Between Brainerd and Crosby lies a mountain biker’s dream come true. The Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail System, located inside the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, is a nationally recognized trail for off-road cyclists.
The Cuyuna Lakes Ride Center is the only International Mountain Bicycling Association ride center in Minnesota. The trail network is the first in the Minnesota State Park system created specifically for mountain biking. The International Mountain Biking Association provided some funding as well as expertise in trail design and construction.
In the spring, summer and fall, the Cuyuna Lake Mountain Bike Trail system includes over 25 miles of riding spread across 800 acres in Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area. The route includes over 30 purpose-built routes that can be enjoyed by everyone from beginner to pro and all routes include breath-taking rides and overlooks. Several loops of single-track trail were carved into the rocky terrain, circling mine lakes and winding over hills, through the woods, and across bridges over little ravines. Elevated areas offer outstanding views of the landscape’s many mine lakes and natural lakes. In the winter, the Sagamore Unit near Riverton is groomed and converted into a 10 mile trail for fat-tire winter biking enthusiasts.
The trails are all well marked including EMS access points and 54 GPs location markers as they wind through the rocky terrain from Manuel Mine Lake on the east to Huntington Mine Lake on the west. A detailed map of the trail system is available courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Directions to the bike trail from the Twin Cities are as follows:
- Take the Highway 371 Business exit just a couple miles past the Welcome Center
- Continue on 371 Business through downtown Brainerd to the old historical water tower, located at the 371 business and Hwy 210 intersection.
- Take a Right onto Hwy 210 and continue on 210 all way to Ironton.
- As you approach Ironton, on the left you should see a big sign with a cyclist on it.
- Keep an eye out for Co Hwy 30/Irene Ave on your right; take that right onto Hwy 30/Irene Ave. and continue North.
- You will approach a stop sign, continue after the stop sign.
- You will see a “Y”. Keep left on Portsmouth Mine Road. You should see a paved bike trail crossing here. (That is Cuyuna Lakes State Trail.)
- Continue on Portsmouth Mine Road. After about half a mile or so, you will see a curve. At the curve, on the left you will see parking. You can park here or continue on the curve to other parking spots.
- If you keep going you will see on the right is a paved parking lot which also is boat landing. You can park here or continue on the red gravel road.
- If you go on the red gravel road, you will approach a “Y”. If you continue on the left, it will take you all the way to top of Miner’s Mountain where you can also park on the top of the mountain.
The trails are open daily from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm. Trail conditions can be checked at: http://cuyunalakesmtb.com/trails/.
There are so many trails to ride in the Cuyuna Lakes Trail system; why not make a weekend out of your visit to Cuyuna? Cragun’s Resort is located just twenty five miles from the Cuyuna Lakes Ride Center, making it a perfect base camp for your next biking adventure in Brainerd!