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This bike pic Thursday, another picture-perfect day for a ride. With ideal air temps, we caught this biker chick in western Minnesota, near Willmar, enjoying the wildflowers on her ride.
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.
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Now rolling through our 18th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, we aim to encourage more people to bike and have fun while highlighting all the unforgettable places you can 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.
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As we continue encouraging 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 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!
Are you looking for a fun spring outing with endless bird-bike sighting opportunities for the family or a getaway for yourself? Consider planning a trip to the Willmar Lakes Area. Head west out of the Twin Cities, and before you know it, you will be greeted by small-town charm and a sprawling countryside full of birding opportunities. It may seem like just another rural prairie community to the naked eye, but head out on your bike with the binoculars, and the area offers many birding haunts. Along this central migrating flyway, you can spot many species from the Minnesota Prairie Bird List that nest in the area.
As the trees begin to bud and marshes come alive along the trails and roads in Kandiyohi County, birders and cyclists will find a special place to visit.
A perfect spring bike-bird location in western Minnesota
The Willmar Lakes Area is the ideal bike getaway to visit any time of the year.
Species to check off your list when bike-bird opportunities arise in the Willmar Area
Besides the Red Crossbill 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 than encouraging. Awarded the Bike Friendly Bronze status by the League of American Cyclists, the community has redesigned its streets and inner-city trails to make it easy to pedal around and explore the area’s attractions and parks.
Getting around Willmar with your bike and binoculars
While biking, this is also an excellent area for bird enthusiasts. Sibley State Park is one of the most popular areas, so 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 migrate through the area. And with the Glacial Trail, it’s 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 path is paved for 22 miles between Willmar, Spicer, New London, Hawick, and the Kandiyohi/Stearns County line. This multi-use bike corridor offers many opportunities to look at wildflowers and wildlife along the way—a perfect route to get out to Sibley State Park and Mount Tom.
Bring the binoculars along for some bird sittings along the trail!
Sibley State Park and Mount Tom
Once you get to the state park, hike up Mount Tom. It’s worth the walk and will give you a birds-eye view of the area. At the summit, on a clear day, enjoy an eyeshot of forest, farmland, prairie knolls, and lakes in a patchwork setting. Along with prime birding activities in the park, they offer several interpretive programs throughout the year.
You will find nearly two miles of paved trails that link Lakeview Campground and the Interpretive Center in the park. Another favorite haunt with a slight elevation change is the Pond View Trail loop, which offers more birding opportunities.
Other parks and trails
Enjoy the miles of scenic paved trails in the prairie lands of the Willmar Lakes Area.
There are also plenty of bike-friendly Kandiyohi County roads, paved and gravel, 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
When you 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, after your ride, enjoy a refreshing beverage or snack as you take a break from the outdoor activities in this scenic prairie lakes area.
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 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
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.