Whenever that first ray of spring sunshine hits the ground, Minnesotans flock outdoors. After spending a long winter inside, the time to tune up the bicycles and pedal around the lakes has arrived. Whether you are riding with training wheels, tandems, or tag-alongs, many bike trails in Minnesota allow family-friendly rides and easy routes for littler legs. Ride by lakes, picnic areas, or playgrounds or go for a longer ride on any of these popular trails.

Dakota Rail Regional Trail
From Wayzata to New Germany
175 Grove Lane
Wayzata, MN 55391

(credit: Jupiter Images)

(credit: Jupiter Images)

The Dakota Rail Regional Trail stretches to about 30 miles and provides a short or long ride perfect for bikers of all ages. Bikers share the trail with hikers, walkers, rollerbladers, and everyone else looking to get some fresh air. There are many places to park and ride along the trail and fun areas to stop and enjoy a picnic. Ride by Lake Minnetonka and catch a glimpse of some local boaters. Other fun stops along the way include Izzy’s Ice Cream, Gale Woods Farm, and Sovereign Estate Winery. Explore a new part of the trail every time you go.

Spring Valley Bike Trail
Spring Valley, MN 55975
(507) 346-7367

The Spring Valley Bike Trail offers a wide variety of scenery and stops with a main trail that runs through the town of Spring Valley and connecting trails that can take your ride to other places. Find yourself biking through the quaint small town of Spring Valley and enjoy the historic buildings throughout the town, including the church where the Ingalls Wilder family attended services on Sundays. Take a connecting trail through the river bluffs, which is also the site of the famous Almanzo 100 bike race.

Cuyuna Lakes State Trail
From Riverton to Deerwood
(218) 546-5926

Take a ride on some of the best paved bike trails in the state. Cuyuna Lakes State Trail runs around the former Cuyuna Iron Range and through beautiful lake views and additional off-road areas. Pedal through recreational areas and have a picnic or make your way up to the famous Paul Bunyan Trail in Brainerd. The trail runs over tiny bridges and small patches of forest in some parts. The off-road area is also a fun way to add to your ride. The unpaved area is covered in a reddish coat of dust that makes the ride even more beautiful.

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Root River State Trail
From Fountain to Houston
(651) 296-5484

Over 60 miles of paved trails in Southeast Minnesota offer a fantastic bike ride for families out for the day. The River Root Trail follows the Root River as well as an old railroad track through several towns and miles of beautiful country. Enjoy riding through limestone bluffs and spotting the wildlife along the trail when you head out for the day. There are many places to stop along the trail, including campgrounds, historic buildings, museums, and cute little shops. The trail system also provides bike repair stations throughout the ride in case you find yourself with a flat tire.

Central Lakes State Trail
From Fergus Falls to Osakis
Fergus Falls, MN 55407
(800) 726-8959

Over 55 miles of a diverse landscape awaits you on the Central Lakes State Trail. This paved trail travels north-to-south and includes a trip through forests, around lakes, over hills, and along farmland. The Central Lakes Trail is also considered a migration highway for various bird species and is a favorite area for birdwatchers. Bikers enjoy pit stops along the trail and are able to frequent local businesses for a quick refreshment or a short rest. For potty training toddlers, there are also plenty of places to use the restroom along the path.

Related: Biking The Iron Range’s Mesabi Trail

Andrea Wodele is a freelance writer who has lived in the Twin Cities for the last 10 years. Her hobbies include exercising, driving kids around, watching Minnesota sports, and reading self-help literature. Examiner.com.