Minnesota triple-trail bicycle getaway

Because someone has to do these things…

Mrs. Smith and I took a few days off last week to see Minnesota’s Heartland State Trail for ourselves. We’d heard it made for some good bicycling and it did, indeed.

We rode from Walker (we camped a few miles outside of town, right on Leech Lake) to Park Rapids one day, for a round trip of about 55 miles. Our South Dakota friend Chopper recommended a stop at a Mexican restaurant in little Dorset for lunch. Good idea.

Next day was Walker to Cass Lake, about 43 miles round trip. How to say this nicely? Um, Cass Lake is a quiet little town with few dining choices. We settled for DQ.

If you like flat trails, you’ll like the Heartland.

For more up and down and more varied scenery, go farder up nort to Itasca State Park. Pedal from the south entrance about five miles north on the bike trail to the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Get off your bike, walk a few yards to the river and wade right across.  Take some pictures. (If you find my camera there, please let me know. It turned up!)

From there, you can continue on around on the road to complete a loop of about 16 miles. There are lots of places to stop along the way. Have lunch at the Douglas Lodge.

Since you’re already in Minnesota, be sure to go through Lanesboro and spend a couple of hours on the Root River Trail. Eat bratwurst at Das Wurst Haus, drink homemade root beer and say hi to Arv.

Then go home, if you must. All those other trails will keep until next time.

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