Ride Root River State Trail + 10 Best Minnesota Bike Trails

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Video Root river bike trail

If you’re looking for fun ways to explore the beautiful state of Minnesota this year, we recommend you start in southern Minnesota with the Root River State Trail. The Root River State Trail traverses the stunning part of southwestern Minnesota known as Bluff Country. It travels through the heart of Lanesboro, which is fondly known as the Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota.

Though the Root River State Trail is open for four seasons of recreation, including snowshoeing and cross-country skiing during the winter, it’s arguably the most popular when the sun begins to shine in earnest this spring, summer, and into fall. It snakes along beside the beautiful Root River and offers an unparalleled journey through this part of the state. It’s just one of the many Minnesota bike trails we recommend putting on your radar this year.

Between trips to the lakes and fun in the sun, make sure to plan in plenty of miles on the trails of Minnesota – including the Root River State Trail. While you’re exploring the far reaches of the state and far from home, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to unwind at the leading Bed and Breakfasts in Minnesota. The Minnesota Bed and Breakfast Association offers the finest collection of Inns in many of the state’s top destinations. Book your room today.

A woman getting ready to ride on the Root River State Trail, one of the best Minnesota Bike Trails

Ride the Root River State Trail in 2023

Though there are plenty of great Minnesota bike trails in every corner of the state, there’s no doubt that the Root River State Trail is one of the most popular. It’s thanks partly to the scenic beauty found in this part of the state and its extensive options for both long and short rides.

The Root River State Trail is a network of 42 miles of relatively flat trail that also connects to other regional Minnesota bike trails for even more miles of cycling. One of these trails is the Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail. As you traverse the Root River State Trail, you’ll encounter the rolling hills and dramatic river-carved bluffs that have made this region famous. Moreover, you’ll also ride through some of the most charming small communities of southern Minnesota, including Lanesboro, where you’ll find a few of our top Bed and Breakfasts in Minnesota.

Other communities found along the Root River State Trail include Fountain, Whalan, Peterson, Rushford, and Houston. Each of these towns offers plenty of reasons to stop and explore, and they also provide convenient start and stop points if you’d prefer to break the trail up over several days.

The Root River State Trail, which revitalized formerly abandoned railroads, has been voted one of the best Minnesota bike trails. After a few miles on it, you’ll understand why. It’s positively gorgeous as it traverses what is known as the Driftless Region. This area was so-named because, as the last glaciers moved through the midwest in the last ice age, they left this region untouched and thus uncharacteristically hilly compared to the rest of the flat midwest.

Man Heading out for a day on the best Minnesota bike trails

10 More Great Minnesota Bike Trails

As fantastic and popular as the Root River State Trail is, it’s just one of the fantastic Minnesota Bike Trails to traverse in 2023. From mountain biking to flat, easy, paved trails, there are plenty of Minnesota Bike Trails to explore over the coming year. These trails offer an exceptional way to get outside for some exercise and to experience this state’s stunning natural beauty!

Choose just one of these trails, and it’s easy to see why biking is one of the most popular things to do in Minnesota. Whether you want to explore some of the country’s best urban trails in Minneapolis/St. Paul, rural paved trails, or trails that wind their way through lush forests and wild prairie, you’ll soon find that there are plenty of Minnesota bike trails to choose from.

Below, we’ve offered you five paved trails to explore and five mountain biking trails, depending on your mood. Happy biking!

  1. If you’re up for some urban biking in Twin Cities, head to the 51-mile Grand Rounds Scenic Byway in Minneapolis. The trail comprises seven different segments and offers a fantastic city tour. It also takes you by some of the city’s top attractions, like Minnehaha Falls.
  2. You’ll find 55 miles of paved Minnesota bike trails to explore along the Central Lakes State Trail. As the name suggests, this trail passes several lakes and traverses various natural habitats, including prairie and rolling hills.
  3. In northern Minnesota, we recommend the Paul Bunyon State Trail. It’s near Walker, Minnesota, and is one of the longest trails in the state, offering 112 paves miles of biking.
  4. Another ride to take in northern Minnesota is along the Heartland State Trail. It was one of the first rail-to-trail projects in the country and runs for 49 miles in the Walker, Minnesota area. It also offers connections to the North Country National Scenic Trail, the Shingobe Connection Trail, and the Paul Bunyon State Trail.
  5. We recommend the Gitchi Gami State Trail in the Duluth area, offering nearly 25 miles of Minnesota bike trails. This trail also connects to popular areas like Split Rock Lighthouse and Gooseberry Falls State Park.
  6. If you’re looking for excellent mountain biking in Minnesota, we highly recommend the Duluth Traverse. The traverse is a 100-mile mountain bike trail system within the city of Duluth that combines many of Duluth’s top bike trails into one easy-to-access system.
  7. Another excellent place for gravity-fed mountain biking in Duluth is Spirit Mountain. Spirit Mountain operates as a ski hill during the winter and transforms into a lift-served downhill mountain biking park during the remainder of the year.
  8. Ride around the popular red-dirt trails and iron mines of Cuyuna. There are more than 30 miles of bike trails that are considered to be some of the best mountain biking in the state. Enjoy the views as you circle the pit mines, which have since turned into lakes.
  9. There are two mountain bike trails in the Winona area that are worth your time. They are the Holzinger and Cherry Hill trails and are considered to be some of the best mountain biking in the midwest.
  10. Finally, you’ll find great mountain biking in the Twin Cities at Lebanon Hills or Theodore Wirth Park.

As you can see, the Root River State Trail is just the beginning of excellent Minnesota bike trails to explore this year. Wherever you end up, there’s no better place to stay in the state than one of our association’s top-rated Bed and Breakfasts in Minnesota. Book your room today!