Bike Touring the Mississippi River Trail in Minnesota
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Bike touring the Mississippi River is an epic journey that draws countless cyclists to Minnesota every year.
Kick off your adventure at Itasca State Park in northern Minnesota, where you can dip a back tire into the Mississippi Headwaters and embark on an unforgettable bike tour of America's most legendary river.
Mississippi River Trail Route in Minnesota
Along its winding path through Minnesota, the Mississippi River Trail connects 700 miles of existing shouldered highways, low-use roads and off-road paths for bicyclists and closely follows the Mississippi River from the headwaters at Itasca State Park to the Iowa border. As you trace the great river through Minnesota, you’ll ride among ancient pine woods, conquer soaring river bluffs, and find an abundance of natural and cultural highlights along the way.
The northern segment of the Mississippi River Trail begins in Itasca State Park, where the river begins as a small stream. The route then travels through the North Woods and past numerous lakes to Bemidji, Cass Lake, Grand Rapids, Brainerd, Little Falls and St. Cloud. At Cass Lake, bicyclists have an off-road option to travel 100 miles on the Heartland and Paul Bunyan State Trails.
The middle segment passes through the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area—a 72-mile-long park managed by the National Park Service. Much of the route is on bike paths with scenic views of the river, such as the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway in Minneapolis. This segment of the route offers opportunities to connect with restaurants, museums, parks and festivals along the river.
The southern segment extends from Hastings to the Iowa border. This section is on roads and multi-use paths that closely follow the Mississippi River through steep limestone bluffs, hardwood forests and more than a dozen river towns.
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