Minnesota Trails Spring 2020

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Crosby - Ironton - Deerwood - Bay Lake - Cuyuna - Emily 522 Sinclair Lewis Avenue Sauk Centre, MN 56378

www.MnTrails.com Minnesota Trails Staff Jan Lasar Editor/Publisher Joyce Frericks Accounting Brian Dingmann Page Layout & Design Graphic Design

Editorial Board Brett Feldman Executive Director Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota

Vol. 25, No. 1 March 2020 Minnesota Trails magazine is a continuation of Minnesota Bike Trails & Rides, published quarterly in cooperation with the Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota, a nonprofit organization that acquires, protects and enhances critical lands for public enjoyment. Your $35 membership subscription supports this work. Minnesota Trails is not responsible for the return of unsolicited materials and reserves the right to reject unsuitable advertising. Information in this publication is as accurate as possible. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not of Minnesota Trails.

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www.cuyunalakes.com Minnesota Trails

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Index Features



2020 MNMBS Races


Minnesota Miles


New Tofte-Lutsen Trail


Good Friends make all the Difference

Renee Hoffmann Bryan Hansel

24 If a Lake Could Speak Rudi Hargesheimer

34 Accessibility in Minnesota’s Outdoors Tom Watson

35 Gooseberry Falls State Park Rudi Hargesheimer

36 Skate Central Lakes Endurance Festival

Jan Lasar

Lisa Filter

Index photo:

Virginia Bluebells carpet the forest floor at Carley State Park in May. Rudi Hargesheimer photo

Departments 6

Parks & Trails Council News Lisa Filter

13 Mountain Bike Guide Mountain Bike Trails by Region

25 Bike Ride Guide Bike Events May-October

32 Trails Q&A

Conversations with Trail Users

38 MN Trails Map The State at a Glance

39 Trail Partners

Find Trail-Friendly Businesses

Jan Lasar

Cover photo:

Molly Hicken climbs the High Climber Trail near Lutsen on a test ride in the fall of 2019. Story on page 9. Bryan Hansel photo

Thank you! Find us on:

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Dust Off Your Mountain Bike


pring is around the corner and mountain bike trail builders are getting ready for an extraordinarily busy construction season around the state. Many existing trail systems are expanding, and some brand new ones are going to open in 2020.

Minnesota Miles in Tofte to Ski Hill Road in Lutsen. Read the full details in Bryan Hansel’s story on page 9 and let his amazing photos speak for themselves.


Harold Langowski, clerk, treasurer and operations director for the city of Ely, has seen the traditional Boundary CUYUNA Waters tourist numbers decline Jan Lasar After squeezing in a and is excited about expanding Trails Editor/Publisher refresh of the Yawkey options with a new mountain unit trails last fall, the Cuyuna Lakes bike trail system in town. Mountain Bike Crew is adding even The area around Hidden Valley more miles to the existing 30-mile Chalet is better known for its ski trails, system. According to their Facebook but after a push from the local ski club, page, the Cuyuna Conveyor will be a lots of fundraising and a tremendous 3.25-mile, easy-rated link between the outpouring of support from locals, the Yawkey unit and the city of Cuyuna, city completed a one-half mile mountain groomed for fat bikes in the winter. bike skills loop there, with great reviews. The Cuyuna Cruser will be a totally new “It was a good springboard into our experience with its own trailhead. This efforts into establishing the rest of these eight-mile trail near Long Lost Lake trails,” Langowski said and added that should be a “backcountry experience” construction of an additional nine miles featuring an advanced-rated one- of trail is planned for 2020. Langowski way loop with no winter grooming. thinks there is potential for more. Another expansion will happen in the “With the trails that are built at Giants Maroco unit, northwest of the current Ridge, Chisholm, Cuyuna and Tioga, Mahnomen cluster, where another eight we looked at it as an opportunity that to ten miles will add to the Cuyuna northern Minnesota could become a real experience. Look for them to be built in mecca for mountain biking,” he told me. 2020, beginning with the Cuyuna Cruser. “Stay tuned, there’s much more to come By the end of 2022 the Crew hopes the from Ely,” he added. system will have grown to 70 miles.




The idea of a trail system in the former Tioga mine near Cohasset was born about eight years ago and construction began in 2018 with 5 miles of trail. 2019 saw a great push, raising the system to its current length of 22 miles. 2020 will add another three miles, which will include a skills section with jumps, as well as a trailhead pavilion. Max Peters, Cohasset city administrator said that a grand opening of Tioga’s 25 miles will happen later this year. By his own informal counts, Peters said, the trail system is already showing just shy of 10,000 annual users and he’s “pleasantly surprised” with how well it’s been received. “As I look across the state, I really think that northern Minnesota is quickly becoming not just a regional, but a national and maybe international destination for mountain biking,” he said.

Farther up the North Shore, The Tofte Connector Trail will likely be renamed when it officially opens later this year, but that’s just a minor detail. It will run approximately 17 miles from the Britton Peak Mountain Bike Trails

Another exciting project on the Iron Range is the Redhead mountain bike trail system, which will bring 16 miles of challenging singletrack to Chisholm’s Minnesota Discovery Center later this

The Donald D. Ferguson Demonstration Forest near Two Harbors was originally established for teaching foresting techniques and has always had access roads and hiking trails. Mountain biking was added in 2001 and now there are about 7 miles of nonmotorized multi-use trails. A volunteer group organized by Spokengear Bike Shop in Two Harbors built two miles of new mountain bike trail in 2019 and they hope to bring the mileage up to nine or ten miles this year. According to Dave Cizmas, Lake County Recreation Forester, the idea is to keep it a more beginner friendly and relaxed trail system. “The plan is to expand it to 15 to 20 miles total over the next few years,” he said.

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year. Donna Johnson, Executive Director at the Discovery Center credits members of the Iron Range Offroad Cyclists (IROC) with getting the Redhead project started eight years ago. “Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” she said. Most of the trails will be on the 660-acre Discovery Center grounds and contained within a mine pit that’s actually 5 separate pits merged together. “The scenery is just magnificent. We call it the ‘Grand Canyon of the North,’” Johnson said. She’s excited about making this former mine accessible to the public and being able to tell the iron ore story and how the property was reclaimed after mining left. “The land at one time was flat and now it’s this big canyon,” she said and she’s looking forward to the official opening with a range of trails from intermediate to expert. Generally, trails will follow the rim of the pit and drop down to the water level. “There’s going to be some trails to get your adrenaline pumping,” she said. She’s hopeful that 2020 will see the construction of another 16 miles, bringing the total mileage to 32. “If everything goes as planned, we hope to have the first 16 miles open this June,” she said and added that the trails, which are on mining company property, are off limits until then. With an exact timeline still in flux, a grand opening celebration may take place in September.

B I WA B I K Giants Ridge in Biwabik will also expand their offerings this year. Their existing lift-served gravity flow trails have been growing since 2017, and Director of Mountain Sports Benji Neff said the future will bring additional downhill runs and singletrack trails. “That would make us the largest mountain bike resort in the Midwest,” he said. They currently offer five gravity trails, one of which was completed at the very end of the 2019 season. This summer, Neff says, up to eight building crews may be working at Giants Ridge to build an additional four downhill runs and about 20 miles of cross-country singletrack. “It’s going to be in the same areas where our current cross-country ski trails are,” he said. He calls this an “ambitious plan” and added, “If we feel we need more trail beyond that, that would be Phase II.” I hope this news from across Minnesota will have you dusting off your mountain bike for the upcoming season. For now, have a look at our mountain bike trail guide on page 13 and watch the snow melt. Minnesota Trails

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people saving special places

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Friends of Lake Maria State Park

Good friends make all the difference

And, while this lack of crowds is part of its charm, it is surprising that it isn’t more popular. In 1996, a group of parkgoers decided to do something about this and banded together to form the Friends of Lake Maria State Park. Since then, they’ve been working tirelessly to ensure more people know about and appreciate this place in the woods.

One of the biggest challenges these volunteers face is that Lake Maria State Park has no interpretive naturalist—the park staff with the job of connecting visitors to a place through education and outreach. That leaves these volunteers with a big job to tackle using only their own ingenuity and dedication. But, they have proven to be up to the challenge. Just last year, the friends group

Programs brought in experts and dedicated hobbyists that help illuminate the natural wonders found in the park. They brought in a mushroom foraging expert, a biology professor, and educators from the Raptor Center and International Wolf Center, to name a few. They also organized noneducational events, like a candlelight walk in the woods, and a clean-up day.

Last fall, the friends group received a grant from Parks & Trails Council to engage youth in the park. They ended up bussing 159 students in to spend the day digging up invasive worms, petting five species of Minnesota turtles, and peering through microscopes to see bugs that live in the Maria Lake, and more. It was an ambitious event with the friends reaching out to new community partners that fostered meaningful relationships, which will hopefully continue well into the future. A testament to how this group has grown and made a tremendous impact on opening this park to more people to enjoy.

Lisa Filter/P&TC Lisa Filter/P&TC

A visitor can walk for miles through these woods, sometimes with only the eagles, woodchucks and deer as companions.

engaged 1,400 visitors in 14 programs—all free and open to the public, thanks to the friends group’s generous fundraising.

Melanie Leckey/FLMSP

Lake Maria State Park is a quiet, wilderness-like place that holds one of the few remaining stands of the “Big Woods,” an elm, basswood, maple, and oak forest that once covered part of southern Minnesota.

Volunteers with Friends of Lake Maria helped coordinate a field day for public school students last fall. Top to bottom: Corralling students to the next station; professor teaches about prairie grasses; expert shows off a turtle shell. Story by Lisa Filter, Parks & Trails Council.

Friends Group Partner Award

Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota is proud to present the Friends of Lake Maria with our inaugural Friends Group Partner Award in recognition of their outstanding stewardship, volunteerism and collaboration in support the park.

Sunset on pond at Lake Maria State Park, courtesy of John Dykstra

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p pe

Reuel Harmon Awardee: Steve Thorne

Former deputy commissioner persisted to create parks and trails Steve Thorne knew members of the Grand Portage Band of Chippewa from his time working on Indian law while in the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office in the 1970s. “I really valued all my experience in Indian Country,” Thorne says. “They deserve a lot more respect that what they get.”

Steve Thorne retired to Two Harbors on the North Shore where he spends considerable time in the woods. Photo below: Grand Portage State Park waterfall by Justin Pruden. Sunrise at Tettegouche State Park by Steve Simmer Story by Lisa Filter, Parks & Trails Council.

A decade or so later, when Thorne became deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, those relationships proved key to a major achievement: The first-of-itskind—and perhaps only—partnership between a state and a tribal nation to create a state park. Grand Portage State Park took shape from lengthy negotiations that were so complex that most people thought it didn’t stand a chance. But, Thorne persisted.

He encouraged Parks & Trails Council to form a committee and buy the land in 1987. In the meantime, he drafted legislation and visited with lawmakers to explain the

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complex deal that involved multiple transfers of ownership and a unique advisory committee.

The result was the establishment of the park in 1989. Thorn is quick to share the credit with all involved, saying, “it was the right place, with the right people and an amenable legislature.”

This magical combination of factors seemed to follow Thorne through several major accomplishments on behalf of Minnesota State Parks and Trails.

But, the project he says he’s most proud of during his career, was one that had to overcome major political resistance: the establishment of the Root River State Trail under Governor Al Quie. “He was a very decent man, but not necessarily a real, public lands guy,” Thorne explains. “And, he had a lot of constituents who didn’t like the idea of a trail.” It took intense negotiations. “The result is that we lost the

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Reuel Harmon Award

eastern end of what we wanted to be the trail,” Thorne says. Seeing the transformation of that region into a tourism destination as a result of the trail made the whole ordeal worth it. Eventually, even the eastern section was built as the community embraced the trail.

Thorne left the MnDNR in 1990 to accept an endowed chair as professor of forestry at Pennsylvania State University, where he remained for three years. Then he came back. “I was always a Minnesotan,” he says. He took up law at a private law firm specializing in Indian Law. He remained

We need to be using our public lands to deal with climate change and preserve as much of the natural world as we can.

Thorne doesn’t fault people for being skeptical of public lands projects. “It’s good to question whether they’ll be good; you just have to talk through it,” he says.

Another project Thorne helped to convince a reluctant public of, was the major addition to Tettegouche State Park in 1991, which nearly doubled the size of the park. Ushering this along was one of Thorne’s final acts as deputy commissioner. “I was helping it along the way with a bunch of great people,” he says. “Our DNR folks were top-notch and it was a time when we were in growth mode.”


active with environmental issues, volunteering on nonprofit boards, including the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, The Nature Conservancy and Parks & Trails Council.

To explain why he’s so passionate about this issue, he says: “Parks and trails are critical for Minnesota’s quality of life. And they are increasingly important at this time. We need to be using our public lands, including parks, to deal with the effects of climate change and to preserve as much of the natural world as we can.”

Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota annually recognizes one individual for exemplary service and outstanding achievements on behalf of Minnesota’s parks and trails with this award named for a co-founder of the organization. 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995

Steve Thorne Sen. Keith Langseth Grant Merritt Rep. Alice Hausman Dave Lais Peggy Prowe Hon. David Minge Mary Lee Dayton Mark and Joan Strobel Peter Seed Terry McGaughey Eleanor Winston Sen. David Durenberger Henry N. Somsen Michael Prichard Bob Dunn Don Davison & Bill Morrissey Rollis Bishop Alden Lind Howard E. Olson Nadine Blacklock Rep. Willard Munger Gov. Elmer L. Andersen Martin N. Kellogg Samuel H. Morgan

Visit the Award Hall of Honor


Parks & Trails Council thanks the following sponsor

pincushiontrailsinn.com Minnesota Trails

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MNMB Series

Minnesota Mountain Bike Series Details & Registration: www.mnmtbseries.com. by Renee Hoffmann Stoke your competitive side and explore new trails at the MN Mountain Bike Series. With courses that run the gamut from lungbusting climbs to swoopy downhills, this year’s lineup features some of the most scenic and expert-built singletrack in the Midwest.

Each race venue features terrain, trails, and a special vibe that is unique to that region. Pick out a couple races from the list below or compete in the entire series to get a taste for them all and a chance at getting on the podium. Woolly Race St. Croix Falls, WI | May 3 Year after year riders rank Woolly among one of their favorites. With top-notch trails and fast flats weaving through the woods, it’s easy to see why. Mount Kato Mankato, MN | May 31 Find your local training hill and start riding it, because if Mount Kato has one thing, it’s a healthy dose of climbing. Detroit Mountain Shakedown Detroit Lakes, MN | June 7 With an impressive mix of modern day singletrack and old-school mountain bike trails, Detroit Mountain has something for every kind of rider. Border Crossing River Falls, WI | June 14 Known for being a popular day-trip destination for Twin Cities riders, Whitetail Ridge features plenty of roots, rocks, bridges, and berms. Lester Park Duluth, MN | June 28 Back by popular demand. Take in beautiful views of the valley on the smooth and flowy singletrack of Lester Park.



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CHOOSE YOUR CHALLENGE Race categories increase in both distance and difficulty at each level so that you can pick the challenge that’s right for you. Citizen - New mountain bike riders and racers. Sport - Mountain bikers who ride recreationally and are new to racing. Comp - Experienced mountain bike riders who have done some racing. Elite - Experienced mountain bike riders and racers. Marathon - Experienced mountain bike riders have 4 hours to see how many laps they can do. Kids Competitive - Children ages 14 and younger .

Christopher Olaf Berg photo




Tioga Grand Rapids, MN | July 12 Tioga’s 20+ miles of professionally built trails were completed last summer and are already receiving rave reviews.

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Gamehaven Lakeside Grind Rochester, MN | July 26 Test your mettle on singletrack, prairie crossings, and punchy climbs at Gamehaven. Powder Monkey Duluth, MN | Aug. 9 The course at Spirit Mountain is another one for climbers. Even if you don’t like grinding up hill, the views of Lake Superior alone make it worth the effort. Cuyuna Crusher Crosby-Ironton, MN | Aug. 23 This course combines long, flowy sections with attention-demanding technical portions that leave riders raving about “shredding the red.” Laddies Loppet Callaway, MN | Sept. 1-2 Turn race day into a jam-packed race and ride weekend at the Laddies Loppet. Maplelag Resort features fun for the whole family.




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Riding the NEW


by Bryan Hansel

Riding the trail in front of me, Paul Nordlund whipped his mountain bike around a corner and kicked up fallen red and yellow maple leaves. The musty smell of fall felt crisp in the air. A leaf blower, yes, a leaf blower, flopped around on Paul’s back. Just ahead our other rider, Lee Bergstrom passed through a narrow gap between two trees and carried a good amount of speed into the top of a twofoot-tall berm that cut 90 degrees and then with just a short transition lead into second berm cutting the other way. From a photographer’s perspective, it made a perfect s-curve, and we were out riding the trail to get pictures for the Superior Cycling Association (SCA), the local bike club. The club was instrumental in getting this new mountain bike trail built. Over the sound of bike tires crunching leaves I yelled, “Hold up.” I dropped the photo pack off my back. With a short discussion on how we’d shoot this turn, Norland fired up the leaf blower to clear the trail. While he created a clean path, Bergstrom and I shot the turn from different angles as she rode the berms over and over.

We were riding the new and not yet open Jackpot and High Climber mountain bike trail near Tofte and Lutsen. The trail runs approximately 17 miles from the Britton Peak Mountain Bike Trails to Ski Hill. When asked, Nordlund, who serves as the vice president of the SCA, rattled off a long list of partners that included the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Department of Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation, Greater MN Parks and Trails Legacy Fund, Legislative-Citizen Commission of Minnesota Resource, Federal Trails Recreation Program, the Lutsen Tofte Tourism Association, Lutsen 99er, Visit Cook County, Cook County, Cook County EDA and over 30 local businesses. I asked Nordlund what it takes to put together a coalition with that many partners. He laughed. “It took many years. We have been working on area biking trails for almost 10 years and it seems like we’ve added a viable partner with each new addition to our trail system.” Just as we finished photographing the s-curve, Mica and Adam Harju bombed past us so fast that I just

Lee Bergstrom rides through maple forest on the High Climber trail near Lutsen.


Bryan Hansel is an award-winning professional landscape photographer and outdoor educator living the dream in Grand Marais, Minnesota. In addition to selling fine-art prints and stock photography, he makes his living teaching photography workshops across the country. You can learn more about his work and his workshops at www.bryanhansel.com.

From left: Mica Harju, Adam Harju, Lee Bergstrom, Molly Hicken and Paul Nordlund. Mountain bikers take in the view on the High Climber section of the trail. Minnesota Trails

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managed to pull my camera to my eye to capture Mica flying around the berms. The Harjus own Dirt Candy Designs, LLC, a trail building company, and were subcontracted to work on part of the trail by Rock Solid Trail Contracting, LLC, the main contactor for this trail and the largest mountain trail builder in the world. We had been waiting for the Harjus and Norlund’s wife, Molly Hicken, to catch up to us. The Harjus live in the area and we’ve been friends for years. I’ve seen their trail-building equipment. It’s impressive. Back in college, I spent my summers building trails for the Iowa DNR and we used shovels, rakes, Pulaskis and chainsaws. In modern mountain bike trail construction, it isn’t like that. The Harjus use mini-excavators and other machines in addition to hand tools. Adam explained one of the reasons they use machines versus all hand tools, “Building with excavators allows us to sculpt and craft the earth to create a very specific riding experience. In this case the trail was designed to be a remote trail with lots of playful features such as berms, jumps, rock enhanced trail, etc…” Nordlund chimed in from the perspective of less of a trail-building artist and more as club officer responsible for maintaining the trail with a crew of

Molly Hicken approaches a technical section of rock ledges on the High Climber trail.

volunteers. “Machines build more trail in a shorter period, and machine-built trail is more sustainable and easier to maintain in the long run.” After finishing shooting the berms, we mounted up. I followed the Harjus over the contours of the route as the trail twisted around mature maples, passed a nearby lake, and gradually climbed and dropped. Built for novices using a flowstyle route, it felt effortless to ride the few miles we were riding to the major feature of this section of the trail. Along the way Mica commented, “It’s like the trail pulls you up the hills.” Right after that comment, we hit a part of the trail that drops 100 feet in elevation down a series of switchbacks. The Harjus let loose. I didn’t catch up until after climbing the 100 feet we just lost to the top of a hill covered in

an angled ledge rock slab. With effort, I climbed the ledge rock slab and then followed the trail as it cut back 180 degrees around the hill’s rocky peak. That took us to the best view on the trail. We stopped and waited for everyone to get to the view. Looking out, we could see Lake Superior in the distance and straining my eyes, I could make out the gondola at the ski hill climbing up to the top of Moose Mountain. On the left side of the view, Mystery Mountain dominated with its long sloping hill. The view and slab rock combined to become one of the unique features of the route and a challenging section to ride. After having ridden just a few miles on the trail, I knew it had a special character not often found in the Midwest, but I asked Nordlund about why riders would travel to Cook County to ride this trail. He said, “This is the only single-track trail in the Midwest that offers riders a

(above) Lee Bergstrom follows Paul Nordlund around a berm in the maple forest near Lutsen. (right) Adam and Mica Harju ride the High Climber trail near Lutsen. All photos by Bryan Hansel

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unique wilderness setting. Our opinion is that people will consider this the star of the north and one of the best trails in the Midwest. It’s world class.” Just past the view, the trail dropped over several rock ledges. After Paul blew the fallen leaves, we worked that section one at a time attempting to ride up and over those rocks from below, and then rode back around to the rock slabs on the other side of the hill. After 30 minutes of trying different lines and routes up and down the slabs, Adam Harju described accurately what I was feeling. He said, “Two really unique attributes to this trail are that a group can have riders with multiple skill levels and all ride together and that there is so much skill progression built into it, riders have the option to opt into features or B-lines as their skills progress.” The entire group of us were caught up in moments of pure mountain biking joy as we rode up and down this section. We were so wrapped up that we lost track of time. With the sun casting its last rays onto the bright golden fall color of the mature maple forest, we reluctantly headed towards the cars. I felt grateful to be able to ride this trail before it officially

opens. For that to happen the USFS needs to officially inventory the route, sign it and make sure it’s completed correctly and is safe. Nordlund hopes that happens soon after the snow melts away. He also has lofty visions for the future of this trail that include future bikepacking camping sites and a 40-plus-mile extension connecting to the Pincushion Mountain Bike Trails Paul Nordlund with leaf blower drops down near Grand Marais. rock ledges on the High Climber trail. Regardless of future plans, when Jackpot and High Climber open, I can’t help phone to check the map. I’m partial of but think of something both Harju course, but I also feel like it is the most and Nordlund alluded to throughout beautiful trail in the state. Big hardwood the ride. Harju summed it up best: forests, old growth cedars, lichen covered “What this trail has, that is unmatched cliffs, spectacular views of the Sawtooth anywhere in the state, is the remoteness Mountains and Lake Superior.” and uninterrupted trail. There are no Once open, this playful trail and its intersections where you need to decide remote wilderness setting is one that you where to go. You can just ride, all day if won’t want to miss. you want, without ever pulling out your

From up trail going down: Adam Harju, Mica Harju and Lee Bergstrom navigate a rock armored entry to a bermed switchback. This is one of the interesting features on the High Climber Trail.

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THIS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE! Whatever shape your daily ride takes–commute, cruise, fitness, or adventure–there’s an electric bike that can make the experience more fun and rewarding. With an electric bike, there’s no ride too long, no load too heavy, and nowhere your legs can’t carry you. Visit your authorized Trek retailer today! Adventure Cycle & Ski advcycle.com | Winona, MN Bikes on Howard bikesonhoward.net | Hibbing, MN DL Bike Shop dlbikeshop.com | Detroit Lakes, MN Downtown Bicycles downtownbicyclesllc.com | Northfield, MN Gateway Cycle gatewaycycle.com | Oakdale, MN Jake’s Bikes jakesbikes.com | Alexandria, MN Martin’s Cycling & Fitness martinscyclingandfitness.com | Albert Lea, MN OneTen Cycles onetencycles.com | Mendota Heights, MN Outdoor Motion outdoormotionbikes.com | Hutchinson, MN Ramsey Bicycle ramseybicycle.com | Ramsey, MN Revolution Cycle and Ski revolutioncycleandski.com | St. Cloud, MN Rick’s Cycling and Sports Center rickscycling.com | Willmar, MN Rochester Cycling cycling-fitness.com | Rochester, MN Rydjor Bike Shop rydjor.com | Austin, MN Scheels Mankato scheels.com | Mankato, MN Scheels Rochester scheels.com | Rochester, MN Scheels St. Cloud scheels.com | St. Cloud, MN Straight River Sports straightriversports.com | Owatonna, MN

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Northeastern Minnesota has the Sawtooth Mountains along the North Shore of Lake Superior, ski hills at Spirit Mountain and Giant’s Ridge, the deep forests of the Superior and Chippewa National Forests, the 135-mile Arrowhead State Trail, and the pristine beauty of some of the state’s most beautiful state parks.

Tioga Trails, | Cohasset, MN Jan Lasar photo Minnesota Trails

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Mountain Bike Trails Cook County Mountain Bike Routes Cook County has fantastic single track and gravel routes ranging from family-friendly to expert backcountry trails. • Heartbreak Hill Loop 18 miles: Over the river and through the woods is the best way to summarize this trail. In the first few miles you gain a good deal of elevation. This scenic loop crosses the Temperance River multiple times. Park the bike and take a short hike along the river. This ride blends gravel road adventure with a taste of the Gitchi Gami paved bike trail. Be aware that the Sawbill Trail is a well-traveled road. • Onion River Road 7 miles round trip: Easy, family-friendly ride with several fun side-trip opportunities. Several hiking, cross-country ski, and snowmobile trails cross through the area. This light traffic gravel road is a gradual climb through a mixed and scenic forest. • Pancore/Honeymoon Loop Tofte 20 miles: A classic Northwoods ride, the Pancore/Honeymoon Loop will give you a taste of the ruggedness of the area. Generally smooth gravel with a few rockier sections on the Pancore Lake Road. • Pike Lake Loop 22 miles: There are many spur trails and roads, pay close attention to remain on the main trail. Excellent wildlife viewing. Gravel and primitive minimum maintenance road. • Devil Track Loop 18 miles: This remote trail by Grand Marais is perfect for adventurous mountain bikers. Beautiful 150-year-old white pines line the way. Some logging traffic. • Pine Mountain Loop 16 miles round trip (out and back trail) : The gravel forest service road has little traffic and travels past spruce bogs, multiple streams, and towering pines. Great moose habitat. • Fire Box Loop 16.7 miles: Scenic hilly terrain that is very remote with little to no vehicle traffic on gravel and forest service roads as well as portions of multiuse trails. Bring a map and pay attention to the signs, there are numerous spur trails along this route. Ride can be done in either direction. • Lima Mountain Trail 26.2 miles (out and back trail): A great family ride on gravel road with minimal traffic. Elevation climbs very gradually over rivers and through low areas of pine forest. BWCAW borders the trail. Multiple starting points allow for variable distance rides.

Over 2,000 miles of

amazing Rides From gravel roads to single track, a variety of terrain awaits.


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• Mont du Lac 4 miles: Intermediate single track and advanced level downhill trails. • Piedmont & Brewer Trails 9 miles: Intermediate to advanced. Challenging trails with bridges and features. Significant elevation changes with large rocky bluffs. Groomed for fat biking in the winter. • Pokegama Trail 4 miles: Challenging, tight and twisting singletrack trail with drops, boardwalks and short, steep climbs through beautiful stands of white pine, cedars and paper birch. Groomed for fat biking in the winter. • Spirit Mountain Bike Park Beginner to advanced. Outstanding views of Lake Superior are the norm at Spirit Mountain. The terrain is demanding, but is sure to reward with amazing vistas. Lift-assisted downhill mountain biking and fat biking. • Duluth Traverse 40 miles: As beginner level singletrack, the Duluth Traverse (DT) connects the city’s trail networks at Lester Park, Hartley Park, PiedmontBrewer Park, Spirit Mountain and Mission Creek. Currently, 75% of the DT is on singletrack trail, the balance is on gravel roads and some paved road sections. It’s a work in progress and will eventually be all standalone singletrack.

Racers in the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series at Spirit Mountain in Duluth. Jan Lasar photo • Central Gunflint Trails 60+ miles: Very remote hilly terrain with little to no road traffic. Primarily cross country ski trails and private gravel roads near the BWCAW. Map and navigational tools recommended as there are multiple spur trails along the route. Consult either Golden Eagle Lodge or Bearskin Lodge for maps and information. • Old Gunflint Trail 9 miles round trip (out and back trail): Gravel road with minimal traffic. Old Gunflint Trail is County Road 92, a fairly flat trail that passes through a healthy black spruce forest. Part of the trail runs through the Ham Lake fire recovery zone.

Duluth Area Mountain Bike Trails

Duluth has been named Gold Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA), one of six such destinations in the world. The Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS) maintain and develop Duluth’s extensive trail system. • Hartley Park 9 miles: Intermediate trails through the hardwood forests and open marsh areas of Hartley Nature Center. • Lester Park 5.5 miles: Intermediate. Beautiful views of the river valley and smooth, flowing single track. There are some rocky or rooty sections, but overall the trail is non-technical and the best option in the Duluth area if you are newer to mountain biking. Groomed for fat tire biking in the winter. • Mission Creek 23 miles: Beginner to intermediate. Fast and flowing singletrack with many bridges, berms, and rollers. This trail network traverses a dramatic, heavily forested landscape with spectacular views of the St. Louis River Valley and Jay Cooke State Park. Groomed for fat biking in the winter.

Ely Area Mountain Bike Routes • Ely Skills Course The city of Ely built a one-half mile skills course at the Hidden Valley Chalet in 2019. Look for an additional nine miles of singletrack to come in 2020. • Fenske Lake Area This area has many opportunities to explore forest and logging roads. Trails cross over rolling hills and pass through spruce forests. • Fernberg Tower Area This area is located along the Fernberg Road east of Ely. Several county and forest roads intersect giving an opportunity to explore the Superior National Forest. The route includes both gravel and natural surface trails. • Hidden Valley Trails 13 miles: This area offers hilly, wooded loop trails on the outskirts of Ely. The system consists of several smaller loops with a connection to the Pine Park loop on the northern end. • Nickel Lake Area 12 miles: This area provides rolling wooded hills, grassy bogs and beaver dams. There is access to several isolated lakes and an abandoned granite quarry that last operated in the 30s. Biwabik | Giants Ridge Giants Ridge offers lift-served mountain biking on five downhill runs ranging from easy to expert. Riders can also explore a variety of mountainside trails consisting of cross-country ski trails, snowmobile trails, and abandoned logging roads. Look for a major expansion in 2020, adding four more downhills and about 20 miles of dedicated singletrack in 2020. Carlton | Jay Cooke State Park 13 miles: Trail is a mixture of grass, dirt and pavement with spectacular views. Silver Creek Trail and Summer Trail are groomed for fat bikes in the winter.

Details at mntrails.com/ mountain-bike-trails Minnesota Trails

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2020 Cloquet | Pine Valley Park 2 miles: Stacked loops rated beginner to intermediate with switchbacks and flow sections through pine trees and open areas. Cohasset | Tioga Trails 22 miles: This new mountain bike area in the location of a former mine pit currently offers five miles of singletrack, but is expected to grow to 25 miles in 2020. Grand Marais| Eliason Tower Loop 12 miles: A 12-mile loop along back forest and county roads five miles northeast of Grand Marais. Moose have been spotted at dawn and dusk along this trail. Grand Marais | Pincushion Mountain 10 miles: Challenging trails with awesome Lake Superior views. Switchbacks, bridges, rock gardens and lots of elevation changes. Groomed for fat tire biking in the winter. Grand Rapids |Forest History Center Trails 5 miles: Explore the Forest History Center by bike. Beginner trail through 1900s logging camp and virgin timber forest. Grand Rapids | Legion Trails 6 miles: Hand-built singletrack trail ranging from fast and flowing to tight, twisty and technical. Near Grand Rapids High School. Grand Rapids | Sugar Hills 20 miles: Enjoy the solitude on this mixture of singletrack and fire roads. Intermediate to expert trail on hilly terrain through hardwoods in the Hill River State Forest. Thunder Peak provides excellent panoramic views. Grand Rapids - Ely| Taconite State Trail 165 miles: Popular multipurpose trail that moves through out-of-the-way forests and lakes and stretches 165 miles from Grand Rapids to Ely and intersects with the Arrowhead State Trail just west of Lake Vermillion. Passes through Bear Head Lake State Park. Some areas may be impassable in the summer. Hibbing | Maple Hill Park 5 miles: Intermediate, two-way singletrack with a dirt surface in a 133-acre city park. Groomed for fat bikes in the winter. Hinckley | Saint Croix State Park 21 miles: Wide, grassy trail in the woods with some dirt sections on the Matthew Lourey State Trail. McGregor | Savanna Portage State Park 10 miles: Mixture of grass and dirt doubletrack. The trail offers varied topography in its several loops with a challenging climb up the Continental Divide with an awesome view as a reward. Side Lake | McCarthy Beach State Park 17 miles: A choice of nice rides is available on the park trails and the low maintenance St. Louis County roads inside the park boundary. Bikers can venture out of the park on the Taconite State Trail. Tofte | Britton Peak Trails 5.5 miles: Trails are intermediate to advanced with a short beginner loop. Enjoy views of the Temperance River Valley and some advanced features like a rock garden and boardwalk. Tower to International Falls | Arrowhead State Trail 135 miles: Approximately 69 miles of the trail are suitable for mountain biking in the summer; however, there may be wet areas. Intersects with the Taconite State Trail. Mountain bikers should call the nearest Parks and Trails Area office before leaving for their destination to inquire about local trail conditions and amenities. This is a multi-use trail, including horseback riding. Minnesota Trails

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Mountain Bike Trails Two Harbors | Split Rock Lighthouse State Park 3 miles: Easy trail with a mix of dirt and grass shared with hikers. No singletrack. Stunning views of the Split Rock Lighthouse along Lake Superior. Can be combined with a return on the paved Gitchi Gami Trail for a 6 mile loop. The park grooms this loop and an additional 3 miles for fat biking in the winter.

Two Harbors | Donald D. Ferguson Demonstration Forest 7 miles: Easy beginner trails through boreal woods in the Superior National Forest, shared with hikers. Trail system is set to expand to nine miles in 2020, with the ultimate goal of 15-20 miles. Groomed for fatbikes in the winter, skis and snowshoes are also allowed. Virginia | Big Aspen Trail 21 miles: The Big Aspen Trail in the Superior National Forest has many loop opportunities and beautiful scenic vistas. The trail is part of old logging roads and abandoned railroad grades from the Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Company. It is a multi-use trail, allowing mountain bikes, ATVs, horses, and in the winter, cross-country skiers. Virginia | Lookout Mountain 11 miles: The trail system has dedicated mountain bike singletrack with berms, bridges and rock gardens in the Superior National Forest. Once you get to the top of a large hill it is mostly rolling hills through forestland. There are a few large rock features and some challenging intermediate skill level sections. The trails are two-way, look out for oncoming bikes and hikers. Sources: MNDNR, COGGS, Visit Cook County, IROC, MORC, National Forest Service, TrailForks.com, MTBProject.com, Singletracks.com, individual organizations

On the Taconite State Trail near Bear Head Lake State Park. Jan Lasar photo

b ra n d n ew i n 2 0 2 o


 bike rentals available Sign up for trail opening and event updates at ironrange.org Spring 2020 15

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M�t�o M�U�T�I� B�K�N�

The many communities that make up the Metropolitan Area of the Twin Cities provide an extensive network of rugged single track and easy to moderate mountain bike trails. Many regional and city parks maintain trails to provide something for everyone close to a major metropolitan area.

Theodore Wirth Park | Minneapolis, MN Jan Lasar photo 16 Spring 2020

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Minnesota Trails

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2020 Bloomington | Minnesota River Trail 11 miles: Intermediate. Nicknamed Minnesota River Bottoms. Mostly singletrack winds through wooded area near river. Challenging trail that can be muddy after rain. Plenty of jumps and some obstacles. Burnsville | Terrace Oaks 2.3 miles: Intermediate. Mainly singletrack. A fairly technical trail with lots of climbs and amazing descents. Challenging trail. Burnsville | Buck Hill 6 miles: Beginner to intermediate, includes two downhill flow trails. Skills Park featuring a bermed course with drops, rock garden, skinnies and a dragon tail. Eagan | Lebanon Hills Regional Park 11 miles: Mostly intermediate. This course is much improved and a favorite for many. Good mixture of rolling hills and more technical singletrack. Woods provide secluded feel in suburban area. Inver Grove Heights | Salem Hills 4.4 miles: Gently rolling hills through woods and reclaimed prairie consisting of three loops: Harmon Park, Sawmill, Foul Pond Loop. Lake Elmo | Lake Elmo Park Reserve 8 miles: Beginner to intermediate. Beautiful park with a pleasant view of Eagle Point Lake. This is a multi-use trail, including horseback riding. Some hard-packed singletrack, some grassy trail. Fat bikes are allowed on Big Bluestem Trail in the winter. Lakeville | West Lake Marion Trail 5 miles: Beginner to advanced. Hard-packed singletrack through woods and fields on the west side of Lake Marion near Casperson Park. Maple Grove | Elm Creek Park Preserve 12.7 miles: Interconnected singletrack loop trails. Built to accommodate all skill levels of riders, but mostly intermediate with short sections of easy and advanced trails. Minneapolis | Theodore Wirth Park 8 miles: Intermediate to advanced. Singletrack has twists and turns with many technical features. Challenging course and a great trail system consisting of five separate loops: North, South, Southwest, Brownie and Glenwood Loop. Just minutes from downtown Minneapolis. Monticello | Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Trail 10 miles: This trail offers many options for all skills levels including a fast singletrack, switchbacks and a meandering doubletrack. Be ready to deal with logs, roots, and wooden bridges. Rockford | Lake Rebecca Park Reserve 13.25 miles: Easy to advanced singletrack loops through wooded landscape with wetlands. Start at the Hilltop picnic area. St. Paul | Battle Creek Regional Park 9.5 miles: Intermediate to advanced. Battle Creek features a wide selection of trails within its boundaries. Plenty of steep, narrow singletrack. Thickly wooded, some limited visibility on turns. St. Paul | Fort Snelling State Park 10 miles: Beginner. Enjoyable ride along the Dakota County side of the river. Generally flat trail, but scenic. Starts as a wide double track, then narrows to singletrack. Trails are multi-use. Savage | Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve 10 miles: This trail features glacial ridges, hilly terrain and an extensive, lush forest. This is a challenging trail and a favorite for mountain bikers. Minnesota Trails

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Mountain Bike Trails Woodbury | Carver Lake Park 4 miles: Series of interconnected loops and switchbacks on the south side of Carver Lake.

Sources: MORC, Three Rivers Park District, MNDNR, TrailForks.com, MTBProject.com, Singletracks.com, individual counties/organizations

At Lake Rebecca Park Reserve. Jan Lasar photo

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S�u�h�r� M�U�T�I� B�K�N� Stunning bluff country, meandering rivers and open prairies give Southern Minnesota a wide variety of natural terrain for mountain bikers to enjoy. Go south and find out what trails are waiting for you.

Austin, MN is becoming a well-known destination for biking enthusiasts!

Austin, MN is becoming a well-known destination for biking enthusiasts! Over 13 miles of hard-surfaced trails connect you with many locations in the city as well as to the Shooting Star, adding photo an additional 30 miles through Schindler’s Way | Austin, MN Erik Schindler the southern region.

Over 13 miles of hard-surfaced trails connect you with many locations in the city as well as to the Shooting Star, adding an additional 30 miles through the southern region.


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Austin, MN is becoming a well-known destination for biking enthusiasts! Over 13 miles of hard-surfaced trails connect you with many locations in the city as well as to the Shooting Star, adding an additional 30 miles through the southern region.


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Bike Friendly Community


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View the history of over 80 bicycles displayed on the walls inside the shop. Including the 1868 “Boneshaker” and a bike from the late Robin Williams’ personal collection.

View the history of over 80 bicycles displayed on the walls inside the shop. Including the 1868 “Boneshaker” and a

from the League of American Bicyclist.

3/5/20 6:56 AM


Mountain Bike Trails

Albert Lea | Myre Big Island State Park 7 miles: Intermediate. Well-marked trail shared with hikers. Runs through forested hills and by Albert Lea Lake. Lots of trails to choose from. Limited access when wet. Austin | Schindler’s Way 5 miles: This flat and fast singletrack system flows through forest and prairie and sweeps along the Cedar River near the Hormel Foods campus and Todd Park. A great beginner trail. Faribault | Caron Park 3 miles: Beginner and intermediate singletrack loops with a dirt surface through a completely wooded area. Trails are bi-directional. Faribault | River Bend Nature Center 10 miles: Multi-use, dirt and grass trail is shared with hikers and travels through hardwoods along the Straight River with scenic bluff views. Henderson | Ney Nature Center Trail 1.5 miles Two single-direction trails: Trail one is rated intermediate and trail two is rated difficult with berms, drops and a rock garden. Lynd | Camden State Park 5.25 miles : Beginner to advanced. Mixture of fire roads and singletrack rolls through hardwood forests and prairie with a 1-mile section of rake-and-ride trail on top of the river valley. Mankato | Ft. LeHillier Skills Trail 2.2 miles: A short skills building area south of Mankato on the Blue Earth River with rollers and berms winding through the wooded river bottom contours. This is a perfect trail to get new riders acquainted with their bike. Trails are bi-directional. Mankato | Kiwanis Mountain Bike Trail 6 miles: Two single-direction loops on the Minnesota River. The short beginner loop consists of rolling, berm filled singletrack in the

river bottom land. More advanced features and options like log piles, jumps and drops can be found on “B” lines with ride-arounds on the intermediate loop. Mankato | Mount Kato 7 miles: Mount Kato has roughly seven miles of cross-country singletrack winding through the wooded hills of their ski area for novice to expert riders. Riders who like a challenge will enjoy the climbs and descents. Mankato | Seven Mile Creek 8 miles: Seven Mile Creek’s multi-use bidirectional trails feature little technical challenge but some climbs and descents are steep and very challenging. The area transitions from the Minnesota River to grasslands in the valley, to deciduous forests on either side and up the bluffs of the creek. Northfield | Caron Park 3 miles: Beginner and intermediate singletrack loops with a dirt surface through a completely wooded area. Runs by Prairie Creek and features a natural waterfall. One interesting feature is a large erratic boulder on the intermediate loop. Trails are bi-directional. Northfield | Heath Creek 1 mile: Across County Road 78 from the Sechler Park Trails you’ll find a short, more technical trail with a rock garden along Heath Creek. Great views in a densely wooded area. Northfield | Sechler Park 1.75 miles: Trail is designed to introduce beginners to mountain biking and runs along the woods on the shore of the Cannon River. Part of this system is a skills park with berms, jumps, drops, log piles, a teeter-totter and more. Connects to Heath Creek Trail across County Road 78.

Owatonna | Kaplan’s Woods 6 miles: Moderately difficult singletrack through woods. Some log jumps add challenges. Red Wing | Red Wing Memorial Trails 7 miles: Beginner to advanced. Trail has many options: Long climbs, challenging obstacles, outstanding views, twisting singletrack. Rochester | Eastwood Park 5 miles: Three easy and two intermediate trails by Eastwood Golf Course. Trail is mostly wooded with many tight twists and turns along the Zumbro River. Rochester | Gamehaven Park 8 miles: Five easy and two intermediate singletrack loops with scenic overlooks on Gamehaven Lake. Groomed for fat bikes in the winter. St. Peter | Traverse des Sioux Park 11 miles: This system consists of a rolling and winding trail through the Minnesota River bottoms. Weaving through the trees and over the undulating flood plain, the trails are bidirectional with a trail difficulty rated easy and beginner. Welch | Welch Village Mountain bike park with lift-served downhill trails for experienced riders. Features include bridges, jumps, ramps and drops. Winona | Holzinger Lodge Trail 9.5 miles: Advanced: One of the area’s best singletrack trail systems with short, steep climbs, winding curves and excellent views of the Mississippi at Bluffside Park. Some winter trails. Sources: MNDNR, RAMBO, WAMB, MAMB, RASC, CROCT, TrailForks.com, MTBProject.com, Singletracks.com, individual organizations

Lift-Served downhill mountain biking Welch, MN





Red Wing, MN




Minnesota Trails

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Memorial Park Mountain Bike Trails

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C�n�r�l M�U�T�I� B�K�N�

There’s great mountain biking in the heart of Minnesota. From the purpose-built red dirt flow trails of the Cuyuna Lakes, to the granite outcroppings of Quarry Park in St. Cloud, the center of the state has a great variety of trails to explore.

Black’s Grove | Wadena, MN Jan Lasar photo 20 Spring 2020

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Minnesota Trails

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2020 Alexandria | Lake Brophy County Park 6.5 miles: Beginner to expert gravity flow trail singletrack with 200’ elevation change. The top overlooks the entire park and the city of Alexandria and has a prairie landscape. Dock jumps, drops and a rock garden can be found on the more technical, expert sections on the west side of the trail system. The eastern part is more of a cross-country ride with long straightaways and sweeping turns. There are bathrooms, beach access and a playground. The paved Central Lakes Trail skirts the park and provides access by bike. Brainerd | Pillsbury State Forest 27 miles: Mix of gravel logging roads, grass and dirt winding and twisting through forest and past lakes. All trails are multi-use, some include horseback riding. Cuyuna, Crosby, Ironton | Cuyuna Mountain Bike Trail System 30 miles: An IMBA Silver Level Ride Center. Singletrack trails from beginner to expert. Stunning views off overburden piles left from the area’s mining days. Deep mine lakes offer refreshment after a hard ride. Lots of trails are groomed for fat biking in the winter. The town of Cuyuna also has a pump track. Look for a major expansion in 2020, adding a connector trail to the city of Cuyuna, a 9-mile advanced back country loop, and trails in the new Moroco mine lake area. Goal is to have 70 miles of trail by 2022. Elk River | Hillside Park 6 miles: Advanced. An expert trail that is either climbing or descending for the entire course. Good skills practice.

Minnesota Trails

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Mountain Bike Trails Fergus Falls | Ferber Park 2.2 miles: A mix of rolling hills and flat terrain in wooded and grassy areas with less difficult to more challenging trails. Trails were developed by volunteers in 2017 with help from the City of Fergus Falls and continue to be improved. Look for additional trails in the future. Glenwood | Barsness Park 4.0 miles: Beginner-friendly single track with two challenging climbs to panoramic views of Lake Minnewaska near downtown Glenwood. Hutchinson | Stahl’s Lake Park 3 miles: Moderate terrain with some small hills, a balance beam and seesaw. Kensington | Kensington Rune Stone Park 7.5 miles: Beginner to intermediate, dedicated singletrack. The park has a visitor center with bathrooms. Milaca | Milaca City Trails 14 miles: Located near the Rum River, this system offers a variety of trail options for riders of all skill levels. Most of the trails are singletrack and go through a mix of woods, hills and fields. Pine River | Cut Lake Trail 10 miles: Wide, grassy trails through the forest around Deer and Cut Lakes, ranging from beginner to intermediate. Great solitude and backcountry riding. Groomed only for skiing in the winter. St. Cloud | Jail Trail 7.5 miles: Beginner to intermediate with advanced options. Singletrack trail runs through dense woods with sections along the fence of the Minnesota Correctional Facility.

St. Cloud | River Bluffs Regional Park 3 miles: Beginner singletrack loop near the Mississippi River. Spicer | Prairie Woods ELC 4 miles: Easy singletrack trails at the Environmental Learning Center start at the parking lot and wind through a mix of open prairie and deciduous woods. The Oak Savannah Trail has a seesaw; other trails have short sections of boardwalk and bridges. The Kandi Trail Riders maintain these trails and groom for fat biking in the winter. Wadena | Black’s Grove 8 miles: Beginner to advanced trails that wind through a wooded setting and along Oak Creek. Waite Park | Quarry Park 2.2 miles: Intermediate doubletrack with a mixture of gravel, dirt and grass around some granite outcroppings. Runs through a heavily wooded area with a few fairly technical sections. Bike over billion-year old bedrock. Sources: TrailForks.com, MTBProject.com, Singletracks.com, LAMBAT, ROC, MNDNR, Pedal Fergus Falls, Mid Minnesota Cycling Club, individual organizations

Details at mntrails.com/ mountain-bike-trails

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N�r�h�e�t M�U�T�I� B�K�N�

Many of the most popular mountain bike destinations in northwestern Minnesota can be found in state parks and forests. This area offers more twists and turns and a greater chance to come across wildlife while rolling down a hill or along a hard-packed singletrack.

Movil Maze | Bemidji, MN Jan Lasar photo 22 Spring 2020

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Minnesota Trails

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Mountain Bike Trails

Chippewa National Forest Trails • Deer River| Simpson Creek Trail 13 miles: Enjoy rolling topography through pines and along glacial eskers, with overlooks onto Cut Foot Sioux Lake and journeys into the cedar swamp. Cyclists travel on both old tote roads and dirt trail. Access at the Cut Foot Sioux Visitor Center or Eagle Nest Road (FR2198). • Deer River | Cut Foot Sioux Trail 18 miles: An extension of the Simpson Creek Trail, this is an 18- mile loop along old Forest Roads with gravel and sand. Access from the Cut Foot Sioux Visitor Center or the Hwy. 46 Wayside Rest 5 miles north of the Center. • Marcell | Suomi Hills Trail 19 miles: The remote and stunning Suomi Hills has 19 miles of hiking, biking and ski trails and is part of a semi-primitive non-motorized area. The rolling topography offers mountain bike trails for intermediate and advanced cyclists. Access the Suomi Hills area from the Highway 38 National Scenic Byway. • Marcell | Trout Lake Trail 11 miles: This is a nice short scenic trail into the woods and out onto the Trout Lake Estate, a national historic site featuring a 1920 lumber baron estate. Access from the north end of Trout Lake off Co. 326 or from the south end near FR 2065. Bemidji | Lake Bemidji State Park 5 miles: Beginner to advanced. Park has much to offer with dirt and packed grass trails. System is well maintained. Forested terrain has some challenging sections. Bemidji | Movil Maze 8 miles: This system lives up to its name, so bring a compass and use the map of the area. There are several spurs that branch off this trail. The trail is a combination of grassy sections and dirt singletrack with ramps. Callaway | Maplelag 12 miles: Mixture of challenging singletrack and grassy double track. Easy to expert. Detroit Lakes | Detroit Mountain 8.5 miles: This trail system has trails from beginner to expert. Ride contour flow trails, or take the lift up to the top and zip down the downhill flow trails, or ride the skills park. Lodge with bathrooms, bar, and concessions is a mustsee. Connecting trail takes you to Mountain View Rec Area. Detroit Lakes | Dunton Locks County Park 4 miles: Trail loops along the shores between Lake Sallie and Muskrat Lake. Some wind through hardwood forested hills. Trails are shared with hikers and are groomed for skiing in the winter. Detroit Lakes | Mountain View Rec. Area 3 miles: Single track loops through mature, mixed hardwood forest. Trails are laid out to be challenging. Lake Bronson | Lake Bronson State Park 5 miles: Good variety of easy trails and loops to allow for different choices. The trails go through forest and prairie and are a mixture of grass and gravel.

Lift-served flow trails at Detroit Mountain include berms, jumps and ramps. Jan Lasar photo Moorhead | Gooseberry Park 3 miles: Singletrack loops on the banks of the Red River of the North. Connects to a short skills building trail with bridges and rock gardens in Horn Park. Moorhead | M.B. Johnson Park 4 miles: Singletrack loops along the banks of the Red River of the North. Trailhead has bathrooms, water and a shelter. Roseau | Hayes Lake State Park 5 miles: Beginner trail on grassy, level terrain in a wooded area. Trail starts at Hayes Dam. Roseau | Mount Roseau 10 miles: Easy, twisting trails on rolling hills in an open, grassy area.

Ulen to Crookston | Agassiz Rec. Trail 53 miles: This abandoned railroad grade is a designated multiple use trail shared by pedestrians, cyclists, equestrians and ATV riders. It passes through Ulen, Twin Valley, Gary, Fertile and Crookston and offers scenic views of the Sand Hill and Wild Rice Rivers and Minnesota farmland. Sources: MNDNR, GRIMBA, IROC, MORC, National Forest Service, Fargo Moorhead Trailbuilders, TrailForks.com, MTBProject.com, Singletracks.com, individual organizations

Details at mntrails.com/ mountain-bike-trails

Minnesota Trails

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If A Lake Could Speak by Rudi Hargesheimer

Only a trickle remained-today’s Minnesota River. A tributary stream, the Lac Qui Parle River deBird watchers know that Lac Qui Parle State Park scended steeply into the old River Warren canyon. has more species of birds than most other Minne- It deposited silt and sand that dammed the Minsota state parks and its namesake 6,000-acre, ten- nesota River and created today’s Lac Qui Parle. The mile long lake brings thousands of hunters and entire valley became a corridor of excellent habitat bird watchers to western Minnesota each year. for birds, wildlife and human settlement. Lac Qui Parle (Lake That Speaks) is a French transThe Dakota had chosen this site for a village lation of the Dakota word Mde Iyedan, but it’s not because game was abundant. Nearby, historic entirely clear why the lake had the name in the 1830s Fort Renville and the Lac Qui Parle Mission first place. If it could talk, the story might begin affected the Dakota as white settlers began movwith the geomorphology of the landscape. ing in. One hundred years later, the Works Progress About 10,000 years ago, ancient Lake Agassiz Administration (WPA) built a dam that raised the covered the northern Red River Valley plains in an lake level and flooded most evidence of the Dakoarea spanning today’s Manitoba, Saskatchewan, ta village. Dakota burial mounds can still be found parts of Ontario, northern Minnesota and eastern near the lower campground in today’s Lac Qui ParNorth Dakota, with an estimated 170,000 square le State Park, which was established in 1959. miles of glacial melt waToday Lac Qui Parle ters. A continental glaState Park features two cier blocked its northern campgrounds, hiking exit route, today’s Red and equestrian trails, River. The lake drained canoeing, kayaking, south in a tremendous fishing, historic sites and flood, gouging a huge stone and timber buildgash into the land and Smooth rock outcroppings ings from the 1930s. creating the Glacial dot the sandy beach. RV campsites have River Warren. After the magnificent views glaciers melted, water flowed north into Hud- across the prairie slopes and down through the son Bay and the mighty River Warren dried up. scattered woodlands where the long expanse of Lac Qui Parle disappears from view to the northwest. Geese descend at dusk onto the lake below and sunsets are spectacular. 43 tent sites, Newly revised and expanded— three walk-in sites and three camper cabins the indispensable resource for are spread among the restored tall grass praibirdwatchers in Minnesota, from rie and a short hiking trail leads to a lake overthe state’s foremost expert look and the state’s largest Cottonwood tree. Interpretive signs highlight the old historic sites: WPA buildings, Fort Renville and the Lac Qui Parle Mission building, a restoration done by Minnesota Historic Society. The Map Shelter WPA stone and timber building protects a very large three-dimensional map of the Upper Minnesota River Valley. A swimming beach on the lake is located among Glacial River Warren’s scoured bedrock outcrops, about one mile from the campground. So far the lake has told us its ancient history and those who came to live and play on it shores. But there is another chapter it isn’t ready to divulge, yet. In the 1960s, wildlife managers introduced Canada Geese in the area and since then the valley has become a destination for hunting and wildlife viewing. During spring and fall migration as many as 150,000 of the once rare birds have been counted. Snow Geese and Tundra Swans also migrate through $34.95 PAPERBACK • 624 PAGES the area. A count of White Pelicans 315 COLOR IMAGES • 1100 MAPS once revealed 30,000 nesting pairs, but more recent calculations show University of Minnesota Press declining numbers in the bird pop800-621-2736 • www.upress.umn.edu

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Camper Cabin 2 has the best view of the lake

ulation. Lac Qui Parle State Park Manager, Terri Dinesen offers a clue. “The geese migrating down in autumn from Canada are coming later, and there are fewer of them. We think the Canadians are managing their croplands differently. They’re leaving more feed up there and the geese have no incentive to leave Canada, except as a last ditch exodus when winter finally arrives. They then head straight to their wintering area in Missouri”, she said. Patrick Moore, former executive director of Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) has another theory, climate change. “The geese come when the big cold fronts blow in hard from Canada. Those fronts are just not as hard as before and they are arriving about a month later than in the past”, he said. Moore doesn’t think the water is at fault. “I wouldn’t say that decreased water quality of the lake is a factor. That’s been an issue in the past, but because more than one Billion Dollars have been spent on waste water treatment facilities, easements are in place and farmers are being much more judicious in their application of nutrients to the local soils, water quality seems to have improved since the 1980s era heydays of big geese migration counts”. Whatever the rest of the story will be, bird watching and hunting continues to be popular here. A visit to Lac Qui Parle State Park and the adjacent Lac Qui Parle Wildlife Management Area is well worth it. The lake might even speak to you so you can have your own story to tell.

All photos Rudi Hargesheimer Minnesota Trails

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Bike Events

Mayor’s Bike Ride

The Spring Bike Fling

May 15, 2020

May 30, 2020

Willmar, Spicer and New London, MN The communities of Willmar, Spicer and New London are coming together for a bike ride. Mayors from Spicer, New London and Willmar will be leading a ride starting at 5:00pm in each of their towns.


Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour Red Wing, MN

May 16-17, 2020

The Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour is based on cycle touring in pre-war England. Be prepared to keep in mind it’s not the destination you’ll remember, but the journey. Total mileage for this two-day tour around Lake Pepin is 85.



Walker, MN

Winona, MN

Starting at Walker City Park, on the shores of beautiful Leech Lake, take a ride to Laporte or Guthrie on the Paul Bunyan Trail. Distances: 26 or 40 miles.

A scenic “urban” tour of Winona’s parks and trails with visits to Goodview Lake, Prairie Island Park and Latsch Island. The goal of the Tour de Water is to highlight current and future bicycle infrastructure, recreational opportunities and environmental organizations working to keep our lakes, streams, and rivers healthy. Distances: 5,10, 15, 20 miles.


More details at www.mntrails.com/ events

May 30, 2020


Shooting Star Bike Ride

22nd Annual

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Explore Minnesota’s Shooting Star Trail and Iowa’s Wapsi Trail with rides of 20, 40, 55 and 70 miles.

Mama Marla’s Hike It or Bike It Clotho, MN

Starting in LeRoy, MN

May 16, 2020



Park Rapids, MN





This annual event has been held since 2001. Participants can run/walk 5k or 10k, go on a bike ride, or combine the two and compete in a duathlon.


May 16, 2020

This ride starts at Red Bridge Park on the Heartland Trail and celebrates the beginning of the ride season in Minnesota. It’s a free family event with music, entertainment and prize drawings. Kids will enjoy face painting and bike decorating. Distances are 2-10 miles with rest stop stations at Dorset and Nevis.


The Heywood Northfield MN

May 16, 2020



May 16, 2020

The Heywood gravel cycling event offers challenging, beautiful routes of 50, 110, 170, and 380 miles through beautiful, rural southeastern Minnesota.

Bike MS: Twin Cities Saint Paul, MN


May 17, 2020

Bike MS: Twin Cities Ride is a fundraiser for world free from Multiple Sclerosis and a must-do for any cyclist. Routes for all skill levels: 10, 25 and 45 miles.

Pedal at your own pace


Explore Itasca Park on two wheels

Cruise the Heartland Trail


Le Grand Du Nord Grand Marais, MN

May 23, 2020

Challenging gravel race along the shores of Lake Superior with more than 5,500 feet of climbs. Distances: 20, 54, 110 miles.

www.mntrails.com/event/le-grand-du-nord Minnesota Trails

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Bike Events Lumberjacks & Loons Bike Tour

Twin Cities Tour de Cure

Tour de Pepin

May 31-June 7, 2020 June 21-28, 2020 August 17-24, 2020

June 6, 2020

June 6, 2020

Northern Minnesota

An at-your-own pace ride through northern Minnesota, following the Mississippi River through history, wildlife, and local folklore. Tour starts and ends in Minneapolis and stops in Park Rapids, Bemidji, Walker and Grand Rapids. Distances: 18 to 44 miles a day.


Minneapolis, MN

A day full of fun and excitement where riders of all levels join forces and raise funds for diabetes research, education and advocacy in support of the American Diabetes Association. Part of the event are a 10k and 5k walk/run. Distances: 10, 18, 26, 45, 62, 100 miles


Lake City, MN

Begin your tour in historic Lake City and get a marvelous, glimpse of the most extensive river delta in the Midwest. You make your way through rolling farmland and wooded countryside en route to Stockholm, WI, where the Pearl of the Lake paddleboat will take you across Lake Pepin, back to Lake City. Distances: 32, 50, 72, 100 miles.



Brainerd, MN

June 6, 2020

5, 10, 15, and 20 miles

Ride the beautiful Brainerd Lakes Area

Saturday, June 6, 2020 36 or 66 miles


“An urban ride around picturesque Winona, MN!”

Experience the beautiful Brainerd Lakes area as you ride past lakes and forests on low-traffic roads and rolling to flat terrain. This ride promises an abundance of beautiful scenery, fresh air and terrific rest stops. The Tour of Lakes is a one day recreational, not for-profit bicycle tour hosted by the Paul Bunyan Cyclists Bicycle Club. Any surplus revenue is used to promote safe cycling. Distances: 35 and 70 miles.


Tour de Water

May 30, 2020


Believe In Me Bike Ride Rochester, MN

June 13, 2020

This ride takes you through some of the beautiful wide-open spaces surrounding Rochester, Minnesota. There is a ride for every level. Choose one of two Family Fun Rides and get your whole family moving together. Distances: 6,14-mile trail ride, 34, 62, 80,102-mile road route, 43-mile gravel route.


Bike MS: MS 150 Proctor, MN

June 13-14, 2020

Bike MS: MS 150 Ride is a three-day event with two days of riding. Cyclists travel 150 miles from Proctor to the Twin Cities for one cause: a world free of MS. Distances: 75 miles a day


Biking! Holdingford


Rates Greaat ckages &P E ONLIN

Home of the Lake Wobegon Trail Covered Bridge Explore the most scenic stretch of the Lake Wobegon and Soo Line Trails!

Visit us Online www.holdingfordmn.us Ad courtesy of City of Holdingford and Holdingford Municipal Liquor Cyclists Welcome!

26 Spring 2020

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Bike Events The Tour of Minnesota Hastings, MN

June 19-26, 2020

The 46th annual Tour of Minnesota, formerly the Klobuchar Bike Ride, will visit the towns of Hastings, Lake City, Winona, Wabasha and Red Wing this year. Daily trip length will vary, but riders will travel a total of 345 miles with one rest day.


The Dam2Dam Ride crosses the Mississippi River at Blanchard Dam. Jan Lasar photo


Bemidji, MN

June 14, 2020

Easy, paved trail ride around beautiful Lake Bemidji, features a rolling start time, food, music, and activities at rest stations along the way. Registration includes food, music, and photo ops on a scenic route. Distance: 17 miles.

Albany, MN

Hutchinson, MN

This is the annual “Beginning of Summer” ride on the trail and this year marks the 20th anniversary. Choose from three options: East to Avon, Collegeville and Saint Joseph, west to Freeport, and of course, north to Holdingford and the covered bridge, then on the Soo Line Trail to Bowlus and Blanchard Dam on the Mighty Mississippi River. As always the best Caramel Rolls you can find anywhere will be available at all the rest stops along the way!

This ride is hailed as one of the most scenic and hospitable rides in Minnesota. With four ride options, this ride is perfect for families, novice bike riders, and experienced riders. Back by popular demand this year is the 75K Gravel Grinder; perfect for those who love to ride on gravel! All rides begin and end at the Crow River Winery, which connects with the Luce Line Trail via a 1/4 mile packed gravel trail. TCBC approved outreach ride Distances: 12, 25, 50 miles and a 75km gravel option.

June 13, 2020





50 Have ride photos to share? jan@mntrails.com MILES 50 50



View Our Menu Online www.attheblacknwhite.com

25 25 MILES






Little Falls, MN

June 20, 2020

Follow the Great River Road through Charles A. Lindbergh State Park to historic Blanchard Dam and enjoy miles of Mississippi riverfront and quiet back roads with two rest stops. The Dam2Dam Bike Ride is a great way to experience the Mississippi River and the Little Falls area and it’s free! Sign up on the day of the event. Distances: 20, 40 miles.







A Rotary Sponsored Ride for Water Carnival 75K

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June 9 , 2019

June 9 , 2019 June 9 , 2019 June 2019 June 99 , ,2019 June 14 , 2020 10 , 2018 3 Paved Bike Rides 3 Paved Bike Rides


12 12 12 MILES

Le Cordon Bleu trained chefs

June 20, 2020

A Rotary Sponsored Ride for Water Carnival


116 First Street Southeast Little Falls, MN 56345 (320) 632-5374

Large selection of Minnesota craft beers and wines from family-owned vineyards.




A. T.

116 First Street Southeast Little Falls, MN 56345 (320)BLACK 632-5374 & WHITE THE




12 12 MILES


3 Paved Bike Rides 3 Paved BikeRides Rides 3 Paved Bike 12 / 25 /Miles 50 Miles 12 /1225 /Bike 50 Paved Rides 12 / 25 / 3 50 / 25 / 50Miles Miles 12 / 25 / 50 Miles Plus Gravel Grinder Plus 75K75K Gravel Grinder Plus 75K GravelGrinder Grinder Plus 75K Gravel Plus 75K Gravel








Plus 75K Gravel Grinder


Start & Finish at Crow River Winery Start & Finish at Crow Winery Start &River Finish at Crow River Winery Start & Finish River Start Winery Start & Finishat at Crow Crow River Winery Fully Supported Ride - TCBC Outreach Ride Fully Supported Ride - TCB Fully Supported Ride - TCBC Outreach Approved Ride Fully Supported Fully Supported RideApproved - TCBC Outreach Approved Ride Fully Su Fully Supported Ride - TCBC Outreach Approved Ride Fully Supported Ride - TCBC Outreach Approved Ride Ride Fully Fully&Supported Ride - TCBC Approved Register at RegisterRegister at Hutchinso Register at HutchinsonRotary.org Regist Map registration available atOutreach HutchinsonRotary.org Register atHutchinsonRotary.org HutchinsonRotary.org at HS

Register at HutchinsonRotary.org Register at HutchinsonRotary.org















Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce & Tourism

800.572.6689 info@explorehutchinson.com Minnesota Trails

A Rotary Sponsored Ride forSponsored Water Carnival A Rotary Ride for Water Carnival




25 75K











GRAVEL A Rotary Sponsored Ride for Water Carnival GRINDER HUTCHINSON, MN Ride for Water HUTCHINSON, MNCarnival A Rotary Sponsored



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ExploreHUTCHINSON.com 2019 June 9th3,Paved 3 PavedJune Bike Rides Rides , 2019 9thBike HUTCHINSON, MN 12 / 25 / 50 Miles 12 #MuchInHutch / 25 / 50 Miles 12 GRINDER







June 9 , 2019

3 Paved Bike Rides Plus 75K GravelPlus Grinder 75K Gravel th Grinder

Bike Rides 12 / 25 3/ Paved 50 Miles Start & Finish at Crow Winery Start &River Finish at50 Crow River Winery Spring 2020 27 12 / 25 / Miles Plus 75K Gravel Grinder Plus 75K Gravel Grinder

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Start & Finish at Crow River Winery Register at HutchinsonRotary.org Register at HutchinsonRotary.org Start &12 Finish River Winery / 25at/Crow 50 Miles 2003MNTrails.indd 27








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Bike Events


Avon, MN

June 20, 2020

New Loop Trail & Bike Rental

Browns Creek/Gateway State Trailhead near Main Street boutiques and restaurants Stay Overnight New Main Street Hotels & Vacation Rentals

Bike Map Included

See the Minnesota State Flower, the Pink and White Showy Lady’s Slipper in full bloom. This is a short ride to see the beautiful Lady’s Slipper orchids growing along the Lake Wobegon Trail. It’s a free ride, but donations will be accepted. Distance: 6 miles


Minnesota Iron Man Bike Ride Shakopee, MN

June 20, 2020

Minnesota’s oldest bike ride returns with a new venue and a family-friendly ride option on the Minnesota River Valley Trail. Distances: 5, 37, 100 miles and 110km



Le Roy, MN

June 20, 2020

Take a ride through Minnesota’s prairies. All routes are fully supported with rest stops and SAG support and are either a combination of trail and hard surface county roads or trail only. New this year: The 52 and 70-mile routes will be crossing into Iowa for a ride on the Wapsi Great Western Line Trail for an interstate experience. A southern Minnesota family favorite. Distances: 52, 70 miles on a combination of road and trail. 20, 40 miles on the Shooting Star Trail only.


Lutsen 99er Lutsen, MN

Order a 2020 Visitor’s Guide: DiscoverStillwater.com

June 26-29, 2020

This racecourse takes advantage of the scenery and topography of Minnesota’s North Shore. It starts at Lutsen Ski Resort, in Minnesota’s Sawtooth Mountains, overlooking majestic Lake Superior on roads and trails that see as much moose traffic as people traffic. Distances: 19, 39, 69, 99 miles


Tour D’Amico Golden Valley, MN

July 4, 2020

This annual ride is sponsored by the Hiawatha Bicycling Club and D’Amico’s Restaurant. Routes cover western metro area. Entry fee includes tasty Italian lunch at ride conclusion. Multiple supported rest stops with refreshments. Distances: 21, 29, 41, 62 miles.


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Bike Events

River Towns Tour

Heck Epic

Tour de Bun Bike Classic

July 12-17, 2020

July 17-19, 2020

July 25, 2020

Hastings, MN

A six-day, 200-mile bike adventure on both sides of the Mississippi River. From Hastings to Red Wing, along Lake Pepin, through Wabasha and Winona and Lacrosse, you’ll enjoy the sights, roads and trails. Return motor coach trip to Hastings included.


Tour of Saints St. Joseph, MN

July 12, 2020

It’s not a race. It’s a heavenly little ride. From cities across Minnesota and neighboring states, each year cyclists gather in St. Joseph to wind their way along quiet byways and rolling hills. Distances: 18, 35, 50 miles.


Habitat 500 Bike Ride Location TBD

July 12-18, 2020

The Habitat 500 is a bicycle ride and fundraiser that covers 500 miles over the course of 7 days. Each rider raises funds from family members, friends, businesses, and church/community groups and designates them to the local or global Habitat for Humanity office they wish to support.


Two Harbors, MN

Montgomery, MN

Three-day bikepaking stage race mostly on gravel and forest roads. Racers carry their own overnight gear. Distances: 336 miles total.


Tour de Camden Minneapolis, MN

July 18, 2020

A family-friendly tour around Minneapolis’ Camden neighborhood, hosted by the Shingle Creek Neighborhood Association.

Ride your bike in the heart of Minnesota Czech Country in scenic Le Sueur County. Each route will have refreshment stops at various points and will provide scenic rural countryside on paved, lightly traveled roads. After the tour, riders will have plenty of time to participate in all the Kolacky Days weekend festivities. Distances: 15, 35, 50 miles.



Bike MS: Ride Across

The Minnesota North Shore Tour

July 26-31, 2020

Duluth, MN

July 25-30, 2020

This tour is 100% along the shore of Lake Superior, from Duluth to the Canada border. You’ll enjoy overnight stays in Two Harbors, Beaver Bay and Lutsen, and finally in Grand Marais. There’s great cycling along Highway 61. Distance: 160 miles.


Minnesota | Rochester, MN

This ride will take you farther than you’ve ever gone before. Riders will travel through picturesque scenery and experience the rich history of Minnesota while raising funds to fight MS. Choose to ride a three-day route or take on the full five days.


Have ride photos to share? jan@mntrails.com

Open year round

For our guests hitting the trails a boxed breakfast is available.

2810 Meyers Bay Road, Grand Rapids, MN 218-999-5795 • www.greenheronbandb.com

August 1-8 | candak.net

135 Miles of paved trail,

But who’s counting? mesabitrail.com

Starting and ending in Carrington, ND

One week and 400+ miles. Minnesota Trails

2003MNTrails.indd 29

Register for the Great River Energy Mesabi Trail Tour—held Saturday August 1, 2020. Spring 2020 29

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Bike Events CANDAK

Carrington, ND

August 1-8, 2020

This ride carries on the tradition of the CANDISK ride of North Dakota with daily routes ranging from 35 to 70 miles and a century option through North Dakota’s unforgettable scenery.


Tour de Tonka Minnetonka, MN

August 1, 2020

Tour de Tonka is a scenic bike ride that travels through the Lake Minnetonka area and its surrounding communities. With 8 different route options from 8 to 100 miles, there is a ride for everyone.


Explore the Minneapolis parks and byway system by bike on the Minneapolis Bike Tour. Minneapolis Parks photo



Gitchi-Gami Trail Ride

August 1, 2020

August 1, 2020

The Central Lakes and Lake Wobegon Trails offer some of the best trail riding in the state of Minnesota and this is your chance to conquer both of them in one day! You’ll board a luxury coach bus in Saint Joseph early in the morning and you and your bike get shuttled to the start in Fergus Falls. All you have to do is enjoy the 100-mile ride back. Watch the scenery change from countless sparkling glacial lakes on the Central Lakes Trail to the green fields and dairy farms of the of the Lake Wobegon Trail as you cruise this central Minnesota gem of a trail system. Rest stops in communities along the way will keep you fed and hydrated and, best of all, the whole ride is just a little bit downhill. Registration is limited to 50 riders.

August 15, 2020

Mesabi Trail

Enjoy this unique riding experience on northeast Minnesota’s premier paved bike trail. Entry includes a t-shirt, picnic dinner and music at finish, rest stops with food and entertainment, transportation for riders and their bicycles. Experience the Iron Range’s mining history from the seat of your bike. Distances: 10, 24, 51, 72 miles.


Fergus Falls, MN



Duluth, MN

August 7-9, 2020

The Kraus-Anderson Bike Duluth Festival is a Minnesota biking event you don’t want to miss. Get ready to celebrate the world-class Duluth mountain bike trails at Spirit Mountain with three days of action-packed events.




Enjoy a supported, recreational ride on the Gitchi-Gami State Trail along Lake Superior’s scenic North Shore. You’ll get up close and personal with some superior views, be serenaded by waterfalls and wind through multiple state parks. Snacks, t-shirts and SAG are provided. Distances: 8, 28, 37, 55 miles.


Red Ribbon Ride Minneapolis, MN

August 21-23, 2020

Red Ribbon Ride is a fully-supported three-day bicycle event to raise vital funds for HIV/AIDS services, treatment, prevention and awareness. This year’s ride will be traveling from Minneapolis to Forest Lake, Camp One Heartland Center, and ending in Duluth.


Bikes4Kids Legacy Ride Maple Grove

August 22, 2020

A Bikes 4 Kids fundraiser ride through Elm Creek Park Reserve’s beautiful trail system. Distances: 5, 15, 25 miles.


Bicycling Around Minnesota (BAM)

Paul’s Bacon Ride #3

August 13-16, 2020

You’ll ride with friends, visiting the trail towns of Merrifield, Nisswa and Pequot Lakes with bacon stops along the way and lots of cold Minnesota craft beer and drinks to wash it down. Registration includes bacon-themed breakfast and lunch, bacon stops along the route, drink specials, ride t-shirt and SAG. Distance: 45 miles.

Ottertail, MN


Gooseberry Falls State Park

BAM is heading to west central Minnesota to visit Alexandria, Fergus Falls and Detroit Lakes this year. Distances: average 65 miles daily.


Brainerd, MN

August 29, 2020



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Bike Events


RIDEMN1-Minnesota Crossing

Headwaters 100

September 12, 2020

September 13-18, 2020

September 26, 2020

Sauk Centre, MN

Enjoy the fall colors and great apple refreshments at all the rest stops including caramel apples and other treats from local vendors. Spend the day riding the great Lake Wobegon Trail Country.


Taste of the Trail September 12, 2020

Lanesboro, Whalan, Peterson, MN

September 19, 2020

Fountain, Preston, Harmony, MN

September 26, 2020

Houston, Rushford Area, MN Three consecutive weekends each feature a different selection of towns. Each community will give you a taste of their town with different activities, food and music. Enjoy what is special about each town while you pedal your way through the beauty of Bluff County along the Root River.


Jesse James Bike Tour Northfield, MN

September 12, 2020

This fabulous bike tour is an official event of Defeat of Jesse James Days, one of Minnesota’s largest community celebrations and the best century ride around. Distances: 10, 30, 45, 100 miles


PurpleRideStride Saint Paul, MN

September 12, 2020

This year the event will take participants on a route at Harriet Island Park. PurpleRideStride includes two bike routes, a 5K run/walk, and a 1-mile familyfriendly walk. Distances: 8, 25 miles.


More details at www.mntrails.com/ events

Breckenridge, MN

RideMN1 holds an annual bicycle ride across Minnesota to raise awareness and raise funds for cancer research. This year they visit Breckenridge, Pelican Rapids, Wadena, Crosslake, Aitkin, Mille Lacs Kathio and St.Croix State Parks There’s optional pre-ride camping and a dinner in Breckenridge the day before.


Park Rapids, MN

The premier fall event in Northern Minnesota, the Headwaters 100 has something for everyone. Distances: 45, 75, 100 miles.


Tour de Hugo Hugo, MN

September 26, 2020


Minneapolis, MN

September 20, 2020

The Minneapolis Bike Tour starts and ends at beautiful Boom Island and features multiple fully supported routes that take riders through the spectacular park and byway system of Minneapolis at their own pace, traffic free. Distances: 3.5, 19, 32 miles.


Mora Bike Tour

Explore the beautiful variety of landscapes that Minnesota has to offer! Catch glimpses of lakes and ponds as you tour through prairie, farmlands, and forests. The rides start and finish at Hugo City Hall. Distances: 6, 20, 35, 50, 62 miles


Heck of the North Two Harbors, MN

September 26, 2020

Race on rugged and beautiful gravel and forest roads near Two Harbors. Distances: 20, 50, 100 miles.


Mora, MN

September 19, 2020

The annual Mora Bike Tour will start and finish at the Vasaloppet Nordic Center and will offer routes around the Mora countryside on hard surface rural country roads with gentle, rolling hills. Distances: 25, 50 miles


The Filthy 50 Lanesboro, MN

October 10, 2020

The Filthy 50 is an unsupported, timed gravel bike event through scenic bluff country. You can ride at a leisurely pace or race to challenge yourself.


Ride the Ridges Winona, MN

September 19, 2020

Ride the Ridges will take riders through some of the most scenic areas in southeastern Minnesota, from lush valleys along streams to bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. Four routes, ranging from short to a century. Each route has hills and valleys and spectacular views. All routes have well-stocked rest stops featuring local delicacies. Rider amenities include a long-sleeve t-shirt, meal coupon, free showers, and SAG support. Distances: 18, 42, 62, 106 miles




Right Lakes Trail Trail Right off off the the Central Lakes N. Nokomis 419 N.419 Nokomis Street,Street Alexandria

Don’t miss PRESTON P T Trout Days

May 15th-17th www.troutdays.com

Enjoy more than 60+ miles of paved trails!

#GetHookedOnPreston #PrestonMN

www.gethookedonpreston.com | 507-765-2100

Minnesota Trails

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Trails Q & A

Steve Bilben Walker, MN

Occupation: Retired Dentist

Seen: Riding the Walker Loop of the Paul Bunyan Trail through the Chippewa National Forest.

Gear: Green Gary Fisher Tassajara 21-speed mountain bike, converted for trail riding. What’s your favorite part about riding your bike? Fresh air and seeing things at 10 to 15 miles an hour instead of at 50 or 60.

How often do you ride the Walker Loop? This is my 16th time this year and it’s only the end of June. What’s your favorite bike trail? The combination of the Paul Bunyan and Heartland Trail in this area. Have you been to any other trails? Very few, I like riding this trail.

Best trail experience: The day we completed the Shingobee Connection Trail in Walker. I was the coordinator and came up with the idea for a connecting trail.

Snapshots of people we meet along the trail

Mary Gustafson

Molly Hangarten

Occupation: Park Naturalist at Forestville / Mystery Cave State Park. Seen: Leading the “Scenic Tour” of Mystery Cave. What makes this park special to you? Variety. We have arctic disjunct biomes here. Algific talus is where the cool air of caves and cracks in the rocks creates microclimates for colder weather plants and animals, including very rare snails. That’s Cool! Favorite spot at the park: The outcrop of St. Peter Sandstone. It extends from Fort Snelling to Arkansas. Best park experience: Good dialog with my tour visitors, where I learn from them. Worst park experience: A tour group where no one responded to my stories or questions, except the baby who screamed the entire way. Gear tip: Wear warm clothes and closed toe shoes. Trail Treat: Any apple except Red Delicious. Advice to park visitors: Reserve your tour, be prepared and on time. Advice to the aspiring naturalist: Take classes in theater. You’ll need to be on stage as a naturalist, talking to many people.

Occupation: Artist working in oils, acrylics and glass. Seen: Taking the pothole tour at Interstate State Park. Gear: Camera and a sketch book and plein air set-up for on-thespot painting. Favorite spot at the park: Angle Rock. Favorite spot in all of Minnesota: The Boundary Waters. Gear tip: Invest in good walking shoes. Best park experience: Hearing Elk bugle in Rocky Mountain National Park. Worst park experience: I was seventeen on a girlscout trip when bears raided our campsite in the Boundary Waters. With $1,000 I would: Give it to the homeless. Trail treat: Good Old Raisins and Peanuts (GORP) with chocolate. Advice to park visitors: Slow down! Look at the shades of green, not just the all green forest.

Mantorville, MN


Worst trail experience: I slipped and fell when I did the Chippewa Triathlon on the MiGiZi Trail in Cass Lake. Nothing serious.

Favorite Minnesota place: Walker on Leech Lake. Trail Treat: A root beer float from the Laporte grocery store.

What would you do with $1,000? I’d probably send it to the Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota.

Lafayette, Colorado

Mairi Doerr Kenyon, MN

Occupation: DNR Park Ranger at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park and caretaker at Mallard Island on Rainy Lake for the Ernest Oberholtzer Foundation.

Seen: Doing campground security at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Favorite spot at the park: Hike from Hidden Falls to highpoint of park on the Fawn Trail plus the prairies where the kestrels are. Where are the kestrels? Go to the prairie on the southern border of the park.

Best park experience: Any day doing chainsaw work!

Worst park experience: Battling invasive garlic mustard. It’s an 8-hour a day, multiple day job. Advice to park visitors: Go to the falls, but keep going to other limestone outcroppings and the prairies.

Advice to the novice cyclist: Go get fitted at a bike shop and start out slow. Maybe don’t ride what we locals call The Pyrenees, the Paul Bunyan Trail section through the Chippewa Forest, the first time out. Future Minnesota plans: I’ve pretty much done it all, but I’d like to get some fall bow hunting in around here. 32 Spring 2020

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y t i l i b i s s e c c A

According to current counts by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Minnesota’s 75 state parks and recreation areas see an average of 9,700,000 visitors each year. It’s no secret that we love being outdoors to hike, bike, fish and camp. Exploring a state park under your own power is fun and a great way to exercise. And for those with limited mobility, experiencing the natural wonders of a Minnesota park doesn’t have to mean just watching others. Minnesota state parks provide fulfilling experiences for visitors of all abilities, be it a hike through a grove of red pines, a paddle down a state water trail or a relaxing weekend around the campfire.

Concrete ramps allow access to the swinging bridge at Jay Cooke State Park.


Twenty-nine state parks have broad, paved hiking Accessible fishing pier trails most of which are less than three miles long with at William smooth and level surfaces. Formed in a loop, these trails O’Brien enable visitors to experience the park’s character on foot or State Park. by wheelchair. Big Bog State Recreation Area features a boardwalk to a pond site outfitted with benches and a spotting scope. Crow Wing, Franz Jevne, Schoolcraft and William O’Brien State Parks have trails along prominent Minnesota rivers. Grand Portage State Park provides a one-mile, wheelchair-accessible visit to the High Falls on the Pigeon River, Minnesota’s highest waterfall. Another North Shore favorite, Gooseberry Falls State Park, provides paved access to both the Upper and Middle Falls with switchbacks and benches along the route. Nearby, the Temperance River Trail offers flat surfaces for taking breaks along the falls. At Jay Cooke State Park, a wheelchair-friendly approach to the swinging bridge allows views of the raging Saint Louis River below. Both Gooseberry and Jay Cooke State Parks provide wheelchairs for day use at no charge. STATE TRAILS

Minnesota’s 22 paved state trails each provide flat, accessible paths, at least for segments of their routes. The undulating Root River Trail, for example, has a 19-mile, wheelchair and handcycle friendly segment between Lanesboro and Rushford with spectacular views of the river and its bluffs. In the Cuyuna State Recreation Area, the 11-mile Cuyuna Lakes State Trail connects the cities of Deerwood and Riverton and allows access to several scenic mine lakes along the way. All photos Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 34 Spring 2020

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in Minnesota’s Outdoors

by Tom Watson

HISTORIC/NATURAL FEATURES Some Minnesota state parks offer guided tours of the natural and historic sites within their boundaries and they’re not off limits to those who use a wheelchair. Both Blue Mounds and Minneopa State Park feature tours with opportunities to view gigantic bison up close from a vehicle. The Bison Bus Tour at Blue Mounds has a wheelchair lift to accommodate one guest while the road tour through the enclosed bison compound at Minneopa enables visitors to get a glimpse of these creatures from the car. The subterranean mine tour at Lake Vermilion/Soudan Underground Mine State Park means an elevator ride to 2, 341 feet below the surface, where guests board a miniature train to travel horizontally along an abandoned mine shaft. But that doesn’t mean those with limited mobility have to stay behind. This excursion is fully wheelchair accessible and the park can provide a chair better suited for the rough surfaces underground. At Hill Annex Mine State Park the Historic Mining Tour is also accessible by wheelchair and takes visitors on a 90-minute bus ride into the mine, the way the miners would have taken to work. Spelunkers of every age and ability can enjoy the Scenic Tour at Forestville Mystery Cave State Park. While its other cave tours are more challenging and strenuous, this program features cave mineral deposits, long corridors and underground pools of water - all wheelchair accessible along its 3/4-miles of paved trails and metal bridges. CAMPING

Most drive-up campsites in our state parks are easily accessible for use by campers of any age and ability. Many state park campgrounds also designate a few ADA-accessible sites, usually near ADA-compliant restroom facilities. However, these tend to be few and far between. Itasca State Park, for example, with over 220 campsites in its two designated campgrounds only shows four such sites on its maps. An appealing alternative to tent camping in nearly 30 state parks are rental cabins - from the basic camper cabin with bunk beds and simple tables and beds, to cottage-like, fully-furnished structures. St. Croix State Park, for example, offers a guesthouse and Itasca State Park features a variety of cabins and lodging options. FISHING/HUNTING

Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources provides public sport fishing piers around the state that provide hard surface access from parking areas to the docks. Many Wildlife Management Areas allow hunting on easily accessible plots around the state, ideally suited for those who enjoy the Tour vehicle with wheelchair sport, but are limited in the area they can cover. ramp at Blue Many special exemptions are available for hunters Mounds State with disabilities as well. Park. Several projects are going to add or improve facilities in the near future. This includes $10 million in upgrades to accessibility at both William O’Brien and Fort Snelling State Parks. Plans are also underway for additional development at Whitewater State Park. Last year, improvements to the beach area at Sibley State Park expanded accessibility to its swimming area. Minnesota state parks offer special permits and exemptions for those with disabilities and special needs. For complete information it’s best to contact each park individually to learn how you can safely and comfortably enjoy all of Minnesota’s outdoor treasures. Minnesota Trails

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Gooseberry Falls State Park

by Rudi Hargesheimer

It isn’t clear if the Gooseberry River got great views from all directions. The Middle it’s name from the Anishinabe word Shab- Falls and Upper Falls have wheelchair acceson-im-i-kan-i-sibi or the last name of French sible, paved trails to the best viewing spots. explorer and fur trader Medard Chouart des Wheelchairs are available at no charge. Groseilliers, both meaning the tart fruit of Eighteen miles of hiking trails loop the genus Ribes. through the park boundaries. The Superior Fact is the 23-mile long stream has carved Hiking Trail, a 310-mile footpath, crosses out an impressive set of waterfalls at its through Gooseberry Falls State Park on mouth over thousands of years and Goose- its way from Jay Cooke State Park to the berry Falls State Park on the shores of Lake US-Canada border. Northbound, it follows Superior takes the top spot in the state with the Gitchi-Gami State Trail. This bicycle trail more than 750,000 visitors in 2019. is a work in progress, but a paved section “The busiest weekends are the three travels between Gooseberry Falls State Park summer holidays, other weekends with nice and Silver Bay. weather between early July and mid-August, Among the park’s most appealing feaand fall color weekends from late Septem- tures are the historic buildings. The campber to mid-October,” Park Manager Audrey ground’s restrooms and picnic building, the Butts explains. In late September’s peak Lady Slipper Lodge, the water tower, the fall color time traffic on Highway 61 can be Lakeside Picnic Pavilion, the 300 foot “Castle bumper to bumper. More than 6,000 visitors in the Park” wall, the original Visitor Center view the falls on weekend days and shut- and several overlook shelters were all built tle buses transfer by Civilian Conserwaterfall watchers vation Corps workback and forth from ers in 1937, when the Visitor Center. Gooseberry Falls Quieter times inand nine other parks clude weekdays, eswere established pecially early or late all over the state. in the day, or visits These iconic, rusduring the slower tic-style stone and times of the season. log structures make “Either way, Goose- A calm Gooseberry River enters this park so loved berry has many Lake Superior by visitors from beautiful places to around the world. explore and enjoy, “ she says. The current modern-yet-rustic Visitor Center The loop trail to the Fifth Falls treat visi- was built in 1996. The original Visitor Center, tors to a fabulous park experience. It’s short, now empty, lost its utilities and plumbing 2.2 mile round trip from the Visitor Center connections to the rest of the park when a and the arching trail bridge above the falls or the rock ledges below the bridge next to the cascades, are welcoming places to stop and watch the Gooseberry River churn and roar on its way to Lake Superior. Near the Visitor Center, the main attractions are the Lower, Middle and Upper Falls, collectively plunging almost 100 feet down toward the lake. An easy loop trail with staircases circles around the multiple falls, with

Taking a break along the trail to Fifth Falls. Minnesota Trails

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The Lady Slipper Lodge. All photos Rudi Hargesheimer

new Highway 61 bridge was installed. Gooseberry Falls State park has 69 campsites, three group camp areas and four spots for winter camping for those who want to extend their stay beyond a daytime visit. There are 3 picnic areas including one on Picnic Flow, an extensive exposed slab-rock along the Lake Superior shoreline. Park naturalists offer an array of programs for visitors, including anything from snowshoe lacing classes, bird watching hikes, and rock identification outings. Every season at Gooseberry Falls is an experience in itself, but a trip during the slower seasons has special rewards. Winter use includes access to the North Shore State Trail for snowmobiling, miles of snowshoeing and excellent, groomed cross-country ski trails, both classic and skate styles. Seeing the frozen waterfalls in mid-winter offers a very different experience without the summer crowds. A visitor in April might witness the spring break-up when large chunks of ice tumble over the raging waterfalls. Come back in July and you may even find some Gooseberries.

The Superior Hiking Trail travels over the bridge at Fifth Falls. Spring 2020 35

3/5/20 6:58 AM

The Skate Central Lakes Endurance Festival comes to central Minnesota The Lake Wobegon and Central Lakes Trail system is known for being a destination for walkers, bikers, runners and inline skaters. It connects Waite Park and Fergus Falls with a continuous path that brings thousands of visitors to central Minnesota each year. They ride the Caramel Roll Ride and the Rail Trails 100, run the Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon and participate in a host of other community events. But last July a different group took advantage of the 120-mile stretch of this gentle, paved grade and held the first ever Skate Central Lakes Endurance Festival, which brought competitors from the US, Canada, Brazil and Germany to central Minnesota-on skateboards. The Skate International Distance and Supercross Association (SkateIDSA) organizes events in the US and countries around the world, but this is the first time a contest like it was held in Minnesota, with racers competing for the fastest

time over 200 miles in three days. On day one, 19 racers ages 20-56 left the Fergus Falls trailhead on the Central Lakes State Trail with the goal of reaching Saint Joseph, 106 miles away. The second competition day had everybody start in West Union to race 62 miles back to Fergus Falls. The final event was an out and back of 35 miles starting and ending in Fergus Falls. Calleigh Little from Vancouver, WA is president of SkateIDSA. She says she saw an ideal location for a long-distance race in the two central Minnesota trails when she biked them on a cross-country trip in 2018. Working with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Fergus Falls and Saint Cloud tourism bureaus, she put together an event that took nearly six months to plan and 10 volunteers to execute. All went as scheduled, she said, though some riders faced obstacles besides rainstorms and high winds. “We had four broken boards from [hitting cracks in the

by Jan Lasar

pavement], one hospitalization from a prior injury and a few DNFs (did not finish) due to the challenge of the course. But ultimately, some very accomplished racers truly laid it out on the line,” she said. It sounds simple to just jump on a board and go, but there’s a lot more to competitive skateboarding, both physically and mentally. “Realistically you don’t need anything more than four wheels and a board,” Little said. However, the skateboards used in a competition like this aren’t the ones you might be familiar with from your childhood and can cost up to $600. “These boards are incredibly technical,” she said. “From the angle of the trucks (wheel mounts) to the materials they’re made out of, the elite boards are fine tuned to the last component. Most distance riders will have a combination of brackets to extend the platform’s

Brandon, MN on the Central Lakes Trail. Burt Beavers photo

Daniel Gonzalez crosses the finish line. Eduardo Machado photo 36 Spring 2020

2003MNTrails.indd 36

Minnesota Trails

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wheelbase, which will give them a lower profile and lighter setup.” There’s a special technique to long distance skateboarding, too. “Many riders switch between pushing with their legs, and a form of pumping the board to undulate themselves along to save energy,” Little said. But even highly trained athletes struggle to keep up morale when attempting these ultra-long distance races. Little, a 12-year veteran of the scene and USA Women’s Ultraskate champion two years running, said, “It’s easy to fall apart when you think you’ll never hit the finish.” Ultimately, long-distance skateboard racing is a competitive sport, but there’s also camaraderie and that helps with

Holger Witzel crosses the finish line and is greeted by fellow racer Andrew Andras. Eduardo Machado photo

Not your average skateboard: the mental game. Especially Racing skateboards are highly when racers cheer each technical and fine tuned. other on. Chuck Fritz Burt Beavers photo from Des Moines, IA, has experience with longdistance running and biking events and competed in the Arrowhead 135 Winter Ultra Race. About a month before the Skate Central Lakes Race he decided to buy a skateboard and compete in the Minnesota event, just to try it. “I was the last person to finish on 2020 Skate Central Lakes Friday and Andrew Andras, who finished first, met me out on the trail Endurance Festival and finished the last mile with me,” he said and praised the other racers for waiting at the finish line until he rolled across. “I’ve done a lot of www.skatecentrallakes.com events, that’s not how it always I was talking to them on the Internet works,” he added. Eduardo Machado from Brazil and now I am friends with them. started street skateboarding and This is the big trophy for me,” he said. learned skateboarding tricks as a The heat, rain and wind he encountered teenager. Now in his mid-thirties, during the race made for tough he said long-distance skateboarding conditions, but he plans to do it again. “This Minnesota race is the best race I is his way to challenge himself and to beat his own time. This attitude ever did and I need to do it next year, for earned him an 8th place finish, but sure,” he said. Just like Fritz and Machado, Little he didn’t come to Minnesota just to compete. It was about making thinks it’s about more than logging miles personal connections, too, and in the fastest time possible. She calls to meet some of the racers he’s her growing sport “an inspiring form of only known from photographs competition” that brings together a small, before. “When you are in another but tightly knit group. “Joining the long country you see those guys with distance skateboard community,” she their trophies and the amazing things said, “is like being adopted into a family they do and you realize ‘maybe, someday, of crazy, loving, dedicated people.” I can ride side by side with those guys’.

July 31-Aug 2

Eduardo Machado photo Minnesota Trails

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