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Minnesota Rail Trails Bike Tour

  • Minnesota lake edge
  • Bridge on bike path Minnesota
  • Waterfall Minnesota
  • Mesabi Trail with bike
  • Loon on Minnesota lake
  • Minnesota lakes from the air
  • Ducks on the lake at sunset
  • Chase on the Lake
  • Mesabi Trail over wetlands
  • Lake Superior beach
  • Great blue heron by lake
DURATION
6 Day(s)
DAILY BIKING
35 to 65 miles
TRIP DIFFICULTY
2-Easier to Intermediate
STARTING FROM
$2795
SINGLES ADD FROM
$800

Trip Overview

Northern Minnesota has a special mystique. The area is home to legendary lumberjacks, has a rich mining history, and features an abundance of diverse scenery and wildlife. Boasting thousands of miles of bike trails, Minnesota is a hotspot for cycling. On this tour, you traverse four of Northern Minnesota’s best paved trails: the Mesabi Trail, the Paul Bunyan Trail, the Heartland Trail, and the Willard Munger Trail. Pedaling these trails makes you thirst for more.

For six days, you spin through forests, pastures and quaint towns. Pass alongside bogs, creeks and lakes galore. Minnesota, after all, is known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” though some would argue that number is considerably higher. See if you can count how many lakes you pass on this tour. We bet you are so absorbed in the wondrous vistas that you quickly lose track! Don’t miss this exciting new tour in beautiful Minnesota!

Itinerary

From start to finish, check out the route.

DAY 1 - Arrival Day
Distance: 38 or 53 miles | Terrain: Easier or Intermediate | Hampton Inn Hibbing
Meet ready-to-ride at 7:15 a.m. in the lobby of the Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Duluth North hotel. After brief introductions, shuttle to the trailhead and get fitted for your bike. Then pedal the first section of the Mesabi Trail, named after the “Great Mesabi Glacier,” which once covered the region in a thick layer of ice. You traverse the mining district of the Iron Range, with its sedimentary formations rich in iron-ore. Upon arrival into Chisholm, where you spend the night, consider visiting the Minnesota Museum of Mining or the Museum of the Iron Range to learn about the area’s history. After a hearty dinner, sleep well knowing that there’s lots more to see tomorrow.
DAY 2 - Mesabi Trail: Chisholm to Grand Rapids
Distance: 41 or 50 miles | Terrain: Easier or Intermediate | Ruttger’s Birchmont Lodge
After breakfast, continue pedaling along the Mesabi Trail, through one of the prettiest regions in the state. Those with alert ears may be rewarded with the distinctive call of the common loon, the Minnesota state bird. In Hibbing, consider visiting the Greyhound Bus Museum, where 17 historic buses are available on display. Mid-ride, enjoy a picnic at the Mining Hill Annex State Park. Today’s cycling ends at the trailhead in Grand Rapids, a city named for the 3.5-mile-long rapids on the Mississippi River that marked the furthest limits of steamboat travel. Then shuttle to the beautiful Ruttger’s Birchmont Lodge on Lake Bemidji. After happy hour and dinner, enjoy the North Woods from the beautiful lakeside lodge.
DAY 3 - Paul Bunyan Trail: Bemidji to Walker
Distance: 44 or 65 miles | Terrain: Easier or Intermediate | Chase on the Lake
Today, begin riding the Paul Bunyan Trail, one of the longest trails in the country and a “Hall of Fame” trail according to the Rail-to-Trails Conservancy. Start the ride in Bemidji, known as “The First City on the Mississippi” as well as the alleged birthplace of Paul Bunyan. At the south side of the lake, consider exploring downtown Bemidji, recently recognized by “Smithsonian Magazine” as one of the 15 best small towns to visit. Here stands the 18-foot-tall statue of the legendary lumberjack and his blue ox, Babe, as well as a variety of public art on display. The ride ends in Walker, a popular vacation destination nestled on the western shore of Leech Lake. Those wishing for a longer ride can add miles along the Heartland Trail toward Cass Lake to the north. Settle in, as you spend two nights at the lovely Chase on the Lake.
DAY 4 - Heartland Trail: Walker to Park Rapids
Distance: 30 or 58 miles | Terrain: Easier or Intermediate | Chase on the Lake
Today you take a break from the Paul Bunyan to ride the Heartland Trail, one of the first rail-to-trail projects in the country. Make sure to stop off in Akeley at the Historical Museum to see its very own Paul Bunyan statue, which is even more massive than the lumberjack shrine in Bemidji. Enjoy one of the numerous lunch options in Park Rapids. If you wish to pedal more miles, turn around and head back to Walker, enjoying the final few miles along the shoulder of a country road. If you wish to return early to Chase on the Lake — perhaps to enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the spa — the van can whisk you back to the resort. Choose an evening itinerary that suits you, as dinner is on your own.
DAY 5 - Paul Bunyan Trail: Walker to Brainerd
Distance: 40, 65, or 72 miles | Terrain: Easier, Intermediate, or Advanced | AmericInn by Wyndham Baxter Brainerd
After breakfast, continue riding the Paul Bunyan. Along the trail, pass through Hackensack, home to Paul Bunyan’s sweetheart, Lucette Diana Kensack, but more importantly, home to the Big Dipper Cone Shoppe where yummy treats are awaiting your consumption. As you continue your journey, don’t be shy about taking a dip in one of the trailside lakes if you feel so inclined. Or, if birdwatching or geocaching is your thing, this is a great day to partake. You end the ride in Brainerd. Despite a population well below fifteen thousand, it's one of northern Minnesota’s largest cities. At the end of the ride, you shuttle to Baxter to spend the evening along the shores of beautiful Mille Lacs Lake.
DAY 6 - Departure Day - Willard Munger Trail: Barnum to Duluth
Distance: 33 miles | Terrain: Easier
Welcome to your final day of riding. Today, cycle an easy 33 miles along the Willard Munger Trail. The route, which is tucked among the trees for nearly its entire length, traces a 19th-century railroad corridor that ran between the Twin Cities and the gateway to the Great Lakes. At the end of the trail, enjoy a final lunch together before saying our goodbyes mid-afternoon.

Map

Dates & Pricing

Prices are per person based on double occupancy (2 people in one room). Single supplement for private room is listed at the top of this page. A deposit of $500 holds your reservation for most tours. For weekend tours, the deposit is $300.

Start End Cost Availability
Jul 31, 2023 Aug 05, 2023 $2795.00 Available! Reserve Reserve

What’s Included

5 nights’ lodging, 5 breakfasts, 1 picnic lunch, and 4 dinners (you are on your own for lunches and 1 dinner), snacks, entrance to Greyhound Bus Museum. We also include detailed maps and itineraries, experienced guides, full van support — plus use of a bike and helmet. Airfare is not included.

Dates & Pricing

Prices are per person based on double occupancy (2 people in one room). Single supplement for private room is listed at the top of this page. A deposit of $500 holds your reservation for most tours. For weekend tours, the deposit is $300.

Start: Jul 31, 2023
End: Aug 05, 2023
Cost: $2795.00
Availability: Available!
Reserve

What’s Included

5 nights’ lodging, 5 breakfasts, 1 picnic lunch, and 4 dinners (you are on your own for lunches and 1 dinner), snacks, entrance to Greyhound Bus Museum. We also include detailed maps and itineraries, experienced guides, full van support — plus use of a bike and helmet. Airfare is not included.

Inns

Where you stay along the way.

Hampton Inn Hibbing
Enjoy free hot breakfast each morning, and stay connected with free WiFi. Relax in their indoor swimming pool and hot tub.
Ruttger's Birchmont Lodge
Located on the shore of scenic Lake Bemidji, this resort’s historic roots give you a look into the past, while their renovations keep things refined. Whether you’re looking for peace and tranquility or an adventurous lake vacation, there are accommodations and activities for everyone!
Chase on the Lake
Exhilarating outdoor adventures await at the edge of picturesque Leech Lake in Walker, MN. Charming architecture, gorgeous lake views, and just about every recreational activity imaginable come together at Chase on the Lake, one of Minnesota’s premier resorts.
AmericInn by Wyndham Baxter Brainerd
In the heart of Minnesota, this hotel is ideally situated for a fun family getaway. They’re close to a number of lakes and raceways for great activities year-round—from the Northland Arboretum to Brainerd International Raceway to Paul Bunyan Land.

Gallery

Images from this tour. Click each to see it larger.

Minnesota lake edge Bridge on bike path Minnesota Waterfall Minnesota Mesabi Trail with bike Loon on Minnesota lake Minnesota lakes from the air Ducks on the lake at sunset Chase on the Lake Mesabi Trail over wetlands Lake Superior beach Great blue heron by lake