Reporting Matt Brickman
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CROSBY, Minn. (WCCO) – What’s Minnesota’s best bike trail?
WCCO viewers voted and the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike and State Trail, located near Brainerd, came out on top.
“When you’re on the mountain bike trails and you come around a corner on one of those trails and there’s this mine lake down below — crystal clear blue that looks like the Caribbean — I mean it’s so spectacular,” Jenny Smith said.
Those lakes are a reminder of this area’s industrial heritage. About 100 years ago, the Cuyuna Range was the center of iron ore mining in Minnesota, and you can still see the iron on the trails today.
It’s the reason the dust kicked up by your tires is red.
“The landscape is excellent because all the trails go around the lakes,” Joel Hartman. “They go up and over these huge massive rocks that were dug up in mining back in the day.”
It makes for a really fun ride.
“We’re kinda famous for our roll at Cuyuna — you can just kind of roll down the trail, versus bouncing on the rocks and whatnot,” Hartman said.
With 25 miles of mountain bike trails at Cuyuna, there’s something to satisfy everyone — from beginners to very technical trails for experts.
If the whole mountain bike experience looks a little intimidating, there are also miles of paved paths which offer their own attractions.
“A lot of the big trails in the state are rail trails,” Smith said. “They’re on old railroad grates, so they’re basically flat — where as this is not.”
Both trails are aiming for expansion.
The Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew want to build toward 100 miles of mountain bike trails.
And the plan for the State Trail is to connect Aitkin to Brainerd with a 40-mile trail that would link up with the Paul Bunyan Trail.
Next week, Matt is searching for Minnesota’s best roadside attraction.
Think: The world’s largest ball of twine, or the Jolly Green Giant statue.