With two brand-new bike riders at our house – we are spending a lot of time making bike-riding plans for the summer. And that got me thinking about all of those bike racks I see pulling into Brookside every Saturday afternoon during the summer. And if you are one of those families who likes to strap the bike rack to the back of your SUV and haul everyone’s bikes along with you on the 4 hour trek north….then we think you have already done the hard part! Finding the right trails will be easy….
The Park Rapids area is lucky to be home to some great bike trails. If we start with the most popular – then you can’t miss Itasca State Park. The park draws visitors from all over the state and region to explore 16 miles of paved bike trails. When you need a break from the trail you can walk across the Headwaters of the Mississippi River (or take a swim in the cool water!) and try some wild rice pancakes at Douglas Lodge. This is a great trail for the whole family and you don’t have to be very hard-core to enjoy it!
Another great family trail is the Heartland Bike Trail. The paved trail runs from Park Rapids to Cass Lake – but the 12 miles between Park Rapids and Dorset is known for its flat, easy ride and its great lunch or dinner destinations in Dorset. The 30-mile stretch between Park Rapids and Walker has a paved section and an adjacent natural surface for mountain biking and hiking – if you’re into that kind of thing. You definitely don’t have to be very hard-core to enjoy this ride….and you can always stop for ice cream in Dorset (although you will not find a Bait Sundae anywhere on the menu).
If you are looking for a little more adventurous ride – there are some cool places to check out in our area! The first – only about an hour from Brookside – is Detroit Mountain in Detroit Lakes. The Mountain re-opened in 2014 and now offers new and improved hiking and mountain biking trails. You have to be moderately hard-core to enjoy this biking experience.
A second option for adventure is Cuyuna State Park. Boasting over 25 miles of single-track trails – these former mining pits now make a stunning state park. It’s a longer drive (about 2 hours) – but if you like to mountain bike it is definitely worth it! You have to be a little hard-core to enjoy an afternoon at Cuyuna, but it’s one of Josh’s favorite ways to spend some free time.
Now, if you are as serious as I am about biking – you will unload the bikes on Saturday afternoon when you arrive and then get as far as County Road 50 with them! But don’t worry, our beautifully repaved road is a great place to ride those bikes. With very little traffic and a 30 mph speed limit – it’s a perfect (or convenient) place for the whole family to take a ride. You don’t have to be hard-core at all to enjoy this ride. And with your bike, you are always less than 1 minute from the swimming pool!
With all of these great trails, Park Rapids is putting itself on the map of the bicycling community – and we have a few yearly events that you might like. The first is the Minnesota “Bike Opener” – celebrated across the state on May 20th to kick-off the biking season. And the second is the Heartland 100, held every September (this year’s date is September 23rd). This will be the Heartland 100’s 37th year and it offers three different distances: 100 miles, 75 miles, and 45 miles. The best part about this ride: Brookside is still open!! So you can come for the weekend, hang out at your favorite lake spot, and ride 100 miles on your bike….if you’re in to that sort of thing.
Joanna is still a newbie to the world of blogging – but not a newbie to the world of resorting. After a childhood of playing at Brookside she is now learning how to own Brookside.