MN Biking Guide 2013-2014 : Page 9

SPECIAL SPONSORED SECTION prairie along the mostly straight, mostly flat Sakatah (pronounced Sah-KAH-tah) Singing Hills State Trail (Sakatah is the Dakota word for “Singing Hills.”) The trail runs through a landscape of farmland, river crossings, lakes, wetlands, and woods, with trees shading most of the corridor. One of the trail’s anchor towns, Faribault, consists of beautiful old storefronts, antique shops, and restaurants. The Faribault Woolen Mill Company is a popular stop here. The trail passes right through Sakatah Lake State Park and a mid-point trail center with restrooms and water. In the other anchor town of Mankato, the trail runs near the Minnesota River, linking up with the Minnesota River Trail, which leads to the Red Jacket Trail. For more info: Call 507-359-6067; mndnr.gov/trails. Map online. CENTRAL MINNESOTA *See also the Paul Bunyan State Trail under Northwest; it extends into the Central region. BIKE WADENA! • Family-friendly paved paths • Challenging mountain bike trails • Variety of skill levels Central Lakes State Trail Shooting Star State Trail Location: Between LeRoy and Rose Creek, southeast of Austin Distance: 20 paved miles Description: This trail, named for a prairie flower, travels the same area as the Shooting Star Scenic Byway. Both offer an opportunity to experience rural Minnesota. Tiny Taopi has fewer than 100 residents; LeRoy under 1,000. The trail passes through quiet Lake Louise State Park, with a picnic area and swimming beach on the old millpond. At Taopi, you can walk across Highway 56 to a kiosk that offers prairie information, and stroll along a mowed path through tall prairie grasses. Colorful prairie flowers bloom in late summer and early fall. For more info: 507-285-7176; mndnr.gov/trails. Map online. Location: Between Fergus Falls and Osakis Distance: 55 paved miles Description: Wildflowers, prairie grass, open fields, rolling hills, wetland ponds, and wildlife are part of the scenery on the Central Lakes State Trail. The hilly terrain cradles dozens of lakes, and red barns and emerald pastures dot the landscape. The western segment passes between wetlands, small pristine lakes, and wooded hillsides, crossing only one road between Fergus Falls and Dalton. The eastern section passes through Alexandria, but most of the remainder of the trail is fairly secluded. This trail connects to the Lake Wobegon Trail at Osakis. For more info: 218-739-7576; mndnr.gov/trails. Map online. Cuyuna Lakes State Trail Location: Between Crosby and Riverton Distance: 7 paved miles, plus short sections of paved trail in Brainerd and Aitkin Description: The trail travels mostly through the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, a park developed around former mining pits. The pits have filled with water and are now clear lakes, popular for fishing and scuba diving. For more info: 218-546-5926; mndnr.gov/trails. Map online. WADENA AREA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 1-877-631-7704 www.wadena.org www.wadenachamber.com Lake Wobegon Trail april 2013 | mnmo.com | B -9

Central Minnesota Trails

* See also the Paul Bunyan State Trail under Northwest; it extends into the Central region.<br /> <br /> Central Lakes State Trail <br /> <br /> Location: Between Fergus Falls and Osakis <br /> <br /> Distance: 55 paved miles <br /> <br /> Description: Wildflowers, prairie grass, open fields, rolling hills, wetland ponds, and wildlife are part of the scenery on the Central Lakes State Trail. The hilly terrain cradles dozens of lakes, and red barns and emerald pastures dot the landscape. The western segment passes between wetlands, small pristine lakes, and wooded hillsides, crossing only one road between Fergus Falls and Dalton. The eastern section passes through Alexandria, but most of the remainder of the trail is fairly secluded. This trail connects to the Lake Wobegon Trail at Osakis.<br /> <br /> For more info: 218-739-7576; mndnr.gov/trails. Map online.<br /> <br /> Cuyuna Lakes State Trail <br /> <br /> Location: Between Crosby and Riverton <br /> <br /> Distance: 7 paved miles, plus short sections of paved trail in Brainerd and Aitkin <br /> <br /> Description: The trail travels mostly through the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, a park developed around former mining pits. The pits have filled with water and are now clear lakes, popular for fishing and scuba diving.<br /> <br /> For more info: 218-546-5926; mndnr.gov/trails. Map online.<br /> <br /> Glacial Lakes State Trail <br /> <br /> Location: Between Willmar and Paynesville <br /> <br /> Distance: 27 paved miles <br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> For more info: 320-796-6281; mndnr.gov/trails. Map online.<br /> <br /> Lake Wobegon Trail <br /> <br /> Location: Between St. Joseph and Osakis, with a spur north from Albany <br /> <br /> Distance: 62 paved miles <br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> At Osakis, the Lake Wobegon Trail links to the Central Lakes Trail.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> For more information: 800-264-2940; lakewobegontrails.com. Map online.<br /> <br /> Mille Lacs Soo Line Trail <br /> <br /> Location: Between Onamia and Isle, south of Mille Lacs Lake <br /> <br /> Distance: 11 paved miles <br /> <br /> 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).<br /> <br /> Learn about the park’s history at the interpretive center. The trail connects with the Soo Line bridge over Highway 169.<br /> <br /> For more info: 888-350-2692; www.millelacs.com.

Wadena Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

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