Minnesota Wonders

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.

Discover Minnesota's State Bike Trails as 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 glistening lakes.

The Central Lakes Trail begins at Delagoon Park in Fergus Falls. This beautiful park features a campground, picnic areas, fishing pier, sand volleyball court, and a playground.

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.

Discover Minnesota's State Bike Trails as 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 glistening lakes.

Right on the Gitchi-Gami State Trail, you will find these giant Andirondack chairs in front of Cove Point Lodge in Beaver Bay, the oldest community on the North Shore.

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.

Discover Minnesota's State Bike Trails as 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 glistening lakes.

The communities of Nevis and Akeley are just six miles apart on the Heartland State Trail. In Nevis, you’ll find the World’s Largest Tiger Muskie right on the trail. Just down the road is the beautiful Halvorson Beach on Lake Belle Taine. In Akeley, you’ll find an amazing sculpture of Paul Bunyan and the Akeley Paul Bunyan Museum. Just a short walk away from the trail and Paul, you’ll find Akeley City Park, which has a great campground, playground, fishing pier, and beach on Eleventh Crow Wing Lake.

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.

Discover Minnesota's State Bike Trails as 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 glistening lakes.

Short, but diverse, the Dundas-Northfield portion of the Mill Towns State Trail passes through Sechler Park, a rural landscape, and a woodland. There is also a 1.5 mile mountain bike trail in Sechler Park.  In Dundas, check out the ruins of the Archibald Mill, which once employed 100 men before it burned down in 1892.  In Northfield, the trail connects with a city trail and heads under Highway 3. On the other side of Highway 3, you will find Lions Park, which has a playground and tennis courts. If you head south on the trail for a bit, you will find the Northfield Area Veterans Memorial Park. It’s a beautiful tribute to all who have served.

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.

Discover Minnesota's State Bike Trails as 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 glistening lakes.

The Paul Bunyan Trail in Bemidji hooks up with some city trails and goes right to Paul Bunyan and Babe. Next to the sculptures, you can find the Fireplace of the States inside the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center. Built in 1934-1935 as part of the U.S. Federal Works Program, the fireplace contains stones from every American state and each Canadian province.

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.

Discover Minnesota's State Bike Trails as 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 glistening lakes.

Here I am taking a ride on the Sakatah Singing Hills State Bike Trail. This 39 mile long paved trail connects Faribault to Mankato. Along the way, it passes through farmland and woodlands including Sakatah State Park. Our family likes to park at Dairy Queen, just off Highway 60 in Faribault and bike on the trail to Shager Park on Cannon Lake. It’s just under 3 miles to the park. There you will find a picnic shelter, swing set, and fishing pier. When we bike back to Dairy Queen, it’s ice cream for everyone!

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.

Discover Minnesota's State Bike Trails as 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 glistening lakes.

The Willard Munger State Trail in Moose Lake is located just a few blocks away from the Moose Lake Depot Museum, which features the history of the 1918 forest fires which destroyed much of Moose Lake. Moose Lake City Park, also a few blocks away, features a campground, playground, swimming beach, and picnic area.

 

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!

Minnesota Wonders


Discover Minnesota's State Bike Trails as 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 glistening lakes.

 

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