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. Check out several bike trails in the north suburbs of the Twin Cities Gateway this spring and summer. While ground-truthing the maps in the latest MN Bike/Hike Guide, we noticed many birding haunts in the community of Shoreview, MN. And a fun bike-friendly destination that you may want to add to your True North list of places to explore.

An area once inhabited by Dakota and Ojibwe tribes, today the Shoreview community has many parks along its lakes with bike trails. These parks provide both residents and visitors a place to enjoy bird watching. Areas 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 warmer weather will soon be upon us, many bird nesting sites can be found in the Victoria Valley Orchard’s apple trees. This is a good place to spot many seasonal birds and hawks. Like many groves around the country, orchards are rich in nesting habitat as the birds 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 for apples, they are only open from early September through mid-November if you would like to buy some of the 19 varieties they grow there. 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 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. 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 next two 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. Here, the forest area 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 are 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 deepwater cattail marsh with floating mats, on both the east and west shorelines of the lake, patches of oak can be found. There is a mixture of swamp shrubs and grasslands that are prevalent on the north side of the park. 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, and many sparrow species stopover here during their return 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. The 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 both the Shoreview Bike Map and 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 options can be found on the Ramsey County Maps.

Ride your bike to some disc golf fun in the Twin Cities Gateway

Devin Ulmen, HaveFunBiking.com

With spring around the corner, for those that love disc golf or are eager to learn, you will find your next fun-filled game at one of the many courses in the Twin Cities Gateway. All are easy to access from the bike-friendly roads and trails in the area. Throughout the nine cities of the Gateway, there are many different options to find a disc golf course for you to enjoy. So, grab your disk bag and bike over to one of these electrifying courses for a fun round or two.

Disc Golf Fun at Lochness Park

Here in Lochness Park, on the east side of Blaine MN test your skill level.

Here in Lochness Park, the course will test your skill level on the east side of Blaine, MN.

Lochness Park, on the east side of Blaine, MN (map location), is praised as the longest nine-hole course in the region and meets the challenge for all that play it. Trees surround several holes here to give it a countryside feel. The course provides three different tee-offs for professional, intermediate, and beginning-level players. So, whether you are a serious player or play just for leisure, this park is perfect for you. 

The Abundant Life Church course is another choice for Disc Golf in Blaine.

Silver View Park

Silver View disc golf course here in Mounds View (map location) is in excellent condition and runs parallel along the Mississippi River Trail (MRT). Another popular place to play in the Twin Cities Gateway. The course provides a variety of holes that range from wide open to hilly, with a couple tucked into the woods with walking paths that lead to them. Next time you’re out biking along the MRT, add some disc golf into your adventure.

Ham Lake Disc Golf Course

When up in the Ham Lake Area, the disc golf park is the perfect stop for you. As one of the very few 18 hole courses in the area, the layout creates a fun and exciting flow. The distances of the holes vary, keeping you on your toes to ensure every throw is a strategic one. It has to be if you want to keep your count down. And, with the Tee Pads here, it is easy to follow, and you can focus more on your game. 

Another option in Ham Lake is the Family of Christ Disc Golf Course.

More Disc Golf Fun Courses in the Gateway

In Fridley

Fridley High School
Fridley Middle School DGC

In New Brighton

Hansen Park

See more information and terms on this growing sport at the Disc Golf Association.

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 04, yeah its Friday warmer weather for the weekend

This Bike Pic Friday, with several inches of snow to cover the ice on the trail, bundle up in layers this weekend and have some fat bike fun.

Get into the zone when continuing your time outdoors and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations. And now, check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing our latest bike pic  

Now rolling through our 18th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, our goal is 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 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 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 pic was shot? 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 13th year of producing this handy 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 appearance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic of the Day.

Have a great day with a safe, and memorable year ahead!

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 02, 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, the adrenaline high?

Get into the zone when continuing your time outdoors and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations. And now, check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing our latest bike pic  

Now rolling through our 18th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, our goal is 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 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 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 pic was shot? 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 13th year of producing this handy 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 appearance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic of the Day.

Have a great day with a safe, and memorable year ahead!

Pedal, then Paddle Gateway's Rice Creek Chain of Lakes with canoe and kayak rentals at the Wargo Nature Center.

Pedal, then Paddle the TC Gateways Rice Creek Chain of Lakes

For a wildlife-rich summer, experience not soon forgotten, pedal, then paddle, the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes up in the Twin Cities Gateway Area. With an abundance of bike trails and roads to get there, you will find several options at Wargo Nature Center once arriving. Head out with a paddle, hike, or bike the trails that meander around the chain of lakes shoreline in this mammoth park reserve in the Twin City Area.

Paddling the Twin Cities Gateway's Rice Creek Chain of Lakes is a wildlife-rich experience to remember.

Paddling the Twin Cities Gateway’s Rice Creek Chain of Lakes is a wildlife-rich experience to remember.

You will find the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes near the community of Lino Lakes, on the south side of Interstate 35W. Once there, Nature Center can fix you up with canoe and kayak rentals to paddle Rice Creek Chain of Lakes. It is a bit of heaven in the north metro area. Being able to paddle out from the Nature Center on George Watch Lake is a tranquil experience.

What You Will See Paddling the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes

Through the summer and into the fall, you can paddle out from the dock at the Nature Center and connect to one lake after the next. Along the way, you are sure to see occasional Leopard frogs hopping off a Lilly pad. Then, perhaps you’ll ever see a Blue Heron and Snowy White Egrets lift off as you pass by.

Hawks are common spectators to the activities as you paddle along the water trail or pedal along the bike trail in the Rice Creek Reserve.

Hawks are familiar spectators watching as you paddle along the water trail or the bike trail in the Reserve.

The creek and lakes on this water trail offer excellent bird-watching opportunities. And this is the perfect place for the novice paddler. Adventurers will see plenty of raptors such as egrets and herons perching in nearby trees or forage along the shoreline. Along the way, you may see a sandpiper scampered across a sandbar.

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

Egrets and Blue Heron are common to see as you paddle.

Maybe you’ll see a  soft-shell turtle sliding off the bank. Or perhaps an eagle, osprey, or Turkey Vulture swooping down to grab its meal as a fish jumps. It’s scenic and wild at its best, right here in the Twin Cities Gateway!

 

About the Rice Creek Chain

The nearly 5,300-acre Rice Creek Chain is one of two regional parks in the Twin Cities Area that offer multiple-lake paddling. According to many who paddle this north metro chain, the mix of lake and forest vegetation makes it feel like a mini-Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The other Reserve in the south metro is Lebanon Hills Park. Lebanon Hills Park is a 2,000-acre multi-lake area with only portage paths between them.

Generally, on the Rice Creek Chain, portaging is not necessary. The only exception is the occasional downed tree to circumvent, which usually happens in the spring. This rustic North Metro reserve has a water trail wandering through several lakes before reaching Rice Creek. Rice Creek is a more challenging, less-traveled stretch that flows south to Long Lake. From there, it heads to the Mississippi River.

Paddlers who want a more extended trip can follow Rice Creek out the northwest corner of Long Lake in New Brighton. The creek flows to the Mississippi River at Manomin Park in Fridley. The complete paddle from the Lake Peltier boat ramp in the Rice Creek Reserve to the Mississippi River is about 22 miles.

Rice Creek Reserve rents equipment

Wargo Nature Center is the place for canoe, kayak, and life jacket rentals. Located on George Watch Lake, rentals can also be used on Peltier, Marshan, Rice, and Reshanau Lakes. Paddle craft rentals are available May through September, during regular hours. Here is their website for rental prices and times: https://www.anokacounty.us/874/Recreational-Rental-Equipment. Call 651-429-8007 to check watercraft availability, lake temperatures, and water levels.

For those who want to use their canoes or kayaks in the Reserve, paddling access points include Rice Creek crossings near: Hodgson Road, Lexington Avenue, County Road I, and County Road J.

In the winter, the Wargo Nature Center rents snowshoes for those who want to explore the park in a colder season.

Anoka, a fun place for a fall trail ride especially around Halloween

Here you will find many fall trail ride options rolling in and around the city of Anoka, see the video. The charm of this riverfront community is everywhere that you turn, especially in the fall. One of nine towns of the Twin Cities Gateway, Anoka is the Halloween Capital of the World and offers a vast network of bike-friendly roads and trails. A perfect place to start your ride is the park alongside the confluence of the Rum River as it meets the Mississippi River. Here it’s easy to explore with your bicycle. To discover Anoka’s history and attractions in the historic 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 in the Twin Cities Gateway.

 

 

 

A fall trail ride especially around Halloween is fun

Along with the many paved trails to ride in the area, the history and Holloween decor are 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.

Each October, planning a fall trail  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 event here is the Anoka Halloween celebrations where you will find spooktacular events, late 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.

Area trail to explore any time of the year

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 here 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.

Expand your options with a multi-modal tour

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 or below 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.

Then, when you arrive check out some of the dining establishments there to fuel your body before or after your ride. Here are a couple of my favorites before, after or in between a ride.

Hans’ Bakery

The bike ride to Hans’ Bakery, about a mile 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 as you step through the door it’s like you have been sent back to a simpler time with a menu tasty items are on a chalkboard. The only modern amenity they have is an I-tablet to ring you up if you select to pay by credit card.

With many specialties, another well-known favorite is the Texas Donut. The name speaks for itself and comes in a couple of different versions. No political jokes here, but it is 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, your selection 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, mid-summer, the Anoka Heritage Home & Garden tour will take you on a very memorable journey covering Anoka’s history. A time when the gardens are in their prime. For a fall visit, ride your bike south of the downtown area into the historic Slabtown, Whiskey Flats, Swede Town, or Fireman’s Grove neighborhoods. Many homes in the area are decorated with Halloween decor swing by the Ticknor Hill Bed and Breakfast, on the National Registry of Historic Places. Then the Woodbury House 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.

So come and discover Anoka’s history, food, and bike-friendly attributes for your next adventure. You will find plenty of lodging opportunities in the Twin Cities Gateway to make your stay memorable.

by Russ Lowtian, the editor at HaveFunBiking.com

The Coon Rapids 10-mile bike loop makes it easy to connect and discover

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

Named for the turbulent Mississippi River waters at the confluence of Coon Creek, the city of Coon Rapids is a fun place to explore on a bicycle. One of the nine communities in the Twin Cities Gateway, it’s a perfect destination for a bike vacation using the Coon Rapids 10-mile bike loop. Here you will find many connections to hundreds of miles of trails. The Coon Creek Trail and the Mississippi River Trail are two greenway systems here that allow you to pedal safely throughout the area. So, if you enjoy biking along rivers and creeks, we have some ideas for you, starting with the Coon Rapids 10-mile loop.

The 10-mile bike loop is fun for all levels of riders.

The Coon Rapids 10-mile bike loop

Leaving from the outer parking lot of the Muddy Cow Restaurant or a nearby hotel, the route travels in a clockwise direction. Pulling out onto Springbrook Drive, this tour safely crosses Coon Rapids Boulevard. Once across, we suggest using the paved trail that runs parallel to the street due to heavy traffic. After crossing 85th Avenue, about two miles into the loop, consider stopping at the Springbrook Nature Center.

Many roads here offer trails that parallel for added comfort and fun.

Now pedaling along the south side of 85th Avenue, at East River Road, cross the street at the stoplight and use the sidewalk on the west side, up to 85th Lane. Here enjoy the quiet neighborhood streets that connect you to the Mississippi River Trail (MRT).  At 86th Avenue, continue straight ahead on the MRT between two residences, and the real fun begins. Then, as the trail drops into the forested vegetation along the bank of the Mississippi River, it’s a whole new experience.

The visitors center here makes a great rest stop.

Following the trail along the river to the Coon Rapids Dam, you will pass several trail T’s in the park, offering more loop options. One loop in the park circles Cenaiko Lake where you will find many people fishing for trout.

The Coon Rapids Dam and Visitors Center

At the visitor’s center at the Coon Rapids Dam, you will find more information on the area and its history. The dam is another popular fishing location and a crossing point for cyclists riding the Three Rivers Trails throughout the Twin Cities Metro.

Riding across the Coon Rapids dam always offers a refreshing mist of cool air.

Turning north to Coon Creek

Riding up Egret Boulevard, you can ride in the bike lane or use the parallel pedestrian path.

Now at the Dam, the 10-mile Loop leaves the MRT and heads north out of the park on Egret Boulevard. You can ride the designated bike lane or use the pedestrian path paralleling the street on a bike-friendly road. Continuing north after crossing Coon Rapids Boulevard, at Robinson Drive, you will find the Coon Creek Trailhead. On the trail and after crossing the creek, the 10-mile loop takes a right at the trail T. If you want to add a few miles to your ride, here is another option. To your left, the trail will take you up through the Erlandson Nature Center and, further along, connects to Bunker Hills Regional Park.

The smells, sounds, and views of nature as you pedal

Now pedaling south alongside Coon Creek, enjoy the smells, sounds, and views of nature. This stretch of the trail is a tranquil wilderness setting as you pedal along the stream through the forested canopy.  After crossing over a creek bridge one more time, pass under the railroad tracks for another option. Stop for a round of bumper boats, go-karts, or miniature golf at Lilli Putt before heading east and completing the 10-mile Loop.

Enjoying the smells, sounds, and views of nature along the trail.

The trail runs parallel along Coon Rapids Extension and Boulevard for the last few miles of the route. Back at the parking lot, or your hotel, check out nearby eating establishments and plan another bike adventure in the Twin Cities Gateway Area.

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

Bike Pic Aug 07, finding shade on your Saturday ride

With the heat picking up again you may see something of interest when rolling your bike into the shade for a break? This photo was shot as this biker dude was coming off the Mississippi River Trail, in the Twin Cities Gateway.

Get into the zone when continuing your time outdoors and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations. An now, check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing our latest bike pic  

Now rolling through our 16th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, our goal is 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 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 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 it was shot? 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 13th year of producing this handy 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 appearance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic of the Day.

Have a great day, with a safe, memorable 2021!

The scenic Anoka bike loop offers fun exploring the river history there

At the confluence of the Rum and Mississippi Rivers, discover Anoka, with fun at every turn along its scenic bike loop. With its river city charm and designated the ‘Halloween Capital of the World’ this bicycle-friendly community in Minnesota is a place to explore. Riding your bike on the scenic bike loop you will discover several river-front parks and historic neighborhoods. A part of the nine Twin Cities Gateway communities, in the north suburbs of the Twin Cities. You will find over 250-miles of connecting trails to enjoy. The perfect destination to visit with your bike.

The Anoka 10-mile bike loop is an adventure for all skill levels of riders.

The scenic Anoka bike loop

For this bike ride, we will start at the Gathering Place Bandshell along the river. It’s located on the east bank of the Rum River, a block west of Ticknor Hill Bed & Breakfast in Akin Riverside Park.

It’s fun riding parts of the Mississippi River Trail while in Anoka.

 

Traveling clockwise, the route begins by crossing over the river on the pedestrian bridge, then across Ferry Street. Now pedaling along Benton Street, you will find a picturesque lane in the Historic Whiskey Flats neighborhood, The street here is a part of the Mississippi River Trail (MRT). Soon you are on the actual trail pedaling into Mississippi River Community Park, at Kings Island.

Kings Island and park amenities

Signage along the trail as you enter Kings Island.

Arriving in the park you will find restroom facilities, a playground, and some extra trails and observation decks along the river to view nature’s settings here. On the east bank of Mighty Mississippi, the Kings Island section of the park incorporates the natural beauty of a wooded flood plain. Add to your fun by exploring the nature trails here. Along the walking paths that circles the island, view an occasional mix of wildflowers amongst riverside flora and fauna.

Up to River Bend Park on the Rum

Leaving the MRT, 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 prefer to shorten the loop to 6-mile should turn right and head east on Vista Way (see the printable Anoka Map for more details).

Back on the 10-mile loop pedaling north up to Bunker Lake Boulevard, and turn east. At the intersection of Saint Francis Boulevard (Hwy 47), you will find several rest stop options. Then, before crossing the Rum River check out River Bend Park. If you picked up a sandwich at the rest stop, this is a perfect place to stop and view the river while enjoying your lunch.

After crossing the bridge over the Rum River, another option is to stop at the Rum River Library or the Anoka Nature Preserve. Looking east, notice the trail that crosses Bunker Lake Boulevard? That trail will safely get you up in the area of the library and nature preserve.

The Anoka Nature Preserve is a 200-acre passive recreational area with low maintenance, hard-packed roads, perfect for 2-lane off-road cycling, and hiking. At the trailhead here, north of the library, you will find a playground and a restroom option. The trails in the Preserve are perfect for off-road family riding. At the riverbank to the Rum, several paths lead to wildlife observation decks.

Following the flow of the Rum River back to Anoka

Now heading south along the east bank of the Rum River, the trail offers wildlife viewing opportunities at every turn. As you get closer to the inner city of Anoka the trail merges over to the bike lane on 4th Avenue and through the historic Cutterville and Wet Flats neighborhoods. Here the 6-mile loop joins from the west and the trail route resumes along the river.

The Anoka 10-mile bike loop is fun for all ages!

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 many historic 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.

Downtown, don’t forget to stop at Two Scoops for ice cream.

Back at the Gathering Place Band Shell or your hotel checkout a nearby eating establishment and Two Scoops Ice Cream while planning another bike adventure in the Twin Cities Gateway Area.

Printable map and Q (cue)-sheet)

For individual bike maps of the nine Twin Cities Gateway Communities click here

For a turn-by-turn, Q-sheet of Anoka click here

Bike Pic July 13, Mississippi River Trail to the Twin Cities Gateway

This bike pic Tuesday, a fun experience is biking along Ol’ Man River, on the MRT, through a National Park in the Twin Cities Gateway. If you are new to the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) system, this segment of the trail offers the perfect round-the-river bike loops with a 13 and 26-mile option. A great choice for nature lovers and families alike showcasing some of the best the river has to offer.

Get into the zone when continuing your time outdoors and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations. An now, check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing our latest bike pic  

Now rolling through our 16th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, our goal is 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 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 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 it was shot? 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 13th year of producing this handy 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 appearance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic of the Day.

Have a great day, with a safe, memorable 2021!