Many of the state’s biking
destinations—including Crosby on the
Cuyuna Lakes State Trail, Mankato on
the Red Jacket and Sakatah Singing
Hills trails, and Grand Rapids on the
Mesabi Trail—have been designated
as Bicycle-Friendly Communities for
making biking an integral part of the
local culture. Visitors to these towns are
sure to find plenty of trails, bike racks,
and bike-friendly streets and businesses.
If you want to see skyscrapers and
city neighborhoods from your bike
seat, look no further than Minneapolis
and St. Paul. Several trails, notably the
Grand Rounds and Midtown Greenway,
take riders through the heart of the
city and past landmarks including the
Stone Arch Bridge, Minnehaha Falls
and the Chain of Lakes. Bike lanes
on major thoroughfares, such as St.
Paul’s Summit Avenue, and paths along
both banks of the Mississippi River
offer postcard-worthy scenery worth
The Twin Cities make it easy for
those without a bike to get on the trails
thanks to numerous bike rental shops.
Bike-sharing companies Nice Ride and
Lime allow travelers to rent bikes (and
scooters) for short rides around town.
An entirely different kind of
riding, mountain biking is gaining
traction throughout the state. Of
particular note is the Cuyuna Country
State Recreation Area, one of three
designated International Mountain
Biking Association Ride Centers in
Minnesota. This purpose-built trail
system in central Minnesota is carved
into the rocky landscape, circling
lakes and winding over hills, through
the woods and across bridges. Trails
range from easy to extremely difficult,
and visitors can stay overnight at the
adjacent campground, cabins or yurts.
Several areas known for downhill
skiing in the winter transform into
mountain biking destinations after the
snow melts, including Detroit Mountain
Recreation Area in Detroit Lakes,
Giants Ridge near Biwabik, Mount
Kato in Mankato and Afton Alps just
southeast of the Twin Cities. Duluth,
Winona and parts of the Chippewa and
Superior national forests are also big on
mountain biking. Call ahead about bike
rentals, and always wear a helmet.
In a state characterized by water, it’s no wonder that casting a line is one of our most
popular activities. Minnesota boasts the most fishing licenses per capita of any state,
more than 162 species and 3. 8 million acres of fishing waters, including more than
5,400 fishable lakes and 18,000 miles of fishable rivers and streams.
But the numbers only tell part of the story. For those who fish, spending time on
the water—either with friends, family or alone—can be just as rewarding as the
number of fish they catch.
The walleye is the state fish, but large and smallmouth bass, northern pike,
muskie, trout, perch, and even salmon are also highly sought-after catches. A wide
variety of waters of different sizes, depths, temperatures and ecosystems offer
unique fishing experiences everywhere you go.
Coming to Minnesota without a boat? Resorts and outfitters are happy to set you
up with a rental and can hook you up with a local guide who will provide all the
equipment, lead you to the fish, and even clean and cook whatever you catch.
On big lakes like Lake Superior and Lake of the Woods, charter boats are the
way to go; on Mille Lacs and a few other lakes, a launch excursion can take dozens
of anglers out at once. In addition to traditional boat fishing, Minnesota also
has waters suited for fly fishing, particularly in rivers and streams in southeast
Minnesota and on Lake Superior.
Come winter, lakes once teeming with boats transform into ice fishing villages,
where anglers set up houses, drill holes in the ice and wait for the fish to bite.
Houses range from basic to downright luxurious, some equipped with beds, stoves
and heaters for a comfortable retreat. Get in touch with resorts and outfitters on
major bodies of water to try out this truly unique experience.
Before planning your Minnesota fishing trip, check with the Department of Natural
Resources about fishing seasons, licenses and boating regulations.
exploreminnesota.com/fishing to find guides, charters and ice house rentals on
the lake of your choice
WILLIAM O’BRIEN STATE PARK, MARINE ON ST. CROIX