The midwest has many miles of bicycle trails. These are a few that we ride regularly.
(opinions are those of the author).
Root River State Trail - SE Minnesota. One of our favorite
trails. Blacktop trail runs 31 miles along the Root River Valley. Plenty of forest,
rivers, rock outcrops. Trail is relatively level except the western end (we always start
on the west end and ride downhill). Historic town of Lanesboro is located in the middle of
the trail. Camping available in the area. For additional resources click here.
Saylorville-Big Creek-Des Moines River Trail - Central Iowa. A
favorite trail since it is so close to home. Paved trail (23 miles) winds along
Saylorville Lake and Big Creek Lake. The trail has many ups/downs in areas especially
along Saylorville Lake. Several bridges constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers. Trail
gets somewhat congested in the Big Creek area on weekend days. Camping available
throughout the area. For additional resources click here.
Willard Munger State Trail - Carlton to West Duluth Segment - NE
Minnesota. We had a very enjoyable visit to this area of Minnesota last summer. The
trail ride was just one of the interesting activities in the area. We visited Duluth and
various spots along the north coast of Lake Superior. Wonderful trip. Interstate 35 goes
directly to Duluth (and stops) so it is a quick drive up from Iowa. The paved trail is
about 15 miles in length and quite scenic. For more information on the Duluth area contact
the Duluth Visitors Bureau at 1-800-4-DULUTH. For additional resources click here.
Elroy-Sparta State Trail - SW Wisconsin. Approximately 32
miles from Sparta to Elroy. The first rails-to-trail bike path, this path has the unique
feature of three rather lengthy tunnels. A super trail with few level stretches. Tunnels
range from a little over half mile to 3/4 mile in length. During our ride the longest
tunnel had lots of dripping water - quite refreshing during the summer. Lots of
campgrounds nearby. We had a super weekend. (I believe the tunnels close October 1st?).
Trail is crushed limestone and was in excellent condition. For additional resources click
Wabash Trail - SW Iowa. Approximately 60 miles (???, sorry
we rode it early in the summer and the specifics are slipping from my mind...). Trail is
crushed limestone and relatively new. Even though the spring was quite wet in SW Iowa the
trail was still in good shape. Trail links Council Bluffs and Shenandoah (spelling okay?).
I only recall one major town along the trail (near the midpoint). The trail moves through
rolling hills and the Loess area of western Iowa. We rode the southern half of the trail -
very enjoyable. For additional resources click here.
Raccoon River Valley Trail - Central Iowa. 34 paved miles
winding through the Raccoon River valley. Trail is level to gently rising uphill
stretches. For more additional resources click here.
If you have information on these trails or want additional information on the trails
listed above, feel free to e-mail me.
Our summer plans are to bike a trail near Brainerd, Minnesota this summer. I
believe the trail is called the Paul Bunyan Trail. If you have any additional
information on this trail please ship me an e-mail.
Ben and Sarah only wish they could go back to riding in the cart - give them a stash
of food, portable stereo, and some books and they could "ride" for miles and