10 Best Mountain Biking Trails in Minnesota

There are so many interesting things about mountain biking trails out there. To have an authentic bike culture, a town will need to have more than just high quality trails. It needs to have new trail developments, a bucket-list ride, and a variety of outdoor recreation. 

The state of Minnesota has many lush forests and glaciated ridges and this offers a fantastic area for bike trails. There are various adventure regions from the trail systems that surround the twin cities to the region that surrounds Duluth. It does not matter if you are looking for cross country, downhill, or leisure ride after work; there are leisure rides for everyone. 

1. Welch Village Ski-resort

Welch Village Ski-resort
©mnbiketrailnavigator

The Welch Ski Area is in paved Cannon Valley Bike Trail which connects Cannon Falls and Red Wing, MN. It is also home to the Tubing operation and Welch Mill Canoe. The park opened its doors on July 15th 2017. The site has slopes for the beginners, intermediate and the expert skiers or snowboarders. 

The facility has a very large chalet that has two cafeteria-style restaurants. One of the chalets serves alcohol near its triple lift on the eastern side of the ski-resort. Moreover, it will offer you more than 40 runs for mountain bikers. 

2. Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Lebanon Hills Regional Park
©Enjoy Eagan

Lebanon hills Regional Park is split between East and West sections and it comprises of over 2,000 acres of land. The area caters for many different types of recreational activities. If you visit the east end you can rent kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards to explore O’Brian Lake. Additionally, there are many more water bodies that surround the Lebanon hills.

However, for those who are looking for mountain biking, the west side is the one that is worth visiting. It is built and maintained by Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC) which is a non-profit organization. The Lebanon Hills feature about twelve miles of beautifully manicured single tracks. The routes range from beginner-friendly to sections that are full of logs, drops, and rock gardens.

It does not matter what skill level you are in, a recommended route known as the Lake Loop follows a hilly contour that is on a well-engineered trail. Moreover, you do all this as you enjoy the view of the lakeside landscape. There is nothing more eye catching in the area than the beautiful view of the lake. 

What’s more, the trails of Lebanon hills are well marked. Having the marks makes it very easy to navigate on the one-way routes and intersections that are many on the trail system. The area has a new shelter and restroom that is built near the parking area. Additionally, if you are looking for a place to relax and refuel during a full day of riding then this Lebanon Hills is the place to visit.

3. Theodore Wirth Regional Park

Theodore Wirth Regional Park
©Explore Minnesota

If you are looking to get rad within the city, the best place to visit is Theodore Wirth Park. It is located on the western edge of North Minneapolis. The Theodore Wirth Park has a wooded, rustic environment that will make you easily forget you are in the city. Nonetheless, as you continue enjoying the biking trails you will still be able to see the Minneapolis skyline.

Theodore Wirth Trails have frequent switchbacks and snug trees, which mean it, can be a thriller or cakewalk depending on your speed. It is one of the best places where you practice your bike handling, and it is a place where you can boost your confidence and fall in love with bike riding again. 

The trails at this regional park range from flowy and smooth, to twisty and tight, and there are the hard features such as log skinnies and rock gardens. The south and north loops twist through the rock gardens and trees and they are very walkable for beginners, or ridable at speed. The southwest loop has smooth berms that give a looser feeling, a few drops, and rollers to keep you on your toes. If you are looking for a roller coaster sensation you should visit the Glenwood Loop. 

After going through the punchy climb, you can ride downhill via a series of high-speed berms and finish right where you started. Theodore Wirth Trails has an outdoor center known as the Trailhead. It is ideal for bicycle rentals, post-ride meals, and bike repairs. Trail maps, water, lockers, studio classes, showers, and a sauna are also available. 

4. Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Biking Trail

Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Biking Trail
©Explore Minnesota

For any rider who gets a chance to visit the Cuyuna Lakes are given encouragement to shred through the red that is on the first-class mountain trails that are everywhere in the area. The site is built on the grounds of an abandoned iron mine. The soils of Cuyuna Lakes are mineral rich and are bound to leave a red tinge on your bicycle tire.

The trail of Cuyuna Lakes is almost 25 miles and most of it is on a fairly flat surface. However, the red tread marks are not the only color that you will find on the Cuyuna Lake pallets. You will also find that there are turquoise mining lakes, and birch and aspen trees that overlook the mountain bike trails. 

The Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Biking Trail is part of the newly adopted Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area. It provides many opportunities for other activities other than mountain biking. Moreover, there are those that visit the area especially when it comes to fat biking during the winter seasons. The site is under the State Recreation area that oversees everything that happens there.

5. Minnesota River Bottoms

Minnesota River Bottoms
©MinnPost

The River Bottoms in Minnesota consists of over 17 miles of both single and double track that hug the edges of the majestic Minnesota River. It has an enchanting canopy of green greets riders who mosey through the River Bottom Trails. The River stretches from Fort Snelling State Park to Bloomington.

You will ride freely through the trees under the graffiti-adorned highway underpasses, shockingly green walls, and tall horsetail reeds during summer. River Bottoms Minnesota is quite relaxed has a flat surface it is also perfect for family dirt excursions, solo trip, and adventure date. If you are looking for a workout, there are swaths of washed-up sand that will afford ample opportunities to drop into a lower gear and work your heart. 

If you venture deeper into the site you will encounter iconic wooden rafts installed to assist the bikers across areas that flood during certain seasons. The experience is priceless and the scenery is something to behold. Due to its location, the site is more natural and wild than most of the trails in the Twin Cities. Swans, great blue herons, eagles and hawks are spotted in the area and add to the splendor of the trail.

6. Piedmont Bike Trails

Piedmont Bike Trails
©E-R0B REICH Youtube

The Piedmont Bike Trails serve as the launching point for Minnesota rugged North Shore. Duluth happens to be the recreational capital of Minnesota. Piedmont is well known for Grandma’s marathon, sailing, agate hunting, dog sled races, and cross country hikes.

Nonetheless, with all the great things that you can do in Piedmont, mountain biking remains one of the most popular with tourists. There are plenty of trails for one to explore thanks to the Cyclist of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS). 

Piedmont Bike Trails serves Wisconsin, Minnesota and Superior, and Duluth. Cyclist of Gitchee Gumee Shores is responsible for generating over seven trail systems in the locality. You can easily access the Piedmont Biking Trail through the Skyline Parkway that is above the Zenith City. 

The spectacular view of Piedmont Bike Trail winds for almost ten miles with views changing from St. Louis River to Lake Superior. The difficulty in trails will vary from handlebar jostling descents and easy riding intermediate loops. There is the Brewer Park that connects through the Haines Road and it will offer you extra extension to the trails.

Additionally, Brewer Park has a heart pounding section that is referred to as “kissing booth” and it features crash landings, switchbacks, and rock drops. Moreover, they are developing Duluth Traverse at COGGS which will connect Brewer Park bike trail and piedmont with others that are found in the area. This will create a non-stop bike trek that is 40 miles long. With this kind of trail you will truly get a chance to test your legs. 

7. Lake Wobegon Trail

Lake Wobegon Trail
©Explore Minnesota

Lake Wobegon Trail is a 62 mile route that is flat and weaves through central Minnesota, dairy farms, rural towns, streams, and lakes. The trail is in the North of St.Cloud. Many of the towns are linked by paved Lake Wobegon trail and this allows the cyclists to have a peaceful ride through the countryside. The towns that are found along the trail are a major step away from the hustle and bustle of cities. 

The trail is Y shaped, running about 50 miles from Sauk centre with another heading northeast from Albany. The trail’s northern arm travels across lush farmlands and views of quilted fields, gurgling streams and rolling hills. A trailhead that has parking and restrooms makes a good starting point for your biking adventure.

After about 10 miles you will get to the village of Holdingford which is the gateway to Lake Wobegon. Riders will follow the trail through the barn-red covered bridge that is built over an old railroad trestle. 

8. Paul Bunyan State Trail

Paul Bunyan State Trail
©TripAdvisor

 It is the best place for long, leisurely, flat ride through Minnesota Lakes Region. The site has an area of 115 miles of beautiful and scenic trailways. It is the longest continuous paved rail-trail in the United States. The long and well paved trails make it accessible and stunning.

 It extends all the way from Crow Wing Park up to Lake Bemidji State Park in the North of Minnesota. The park was inducted into the Rail Trail Hall of Fame which is quite an achievement. As you go along the trails you will see spy loons swimming in the lakes nearby. 

Moreover, there are many endless and verdant pine trees that are found along the long stretches. If you want an extra dose of the Midwestern kitsch, you should stop in Hackensack which is home of a chainsaw carving contest that takes place every September. It is also here that visitors get time to view the famed statue of Lucette, who was Paul Bunyan’s sweetheart. 

Behind the statue, you can take the pier into Lake Birch and have yourself a meal at the famous Udoms as they serve the best Thai food before you continue down the trail.

9. Elm Creek Park Reserve

Elm Creek Park Reserve
©Three Rivers Park District

 It covers an area of 4,000 acres and this makes Elm Creek Park Reserve the largest within the Three Rivers Park District of Northwest Minneapolis. The mountain biking trails are one of those that pull the biggest crowds to the site. 

It has a 12 mile single track to explore and it is very ideal for beginners as the space is sufficient for everyone to share. The mountain bike trails in this park follow a woody path before you venture into a vast, open prairie. There are several scenic views of grass and woodlands along the way. The trails are maintained through partnership with Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC). 

The trailhead for the amazing mountain biking is the northeast section of the park, it is popular among hikers, bikers, trail runners and this means the place is crowded most of the time. It is a thirty minute drive from downtown Minneapolis to get to the trailhead. The facility encourages carpooling.

10. Gitchi-Gami State Trail

Gitchi-Gami State Trail
©Minnesota Trails

Gitchi-Gami State Trail is ideal for those who are looking for the best Lakeside Views. The 88-mile paved trail connects two harbors to Grand Marais. It passes through five state parks along the way. Cyclists get an opportunity to pass through aspen forests and birch, cross numerous waterfalls and cascades as you travel through historic towns. 

What’s more, you will see many of the Lake Superiors beaches. Available trail segments vary from 1 to nearly 15 miles. The new addition makes riding on the North Shore exceedingly easy and interesting. Ensure you allot some time to see the famous Gooseberry Falls State Park, which is one of the most visited parks in Minnesota. 

Conclusion

If you are looking for exciting outdoor activities, especially mountain biking, Minnesota is the place to visit. Much of the outdoors fun will be found in the National Park system and Minnesota’s extensive State. For the best base camp and mountain biking adventure, both Duluth and Minneapolis will provide you with quick access to the many beautiful and different trails in the area.