MN Biking Guide 2013-2014 : Page 10
SPECIAL SPONSORED SECTION Glacial Lakes State Trail Location: Between Willmar and Paynesville Distance: 27 paved miles Description: From Willmar to Spicer, this trail passes pastures, fields of corn and soybeans, and ponds and wetlands full of cattails. Watch for herons and ducks. At Spicer, about midway, you can take a dip in refreshing Green Lake, featuring a big, festive beach. North of here, the trail crosses a bridge over Nest Lake and skirts to the east of New London. Don’t miss New London’s entertaining waterski shows Friday nights during the summer. From here, the trail follows Highway 23 through Hawick; a two-mile paved spur at the north end links the trail to Paynesville. For more info: 320-796-6281; mndnr.gov/trails. Map online. Lake Wobegon Trail Location: Between St. Joseph and Osakis, with a spur north from Albany Distance: 62 paved miles Description: This trail, inspired by the fictional Minnesota town in stories told by humorist Garrison Keillor in the Prairie Home Companion radio show, leads riders past farmland, lakes, and just blocks from two college campuses, two monasteries, and the Sauk Centre childhood home of Nobel Prize-winning author Sinclair Lewis. Part of the trail comes close to I-94, but most of it is far from life’s fast lane in peaceful stretches of farm country, lakes, and wetlands. At Osakis, the Lake Wobegon Trail links to the Central Lakes Trail. From Albany, a spur of the Wobegon heads north through rural countryside past Holdingford, where the trail crosses a river on a scenic covered bridge (the longest covered bridge in the state). A trail developed by Morrison County links to this northern spur of the Wobegon Trail. The paved 10 miles of the Soo Line Trail pass through the tiny village of Bowlus and crosses the Mississippi River. The Central Lakes, Wobegon, and Soo Line trails provide more than 125 continuous miles of paved bike trail–currently the longest paved rail trail in the state, and one of the longest in the country. For more information: 800-264-2940; lakewobegontrails.com. Map online. Heartland State Trail Mille Lacs Soo Line Trail Location: Between Onamia and Isle, south of Mille Lacs Lake Distance: 11 paved miles Description: Travel from Father Hennepin State Park in Isle to Kathio State Park in Onamia for a 22-mile ride along a paved trail with some low-volume highway travel. On the southeast shore of Mille Lacs Lake, at Father Hennepin State Park, enjoy a popular sandy swimming beach. From town, follow County Road 26 to Mille Lacs Kathio State Park, with a 100-foot observation tower overlooking the expansive lake (the state’s second largest inland lake). Learn about the park’s history at the interpretive center. The trail connects with the Soo Line bridge over Highway 169. For more info: 888-350-2692; www.millelacs.com. NORTHWESTERN MINNESOTA Heartland State Trail Location: Between Park Rapids and Cass Lake Distance: 49 paved miles Description: The original stretch of the Heartland State Trail between Park Rapids and Walker passes through farmland and wooded areas, near marshes and lakes. You can cool off at beaches in Akeley and Nevis, have your photo taken with the state’s biggest Paul Bunyan in Akeley, or visit restaurants and shops in the one-block village of Dorset. Much of the 20-mile section between Walker and Cass Lake parallels Highway 371 passing Leech Lake, wetlands, and a forest that changes from hardwoods to pines as you head north. B -10 | mnmo.com | april 2013
Northwestern Minnesota Trails
Heartland State Trail <br /> <br /> Location: Between Park Rapids and Cass Lake <br /> <br /> Distance: 49 paved miles <br /> <br /> Description: The original stretch of the Heartland State Trail between Park Rapids and Walker passes through farmland and wooded areas, near marshes and lakes. You can cool off at beaches in Akeley and Nevis, have your photo taken with the state’s biggest Paul Bunyan in Akeley, or visit restaurants and shops in the one-block village of Dorset. Much of the 20-mile section between Walker and Cass Lake parallels Highway 371 passing Leech Lake, wetlands, and a forest that changes from hardwoods to pines as you head north. One highlight is the old trestle bridge over Steamboat Lake. There are numerous lakeside resorts and lodging options, family-friendly attractions, and restaurants near the Heartland State Trail. The Heartland State Trail intersects with the Paul Bunyan State Trail near Walker.<br /> <br /> For more info: 218-308-2372; mndnr.gov/trails. Map online.<br /> <br /> Migizi Trail <br /> <br /> Location: Cass Lake <br /> <br /> Distance: 9 paved miles <br /> <br /> Description: This Chippewa National Forest trail forms a wide horseshoe around three sides of Pike Bay. There’s a trail parking area on the east side of the town of Cass Lake. From here, the trail follows Highway 2 on the north side of the bay before turning south into a forest of tall pines. There are rolling hills and curves along the way. At the trail’s end, follow a bike lane along a county road for a halfmile to the Heartland Trail, and bike the Heartland north for about three miles back to Cass Lake. A bike route in town will take you back to the Migizi parking lot. All together, this forms a loop of 14 miles. Migizi is the Ojibwe word for “eagle,” and there’s a good chance of seeing one soaring above the trail. *Most of the trail was closed in 2012 due to storm damage; check for updates on anticipated reopening in 2013.<br /> <br /> For more information: 218-335-8600; www.fs.fed.us/r9/chippewa. Map online.<br /> <br /> Paul Bunyan State Trail <br /> <br /> Location: Between Brainerd and Bemidji <br /> <br /> Distance: 112 paved miles from Brainerd/ Baxter to Bemidji <br /> <br /> Description: The southern end of the Paul Bunyan State Trail runs through the scenic Brainerd Lakes area, a popular destination for fishing, golfing, and resort stays. The trail passes lakes, marshes, and forests, and crosses nine rivers and streams. The southern 50 miles run through Brainerd, Baxter, Merrifield, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Jenkins, Pine River, Backus, and up through Hackensack.<br /> <br /> The part of the trail between Hackensack and the Heartland State Trail features some challenging hills. For nine miles, the trail winds and curves through the rolling hills of the Chippewa National Forest. (As an alternative to this hilly trail section, the Shingobee Connection is a six-mile bike trail that splits from the Paul Bunyan and takes riders directly into Walker; final segments of this trail should be completed by fall 2013.) The Paul Bunyan State Trail merges with the Heartland State Trail south of Walker and splits from it north of town.<br /> <br /> The northern portion of the trail passes lakes, fields, and woods and connects Walker, Benedict, Laporte, Guthrie, Nary, and Bemidji. A two-mile bike route follows Bemidji city streets, linking the trail on the north and south sides of town. The northernmost segment of the trail crosses the Mississippi River, follows the scenic shore of Lake Bemidji, and leads to Lake Bemidji State Park.<br /> <br /> For more info: 218-308-2372; mndnr.gov/trails. Map online.