the door and it’s like you have been sent back to a simpler time. The menu items are on a chalkboard. What they offer is presented brightly in a lit showcase window in the front. The only modern amenity they have is an I-tablet to ring you up. If you select to use a credit card to pay.

They have many specialties. One of the most well known is the Texas Donut. Its 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 the historic downtown area is a great place to stop by if you’re looking for a supreme coffee fix that is local. This establishment has everything you would want from a popular cafe too. In addition, their own unique daily sandwich options can be enjoyed with a Coke from a glass bottle, making it extra special!

Historic homes to see while visiting Anoka

Ticknor Hill Bed and Breakfast, in the Twin Cities Gateway

Each year, in mid-summer, the Anoka Heritage Home & Garden tour will take you on a very memorable journey covering Anoka’s history, when the gardens are in their prime. For a fall visit, ride your bike south of the downtown area into the historic Slabtown and Christian Hall neighborhoods. With many homes in the area decorated with Halloween decor swing by the Ticknor Hill Bed and Breakfast, on the National Registry of Historic Places. Then the Woodbury House that is home to the Mad Hatter Restaurant and Tea House. These are just a few of the historic treats that will tease you to come back in the summer and explore more of the area.

Area trail to explore

Riding the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) into Anoka.

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

Two major trails in Anoka are the Rum River Trails and the Mississippi River Trail (MRT).  Looking at the Anoka Bike Map, provided by the Twin Cities Gateway, the Rum River Trail offers a scenic view of the river and several historic artifacts as the paved trail passes through the downtown area and connects to the MRT. Along ‘Old Man River’ there are connections to the Mississippi River Trail on both sides of the river.

If you are staying in the area for a few days, consider a multi-modal tour. Board the Northstar Train, with your bike, to a station upstream along the MRT and ride your bike back. Just buy a ticket and hop on board. The train will drop you off close to the Mississippi River Trail so you have plenty of time to ride your bike back to Anoka.

Each October, planning a fall bike ride here adds to the fun

Anoka has many happenings throughout the year that you’ll definitely want to check out. But in the fall, the most memorable events is the Anoka Halloween celebration where you will find spooktacular events throughout October.

Known as the Halloween Capital of the World, the city brings out all the stops with everything from the 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 next bike adventure. You will find with plenty of lodging opportunities in the Twin Cities Gateway to make your stay comfortable.

As fall approaches and many of the migratory birds starting to gather for their departure south on the flyway, we wanted to share a few bike/birding hotspots we found in the Twin Cities Gateway.

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

As fall approaches and many of the migratory birds starting to gather for their departure south on the flyway, we wanted to share a few bike/birding hotspots we found in the Twin Cities Gateway. While ground-truthing a few bike maps in the MN Bike/Hike Guide we noticed some wildlife haunts perfect for viewing the fall migration.

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

As migratory birds start 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 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, 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 connect 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!

With the second Largest rookery in the state, bike over to Lino Lakes Blue Heron Days. The event starts on August 17th and will keep you and your family entertained for the whole weekend!

Ride your bike to and from Blue Heron Days for a good time

Emily Stocker, HaveFunBiking.

When you’re in Lino Lakes it can feel like you’re smack dab in the middle of northern Minnesota, especially when you bike to Blue Heron Days. One of eight Twin Cities Gateway communities, Lino Lakes has the second largest Blue Heron rookery in the state. While visiting you can pedal along many wide open roads and trails that take you by lakes and scenery that can meet you with the horizon. A place where roads, with no shoulder, offer trails or sidewalks that parallel the street to connect you to the vast Twin Cities Gateway trail system. Along the way enjoy the many options including the Blue Heron Celebration, August 17-19, when visiting Lino Lakes.

Bike to Blue Heron Days

Start the weekend with a free yoga session, perfect for yogis or newbies alike. After a relaxing workout, head over to Sunrise Park and catch some softball. There, the American Legion and Lino Lakes Police Department tournament will be taking place and is sure to be a great game. Afterwards, take the kids over to Lino Park with some blankets to watch Disney’s Inside Out. Finish the Friday by dancing the night away at the street dance featuring the band, A Girl’s Journey.

Saturday’s Event

The Lino Lakes Blue Heron Days Festival parade has many floats and marching bands.

The Lino Lakes Blue Heron Days Festival parade has many floats and marching bands.

Saturday, August 20th is packed full of events, making it one day you don’t want to miss. Bright and early, at 8 a.m., the day begins with Police Officer Shawn Silvera Memorial Run. Bring the kids to the YMCA at 9 a.m. for a Kids’ Fun Run and then head over to the parade at 11a.m. to enjoy music and floats. After catching and eating all that candy at the parade, jump off all of the sugar on the inflatables in Lino Park. Sit for a caricature drawing or a henna tattoo from 1 to 4 p.m. nearby. Also, take in the Business Expo, the Art Fair from noon to 4 p.m., a petting zoo, kiddie carnival, and live music by Authorities, all in Lino Park.  Saturday afternoon will keep you busy. Afterwards, another street dance closes the night with the band 8 Foot 4 jamming out for your entertainment.

Sunday’s Event

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. take a tour of Waldoch Farm’s Garden. Come on an empty stomach because they will also have a corn feed. Close out the weekend by supporting the royalty program. At 4:30 p.m. in Centennial Middle School, watch the crowning of the new Lino Lakes Ambassadors.

Get ready for a great weekend and bike over to Blue Heron Festival that runs from August 17th to the 19th.

More info for planning a trip to the Twin Cities Gateway

For bike friendly maps of the to get around the Lino Lakes and the rest of the Twin Cities Gateway click here. For lodging opportunities when visiting click here.

Mounds View is a great mix of busy and calm where you can ride your bike along creek side trails to visit festivals like the town’s 60th Annual Festival in the Park. This two-day jam-packed festival is a great way to start the end of summer vacation. 

Bike races are a big draw to the Festival in the Park, in Mounds View

Emily Stocker, HaveFunBiking.com

Mounds View is a great mix of busy and calm where you can ride your bike along creek side trails to visit festivals like the town’s 60th Annual Festival in the Park. This two-day jam-packed festival is a great way to start the end of summer vacation. Watch the fastest bike racers in the Midwest roar around Mounds View. Or give it a try yourself in the events beginner race.

It all starts on Friday, August 18th, in Twin Cities Gateway community of Mounds View, MN. where one can find such an adventure. The festival begins Friday evening with a dance and leads into Saturday with bike races, games, a parade and more music to add to your summer memories. Whether you and your family come by bike, or by car, be prepared for an exciting day.

A Fun Filled Day at the Festival in the Park

Here safety mascot’s ride in the communities fire truck bucket Festival in the Park parade.

Start your morning off on a run, literally. The Festival in the Park’s 5K race kicks off at the community center starting at 8:30 in the morning. After dashing through town, head over to the North Ball Field and see some snazzy cars. The car show is celebrating its tenth year at the festival and will be going on until 3:30 p.m. – with awards to see if your favorite car wins at 2 in the afternoon. At 10 a.m. get ready to catch some candy at the parade. Afterward, take the kids over to the Front Parking Lot to have some fun with the Fire Department activities. At 1 p.m. there will be a K9 demo in the West Ball Field.

Foot Stomping Music at the Festival

It’s your time to show off your inner star. You have about a week or so to pick your favorite hit song and warm up your vocal chords. Karaoke is on stage from 2:30 to 5 p.m. and usually has some surprises and great singers to please your ears. This year’s band is Big Toe and the Jam, which starts playing at 5:30 p.m. to entertain the masses. Apart from having a fantastic name, Big Toe and the Jam will have you stomping your feet and singing along. From “Party Rock” to “Jesse’s Girl”, you don’t want to miss this eclectic set-list everyone will love. The night ends with a bang – fireworks over City Hall Park.

Bike Rodeo and Sprint

Watch as the USA Cycling racers stir the air as they sprint by at Festival in the Park.

Watch as the USA Cycling racers sprint by the spectators, stirring the air as they dart by at the Festival in the Park.

The Mounds View Festival in the Park Sprint Races starts at Noon with the last race starting at 6:05 in the evening. The course is a rectangle with the total distance of 1.1 miles. If you are feeling extra adventurous on this particular day, as this is a USA Cycling Race, there are one-day licenses available at registration. Otherwise, it is just as fun watching the cyclists as they dart by, pedaling as fast they can. Competing or not, the race will be an adrenaline filled phenomenon.

So make plans today to head over to Mounds View on August 17 and 18th.

Plus the perfect trail to ride when in the area

Many who visit here also enjoy pedaling their bikes on the trail along the natural settings of Rice Creek.