Mountain Biking All Over Minnesota

BY: Patrick Murphy / October 23 , 2013

An array of mountain biking destinations around the state have been built or solidified over the past few years. We spoke with MN mountain biking experts to assemble a list of seven great spots to ride off-road in Minnesota. 

Spirit Mountain mountain biking. Photo courtesy of Hansi Johnson. 

Spirit Mountain
With four trails and the state’s only lift service, Spirit Mountain is Minnesota’s premier downhill mountain biking destination. The variety of trails provide fun for first-time and experienced riders, alike. And the sweeping views of Lake Superior can’t be beat.

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Cuyuna mountain biking. Photo courtesy of Hansi Johnson. 

With over 25 miles of smooth and fast trail across 800 acres in Crosby, MN, the red dirt of Cuyuna is the stuff of Minnesota mountain biking legend. “If you haven’t been here, you’re missing out,” says Hansi Johnson, Midwest Regional Director of IMBA. “This is the best time to ride Cuyuna. Low brush makes for long site lines and high speeds!”

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Winona mountain biking. Photo courtesty of Scott Sherman. 

“Nestled into the Mississippi River Valley, a quaint little town echoes the history of the Midwest. Springing up from the City of Winona, there is a little known secret hidden in the overshadowing bluffs. Two different trail systems (Holzinger and Cherry Hill) showcase some of the finest mountain biking in the Midwest. Rolling, flowy singletrack trail is sandwiched between rocky climbs, that seem to go on forever and jaw-dropping four hundred foot descents.”
-Scott Sherman, long-time Winona mountain biker

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Tofte mountain biking. Photo courtesy of Hansi Johnson. 

Grand Marais and Tofte
“The best trails in northern Minnesota that you’ve never ridden. In Grand Marais you have everything from hand-built, technical trail to machine-built, flowy trails–all built above one of the coolest towns in the state, full of good beer, good music and great food. Just down the shore there are also trails located on the Sugarbush ski trail system at Britton Peak. These are awesome cutting edge trails in the one and only north shore setting. They’re well worth the trip this fall, if you haven’t been. These systems were built and maintained by the Superior Cycling Association.” -Hansi Johnson, IMBA

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Elm Creek mountain biking. Photo courtesy of Jay Thompson. 

Elm Creek
“While Lebanon and Murphy get a lot of the press, Elm Creek delivers some of the fastest, flowiest and fun singletrack in the metro,” said Hansi Johnson, IMBA. “Maintained by MORC, the trails offer a great time for both entry-level and advanced riders.” 18 miles from downtown Minneapolis, Elm Creek is a perfect place for the whole family to experience what modern MTB has to offer.

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Lebanon Hills mountain biking

Lebanon Hills
With nearly 12 miles of one-way, single-use singletrack, Lebanon Hills has become one of the go-to trails in the metro area. The trails feature riding for all skill levels, combined with world-class facilities to enhance the riding experience. The Eagan trails are built and maintained by MORC, in cooperation with Dakota County Parks.

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Duluth Traverse mountain biking. Photo courtesy of Hansi Johnson.

Duluth Traverse Phase One
“Part one of a plan for a 100-mile trail, phase one of the Duluth Traverse includes trails at Brewers Park and the improved trails at Piedmont. Brewers Park is the most complete section on the west end of the ‘DT,’ and is now open. Fast and flowy, with advanced B-lines, it links to Piedmont. Parking at Brewer, then entering Piedmont via the new Trails tunnel Haines Road is a great way to get two trails in one outing. In the next few weeks the Lester end of the DT will also be finished, and will be a trail not to be missed as it garlands over the Lester River with insane views.” -Hansi Johnson, IMBA

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Elm Creek bonus photo, courtesy of Craig Linder.

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  1. And you never even got up to the Chippewa National Forest; Suomi Hills between Grand Rapids and Marcell, Simpson Creek near Inger and Shingobee south of Walker. Come to the forest!TrailPatrol