Take a ride on Minnesota’s State Bike Trails
Like a lot of kids growing up in the eighties, I didn’t wear a bike helmet. And I didn’t think much about it until I started riding through the city with my own children. I decided to invest in one for myself after having one too many close calls with the drivers on our roads today. Let’s face it; there’s a lot of distracted drivers out there! That’s why I have fallen in love with the bike trails of Minnesota. I love being able to bike with friends or family on a beautiful, peaceful, bike trail free from the stress of vehicle traffic.
Here in Minnesota, we have around 4,000 miles of paved bike trails! They traverse through the beauty of the southern prairie, pass over rolling hills and rural landscapes, journey through the majestic northern forests, and skirt around our glistening lakes. Heading onto a bike trail with your family is a great way to reconnect with nature and discover some of Minnesota’s coolest small towns.
Minnesota’s State Bike Trails
If you are looking for a new bike trail to explore, check out one of Minnesota’s State Bike Trails. Here’s a list of links to get you started!
(All miles shown represent paved trails!)
Blazing Star State Trail (6 miles)- Connects Albert Lea to Myre–Big Island State Park in southern Minnesota.
Brown Creek State Trail (6 miles)- Connects the Gateway State Trail (from St. Paul) to Stillwater in central Minnesota.
Casey Jones State Trail (11 miles)- A partially developed trail in southwestern Minnesota. There are two paved sections. One five mile stretch starts in Pipestone and ends at County Road 16. The other completed paved trail is a six-mile loop between Lake Shetek State Park and the city of Currie.
Central Lakes State Trail (55 miles)- Connects Fergus Falls to Osakis in west central Minnesota. The trail also connects to the regional Lake Wobegon Trail for an additional 46 miles of bituminous surfaced trail.
Cuyuna Lakes State Trail (9 miles)- Connects Crosby to Riverton and travels through the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area in central Minnesota, just east of Brainerd.
Douglas State Trail (13 miles)- Connects Pine Island to Rochester in southeastern Minnesota.
Gateway State Trail (19 miles)- Connects St. Paul to the Brown Creek State Trail, which leads to Stillwater in central Minnesota.
Gitchi-Gami State Trail (30 miles)- So far 30 miles are complete of this proposed 89-mile trail that will connect Two Harbors with Grand Marias along Minnesota’s North Shore. There are five segments of the trail. See the DNR website for details on their locations.
Glacial Lakes State Trail (30 miles)- Runs from Wilmar to one mile west of Paynesville. in central Minnesota.
Goodhue Pioneer State Trail (9.5 miles)- This trail will eventually connect Redwing with Pine Island in southeastern Minnesota. Two segments of the trail are completed. A four-mile segment connects Redwing to Hayfield. The second segment of 5.5 miles begins in Zumbrota and heads north, ending in the country.
Great River Ridge State Trail (13 miles)- Runs south from Plainview and ends just north of Eyota in southeastern Minnesota.
Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail (18 miles)- Connects Harmony to Preston in southeastern Minnesota. It also connects to the Root River State Trail, for an additional 42 miles of paved trail.
Heartland State Trail (49 miles)- Connects Park Rapids to Cass Lake in northern Minnesota. It also connects with the Paul Bunyan State Trail by Walker, which runs an additional 115 miles.
Luce Line State Trail (21 miles)- The paved portion of this trail in central Minnesota runs from Winsted to Hutchinson. In total, this trail runs 63 miles, with several different surface types and connects Plymouth to Cosmos. See the Minnesota DNR website for more details regarding the surface types.
Mill Towns State Trail (6 miles)-Eventually, this southern Minnesota trail will connect the Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail in Faribault with the regional Cannon Valley Trail in Cannon Falls. There are three sections that have been built. The first section can be found in Faribault. It is a mile in length but also connects to several miles of city trails. The second section connects Dundas to Northfield. The third section connects Lake Byllesby Park to Cannon Falls.
Minnesota Valley State Trail (6 miles)- Connects Shakopee to Chaska in central Minnesota.
Paul Bunyan State Trail (120 miles)- The longest bike trail in Minnesota. This trail runs from Bemidji to Crow Wing State Park just south of Brainerd in north central Minnesota. It also connects to the Heartland State Trail for an additional 49 miles of paved trail.
Root River State Trail (42 miles)- Connects Fountain to Houston in southeastern Minnesota. It also connects to the Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail for an additional 18 miles of paved trail.
Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail (39 miles) Connects Faribault to Mankato in Southern Minnesota.
Shooting Star State Trail (20 miles)- connects Leroy to Rose Creek in southeastern Minnesota.
Taconite State Trail (6 miles)- While this northern Minnesota trail runs from Grand Rapids to Ely and totals 165 miles, only the first six miles from Grand Rapids are paved.
Willard Munger State Trail (76 miles)- Connects Hinkley to Duluth in northeastern Minnesota.
There are several other long, paved trails in Minnesota including regional trails like the Cannon Valley Trail or the Mesabi Trail. Plus there are miles and miles of city bike trails across the state. I’ll tackle those in a future post.
Until then, Happy Travels!