Tag Archives: Willmar MN

As a family, a group of friends or on your own bike-bird opportunities in the Willmar Lakes Area are endless.

Family fun spring bike-bird opportunities in the Willmar Lakes Area

As a family, a group of friends or on your own discover the endless bike-bird opportunities in the Willmar Lakes Area.  Head west out of the Twin Cities and before you know it you will be greeted to small town charm and a sprawling countryside full of birding opportunities. To the naked eye it may seem like just another rural prairie community, but head out on a bike with your binoculars and the area presents its many birding haunts. Here along this major migrating flyway you are sure to spot many species from the Minnesota Prairie Bird List, that nest in the area.

Now, as warmer weather soon approaches the trees and marshes along the trails and roads here become a special place to visit. Allowing birders and cyclists plenty of great outdoor space, in Kandiyohi County, for biking and birding.

A perfect spring bike-bird location in western Minnesota

The Willmar Lakes Area is the perfect place to visit anytime of the year for a weekend bike getaway.

The Willmar Lakes Area is the perfect bike getaway to visit anytime of the year.

Species to check off your list when bike-bird opportunities arise in the Willmar Area

Besides the Red Crossbill that has been sighted around the MinnWest Technology Campus, in Willmar, many parks here along the trail are also worth checking out. Some of the great birding haunts in the area include ; Sibley State Park, Mason Lake State Park, the Prairiewood Environmental Learning Center and a couple of Big Kandiyohi Lake County Parks, easily accessible from the Glacial Lake State Trail. When visiting here are some of the other birds you may see to check off your list: the Short-eared Owl; Townsend’s Solitaire; Long-eared Owl; Black-throated Green Warbler; Connecticut Warbler; Snowy Egret; Common Gallinule; Blue Grosbeak; Eastern Screech-Owl; White-winged Crossbill and a Long-tailed Duck.

Getting around on your bike in Willmar is more then encouraging. Awarded the Bike Friendly Bronze status by the League of American Cyclist, the community has redesigned its streets and inner city trails to make it easy to pedal around and explore the areas attractions and parks.

Getting around Willmar with your bike and binaculars

While biking, this is also a great area for bird enthusiasts. Sibley State Park is one of the most popular area, so make sure you bring your binoculars and camera. Around the park you will have a chance to see many of the 206 different species of birds that nest or migrated through the area. And with the Glacial Trail its easy to get out to the park, by bike, from your hotel room in the Willmar Lakes Area.

About the Glacial Lakes State Trail

Built on a former Burlington Northern railroad line the trail is generally level and wheelchair accessible. The trail is paved for 22 miles between Willmar, Spicer, New London, Hawick, and the Kandiyohi/Stearns County line. Ths multi-use bike corridor offers many opportunities to look at wild flowers and wildlife along the way.

Bring the binoculars along, for some of the birds sittings along the trail you may see!

Bring the binoculars along, for some birds sittings along the trail!

Sibley State Park and Mount Tom

Once you get there, hike up Mount Tom. Its worth the walk and will give you a bird-eye view, of a 50-mile radius at the summit, of the areas patchwork of forest, farmland, prairie knolls and lakes. Along with prime birding activities here with an interpretive programs is also open year-around.

In the park you will find nearly two miles of paved trails that links Lakeview Campground and the Interpretive Center. With a slight elevation change another favorite haunt is the Pond View Trail loop offering more birding opportunities.

Other parks and trails

Enjoy the miles of scenic paved trails in the prairie lands of the Willmar Lakes Area.

Enjoy the miles of scenic paved trails in the prairie lands of the Willmar Lakes Area.

Willmar and the surrounding area makes it easy for everyone to enjoy the outdoors. With several parks offering recreational activities and trails, those who visit with their bike will find many haunts to pedal to, including: Bergquist Park, Ramblewood Park, Rau Park (Scott Park), Thompson Park, and Swansson Park. You can also take on the trails at Robbins Island Park and Green Lake

Road bike-bird opportunities

There are also plenty of bike friendly Kandiyohi County roads to help you navigate the area to reach other marshy areas popular with several bird species here.

More about the bike-friendly Willmar Lakes Area

Willmar also has the Yellow Bike program that places bikes at different spots throughout town. Community members and visitors can use these bikes free of charge during the day.

When your are not riding, the area also offers plenty of indoor attractions when you want to relax. Along with several museums covering different parts of Minnesota’s history, Then, after your ride enjoy a refreshing beverage as you take a break from the outdoor activities in this scenic prairie lakes area.

Bike Friendly Willmar now offers a fleet of yellow bikes

The picturesque Glacial State Trail, rolling into the city of Willmar, has now been enhanced with a series of bike friendly routes on city streets and trails. Another key factor worth mentioning is its fleet of yellow bikes. With several improvements over the last couple years, this spring, the city was awarded the Bronze Bike Friendly Community Award from the League of American Bicyclist (LAB).

Bike Friendly Willmar a fun and safe place to Live and visit

According to an article published by the Bicycle Aliance of Minnesota (BikeMN), over the past seven years the city and its local advocacy group, ‘Willmar Bikes’, has upped their game in every aspect of bicycling.

Here Dorian Grilley, Director of the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota and Steve Brisendine, Director of Community Education and Recreation for the City of Willmar celebrate Willmar being a bike friendly city by the League of American Bicyclists.

Here Dorian Grilley, Director of the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota and Steve Brisendine, Director of Community Education and Recreation for the City of Willmar celebrate being a bike friendly city by the League of American Bicyclists.

The community is now home to a small fleet of yellow-painted cycles for free public use. It hosts an annual Mayor’s Bike Ride. It works to connect low-income youth with an earn-a-bike programs. The community is also planning a bike route connection between a new development and a school being built. Also, they support bike trail maintenance. Residence and visitors alike can now enjoy the countryside trails that connect to many of the city’s streets and inter-city trails, making the community a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC).

In the northern part of Minnesota, Cloquet was was given an Honorable Mention this spring for its work toward bicycle friendliness.

Riding the trail in the countryside as it connects to trails and safe street routs in Willmar, MN. photo Steve-Brisendine

Riding the trail in the countryside as it connects to trails and safe street routs in Willmar, MN. photo Steve-Brisendine

BFC recognition is a nationally recognized thumbs-up. The program is administered by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB). LAB commends towns, cities, counties, and metropolitan areas for taking concrete steps toward making bicycling more safe, more visible, and more fun in their communities. In Minnesota, there are more than two million residents who live in Bike Freindly Communities in the state. This exciting initiatives is making more communities safer for visitors as well as those who live in the stare.

Learn more about Bike Friendly Willmar and the fun you can have staying and playing here.