5 Amazing Mountain Biking Trails in Minnesota (2022)
Home to acres and acres of lush green forests and glaciated ridges, the state of Minnesota has some of the best mountain biking trails in the country. These biking trails stretch from the adventure-rich region of Duluth to the many trail networks that surround the famous Twin Cities. So whether you are looking for cross-country, downhill, or just a leisurely bike ride after work, you will find no shortage of mountain biking trails to choose from in Minnesota.
There are also many volunteer and non-profit organizations, such as the Cyclist of Gitchee Gumee Shores and the Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists that support the trail systems of Minnesota and have created a voice for the biking community. Through these groups and other agency partnerships, places like Elm Creek Park and Lebanon Hills are able to offer many miles of single track and unique features for cyclists to explore.
Whatever style of riding you prefer, the state of Minnesota has uncountable trails that offer a fast-flying and fun ride for all skill levels. Here are some of the best mountain biking trails in Minnesota to plan your outdoor adventures.
5 Amazing Mountain Biking Trails in Minnesota
1. Lebanon Hills Regional Park
Segregated into two separate East and West sections, and being home to over 2000 acres, the Lebanon Hills Regional Park caters to many different types of recreational activities. On the east end, visitors to the park can rent kayaks, canoes, or paddleboards to explore the mesmerizing O’Brian Lake or any of the other named bodies of water that are located along the Lebanon Hills.
Those who are interested in mountain biking will be happy to know that some of the best mountain biking trails of Minnesota are located on the west side of the park.
Lebanon Hills is built and maintained by the non-profit organization Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC), and it features 12 miles of well-manicured single-track routes. There are a variety of routes here, ranging from beginner-friendly to several black-diamond sections that are full of drops, rock gardens, and logs.
Regardless of your skill level, you must try out the Lake Loop route. This route follows the hilly contour of the land along a well-built trail, and you can explore all the way along the breathtaking lakeside landscape.
All the biking trails at Lebanon Hills are well marked, making for easy navigation of the one-way routes. There are several intersections that make up the trail network here. Even if you are visiting Lebanon Hills Park for the first time, you will have no trouble navigating the trails. With a newly built restroom and shelter, this place is also the ideal location to relax, refuel, and have a bite to eat during an exciting day of biking.
2. Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Biking Trail
Mountain bike riders who have visited the Cuyuna Lakes are well aware of what a great opportunity this region provides for mountain biking. The first-class mountain biking trails found throughout this area are built on the grounds of an abandoned iron mine. The mineral-rich soil of the Cuyuna Lakes, though, will leave a notorious red tinge on your bike tire no matter which place you visit on the 25-plus miles of trails. It will surprise you to know that these red tread marks are not the only color that Cuyuna Lakes has to offer.
The mountain biking trails here are also lined with the overlooks of turquoise mining lakes that are further interspersed with plots of birch and aspen trees. The Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Biking Trail is a part of the bigger and newly built Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area. This entire area is famous for the many opportunities for adventurous activities. In the winter season, this area is renowned for fat biking opportunities.
If you want to take a break, the State Recreation Area offers three different camping grounds within Cuyuna Country.
3. Piedmont Bike Trails
The Duluth region serves as the perfect launching base to exploring Minnesota’s rugged North Shore. Duluth is the unchallenged recreational capital of the state. This city is known for being home to many cross-country hikes, Grandma’s Marathons, agate hunting, sailing, skiing, and dog-sled races. Amidst all these, mountain biking is a very popular activity. Owing to the efforts of the Cyclist of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS), there are many beautiful and well-maintained mountain biking trails to explore here.
The COGGS has come up with seven-plus trail systems in the area of the Twin Ports. One of the best trail systems that offer some of the most stunning views is the Piedmont Bike Trails. This can be accessed by the Skyline Parkway, just above the Zenith City (Duluth).
The Piedmont Trail network takes you for nine miles while providing changing views of the St. Louis River and Lake Superior. The trails range in different challenge levels, including beginner trails to intermediate loops to handlebar-jostling descents. The trail connects you to the nearby Brewer Park located across Haines Road. This added extension to the path provides some more flow to your ride. Brewer Park is home to a heart-pounding challenging section referred to as the kissing booth. This section includes many switchbacks, rock drops, and many possible crash landings.
4. Elm Creek Park Reserve
Stretching for over 4000 acres, the Elm Creek Park Reserve is one of the biggest units located within the Three Rivers Park District of the northwest St. Paul/Minneapolis metro area. While there are several things to indulge in at this sprawling space, the mountain biking trails are a huge draw for locals and tourists alike, and the weekends always finds this trail quite crowded., With 12 miles of single track to ride as you please, the trail features beginner berms to technical features.
The mountain biking trails at the Elm Creek Park Reserve take you through a heavily woody pathway before taking you into a vast, open prairie field that includes a lake. You are treated to many scenic views of the prairie grass and woodlands as you explore the way. The trails here are maintained in a partnership with Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC).
5. Spirit Mountain
In the four months of winter, Spirit Mountain functions as a ski resort and includes 175 acres of skiing terrain. The unique feature of Spirit Mountain is that the ski hill here has chairlift-enabled downhill mountain biking outside of the skiing season to keep bikers on the edge of their seats.
The best part here is that you are propelled forward by gravity, and visitors with a lift pass can further go down a variety of trails, some of which stretch easily for over 4700 feet of downhill biking fun.
Apart from these exciting mountain biking trails, there are several others you can explore while you are in Minnesota. These include:
- Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve
- Memorial Park
- Hillside City Park
- Theodore Wirth Regional Park
So grab your bike and get ready to explore these top-rated mountain biking trails in Minnesota.