Top 5 trails in the Twin Cities

Categories: Cycling
Midtown Greenway yellow cr Mulad via Flikr.jpg
Mulad
Did you know that you can get just about anywhere in the Twin Cities via bike path? The following list features three of our favorite trails in the metro area, plus two paths essential for escaping the big-city bustle.

See also:
Top 10 bike shops in the Twin Cities
30 Days of Biking kicks off Saturday, March 31


Midtown Greenway cr vinzcha via flikr.jpg
vinzcha
Midtown Greenway
(midtowngreenway.org)

If you're surprised to see the Greenway here, slap yoself. Picturesque and well-maintained, it's like a highway from the future for alternative transportation. The route is nearly six miles long, and has three lanes: two for cyclists and one for walkers and joggers. Its highlights include the Martin Olav Sabo Bridge over Hiawatha Avenue and the Midtown Freewheel Bike Shop, as well as access to the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes. The path parallels historic railways, and runs from West River Road in Longfellow to the Kenilworth Trail by Cedar Lake. Even cooler, the Greenway is oft-plowed throughout the winter, which makes snow-bearded, red-cheeked bicycling much, much easier.

Sidenote: if you're bicycling from St. Paul, the Greenway connects with the Light Rail Trail for a quick trip into downtown.

Cedar Lake Trail cr Mulad via Flikr.jpg
Mulad
Cedar Lake Trail
(Website and map)

Minnesota has the United States' first indoor shopping mall, and, much more importantly, our first bicycling freeway: the Cedar Lake Trail. Thanks to a recent extension, the trail now runs from River Road in downtown Minneapolis (under Target Field) all the way to the western 'burbs. You could, if you're in St. Louis Park, start your Saturday evening with a movie at Showplace Icon, then hook up with the CLT and ride into downtown Minneapolis for a drink at Marvel Bar in North Loop, right off the trail. The CLT is a flat and highly manageable ride, and on dark nights it's easy to imagine its emptier expanses being haunted by a ghostly roadie in translucent Lycra.

Supra tip: Stop off at Hidden Beach for a swim or to watch the sunset on a springtime night.


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21 comments
Marcus Nielson
Marcus Nielson

1) MN (Minnesota) is not a city. 2) I love Mpls, but Portland has us beat (in terms of big cities) and so does smaller cities like Davis, Ca and even Madison. Our trails are awesome, but our on-street infrastructure needs work

Marcus Nielson
Marcus Nielson

Kenliworth. Not sure why it's lumped in with Cedar Lake Trail on this list. Two separate trails.

Bearach Coughlin
Bearach Coughlin

Really like the grand rounds trail from highland through south, into uptown and back.

MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

I rode 100 miles over the weekend on several of these trails. The Lake Minnetonka LRT currently dead ends a few miles past 494 because of some construction. 

Keith Morris
Keith Morris

"Anywhere" is a real stretch. Try using them to get to places on Central or Lyndale or Hennepin just to name a few. They have tons of destinations but are not bike-friendly in the least (on Central if you want to go to the Mill or Maya you need to ride uphill in heavy traffic:no separate or calmed lanes). We need an elevated greenway system that takes you from the paths directly to these places, because clearly there is no political will to do anything but a sharrow on the farthest right edge of the lane (Central) or simply but nothing but "No cycling on the sidewalks" signs (Hennepin) or just nothing at all (Lyndale). And seriously, a greenway version of Chicago's L would kick (the) ass (of every other city .in the nation).

BrendaJane Garlick
BrendaJane Garlick

Just went up Theodore Worth Parkway, Victory Memorial Parkway (thanks to the Vets) up along the Mississippi River bike path and back home. Very nice quiet loop

Stephen Taylor
Stephen Taylor

Ahem ... it's still SUMMER until 3:44pm today...Thank You!

No Coast Clothing
No Coast Clothing

Time to bust out them summer clothes if you haven't done so already!

Evan Hanson
Evan Hanson

Now if I could just figure out how to get across the river north of Burnsville that would be amazing ;)

Evan Hanson
Evan Hanson

THIS IS EXCELLENT! I just got a new bike and have been wondering what trails i should ride first. Thanks!

hopjeremy
hopjeremy

Central Avenue has dedicated bike lanes and sharrows due to road width constraints. Go a block east for the Polk St / Fillmore St bike blvds. I do use Central and the Polk/Fillmore and both offer connectivity to my neighborhood services. The Credit Union on 37th is easier to get to on Polk than Central due to the few blocks near Columbia Park where no sharrow or lane exists, however a wide shoulder does exist (when cars aren't parked).  18th Avenue badly needs bike lanes, especially since Central between 18th and 14th is closed and people are using 18th to cut through more.

pthedogg
pthedogg

There is a bridge you can cross if you throw ur bike over the gate.

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