If you are looking for some great places to bike in the Twin Cities area, you will find no shortage of trails, lanes and paths that can get you just about anywhere in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Over the years Minneapolis has found its name on a few different lists claiming to be one of the best bike friendly towns and in 2015 it was even listed on the Copenhagenize Design Co. worldwide index of bike-friendly cities. This post will be an overview of some of the top trail systems in the Twin Cities but there will be more in-depth write ups on specific trails throughout the riding season.
Originally a railroad corridor, the Greenway is now a 5.5 mile long paved path. This path has 3 lanes, two for biking and one for walking/running. The Greenway trail runs from the Mississippi in the Longfellow neighborhood to the Kenilworth Trail by Cedar Lake. It also connects to many other paths including the Light Rail Trail, Cedar Lake Trail and paths that run around the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes and along the Mississippi River. This trail system is owned by the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority and is maintained by the City of Minneapolis. The Greenway is plowed in the winter, lit at night and open 24/7. This trail offers barrier free bicycling and is often one of the quickest ways across town.
Like the Greenway, the Gateway Trail is a converted rail trail. This trail system starts in St. Paul, travels northeast through Maplewood, Oakdale, Washington County and ends at Pine Point Regional Park, just four miles northwest of Stillwater. This 18 mile paved trail offers a great mix of scenery as it travels through parks, prairie lands, past lakes and wetlands.
If you are looking for a fun weekend adventure, you can ride the Gateway Trail some 12 miles northeast until it connects up to Brown’s Creek State Trail. Ride Brown’s Creek State Trail east about 6 miles and it will turn south and run right along the St. Croix River and into Stillwater. Find a fun B&B in Stillwater, enjoy the sights, scenery and food; then hop on your bike the next day and head back home.
Cedar Lake Trail
The Cedar Lake Trail is America’s very first bike freeway. It starts at the Mississippi in downtown Minneapolis, runs underneath Target Field and heads out into the western suburbs. The Cedar Lake trail system is another one of Minneapolis’ hubs that links up to other trail systems such as the Midtown Greenway, West River Parkway, Luce Line Trail and many others. As you can see in the picture above there are sections of the trail that actually split into three separate paths: two unidirectional paths for bikes and one multi-directional path for pedestrians. For a more urban experience head east on the Cedar Lake Trail through downtown Minneapolis and then catch the West River Parkway trail for a scenic ride along the Mississippi. For a more rural experience take the Cedar Lake trail west and link up with Minnesota River Bluffs Trail which will take you as far west as Eden Prairie.
In this post we only touched on 3 trials and mentioned many others, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. As you can see in the map pictured above, Minneapolis and St. Paul are littered with many different trail systems and bike lanes. After spending some time on these trials you will quickly find out why Minneapolis has made it onto multiple lists for being so bike friendly.
Check back for more information on specific bike trails and mountain bike trails. But in the meantime if you have any further questions on some of these trails, stop into your local Twin Cities ERIK’S and talk to the experts who bike these trails everyday.