Mountain Bike the Cuyuna Lakes Trail System

Crosby, Minnesota

Mountain biking

Mountain biking Minnesota     Photo: Aaron W. Hautala

Equidistant between Duluth and Minneapolis, this mountain-bike specific trail system was just completed in 2010, and features 25 miles of flowy singletrack studded with berms, rollers, and a couple of expert segments with ample rock and wood obstacles. The system is one of IMBA’s new Ride Centers. The volunteers responsible continue to develop features like a pump track in the nearby town of Crosby to spread the mountain bike gospel to the youngsters. From the top of Miner’s Mountain there’s a 20-mile view of hardwood forest turning colors, as well as a cluster of lakes—OK, they’re old mine pits, but still pretty—with Caribbean-blue water.

WHEN TO GO: Late September, when the poplar and birch turn yellow and the occasional maple pops red.

ROUTE: At the Mahnomen Unit, link Easy Street, Sidewinder, Sand Hog, and Miner’s Mountain trails for an hour-long ride. Those with all-mountain bikes head to Timber Shaft, an expert trail sporting enough rock drops, big berms, and wood obstacles to challenge even the most gung-ho riders.

GRUBSTAKE: The Crosby Bar serves drinks named after Cuyuna Trails. Go for the Screamer, a cranberry margarita. They don’t have a kitchen yet, though, so for chow head to the Ya Betcha Bar and Grill, also in Crosby, where quantity is the name of the game. Devour fifty-cent tacos on Tuesdays or the one-pound Ya Betcha Burger, which also includes, ham, mozzarella and pineapple, any night of the week.

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