With dozens of charming Minnesota orchards dotting the state map like apples on the ground, the North Star State is an apple lover’s paradise. Thanks to our extensive, statewide bicycle trail network, it’s easy to plan a pedal-powered orchard adventure in Minnesota.
Whether you bring a small bag of apples home in your pannier, load up the trailer with a whole season’s worth of pie supplies, or simply enjoy a slice of warm apple pie on the farm, you’ll love biking to Minnesota’s many trailside apple orchards. Who doesn’t love the crunch of freshly picked apples, the gleeful shrieks of children running through corn mazes, and the nostalgic joy of an autumn wagon ride?
Where to Find Bike-Friendly Orchards in Minnesota
For apple-loving cyclists in search of a scenic, mixed-terrain ride, Irish Mountain Orchard in Elysian is tucked away among the picturesque hills and lakes of southern Minnesota. Ride the paved Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail east from Mankato until you reach County Road 129 (just east of Madison Lake), where you’ll head north and crush a few of Minnesota’s famous gravel hills before arriving at the orchard. One of the first orchards to plant the now-famous Honeycrisp apples, Irish Mountain boasts thousands of Honeycrisp trees, along with many other tasty varieties.
At the other end of the Sakatah Singing Hills Trail, near Faribault, Trumps Orchard is overflowing with apple trees, grape vines, pumpkin patches and more. Pick your own fruit or simply take a tour of the sprawling, 75-acre grounds—either way, Trumps Orchard is happy to share the harvest. Ride the trail northeast into Faribault (12 miles from Morristown, 18 from Waterville) and take city streets to the orchard.
North of Rochester along the Douglas State Trail, Northwoods Orchard is the perfect destination for families. In addition to its pick-your-own apple orchard and pumpkin patch, kids will love the petting zoo, corn mazes and wagon rides. Park the family vehicle at the Douglas trailhead for a trailer-friendly, 6-mile ride to the orchard, or depart from downtown Rochester for a longer, 10-mile jaunt.
Nestled among the soaring bluffs and valleys of southeast Minnesota, Blossom Hill Orchard & Farm in Preston is perfectly situated between three nearby Root River Trail Towns: Harmony, Fountain and Lanesboro. And thanks to a timely fork in the trail, it’s about a 12-mile ride from all three! After exploring the orchard, be sure to visit the extensive on-site bakery and retail shop, stocked with fresh-baked apple pies and turnovers, and an assortment of local honeys, jams and maple syrups.
Just south of the Lake Wobegon Trail, you’d better believe the apples at Collegeville Orchards are above average. After a brisk stroll through the orchard, round out your perfect fall day by painting pumpkins, visiting the orchard’s free petting zoo (with goats, sheep and alpacas!) and taking a wagon ride. Start in downtown St. Joseph for a 7-mile ride, split between the Lake Wobegon Trail and a few rustic, country roads (the aptly named Old Collegeville and Fruit Farm roads).
Minneapolis-St. Paul Area
Stretching from the metropolitan western suburbs of Minneapolis to the verdant rural Minnesota countryside, the 63-mile, mixed-surface Luce Line State Trail offers people biking a whole bushel of options! As you pedal along the trail, you’ll pass by three apple orchards: Luce Line Orchard (Watertown), Apple Tree-O (Delano) and Minnetonka Orchards (Minnetrista), each with its own distinct charms. Park at one of the Luce Line’s many trailheads to cater the trip length to your liking, whether that’s a quick out-and-back or an all-day excursion.
Slightly north of the Luce Line’s unofficial “orchard district,” Knapton’s Orchard offers pick-your-own-everything, from apples to raspberries, strawberries, pumpkins and beets. Park in Wayzata for a hilly, 15-mile ride to the orchard following the Luce Line and Lake Independence trails. Bonus points for anyone who stops at the railroad-themed Choo Choo Restaurant & Bar in Loretto.
Just west of Lake Minnetonka, Deardorff Orchards & Vineyards is an autumnal wonderland of apples, farm animals and photo ops. Ride there on either the Lake Minnetonka or Dakota Rail regional trail—you’re in for a treat whichever one you choose. Both weave gracefully along the tree-lined Lake Minnetonka shoreline, giving cyclists an array of unparalleled views of the lake and a front-row seat to the region’s stunning fall color display.
Sometimes the best way to appreciate an orchard is from a few thousand feet in the air, and for those times, you need to visit Aamodt’s Apple Farmin Stillwater, where you can literally elevate your orchard experience with a hot air balloon ride. Back on the ground, the fun includes pick-your-own apples, wagon rides, goats, and in-house hard ciders and wines. You can ride the Gateway and Brown’s Creek State Trails most of the way there, with only the last 2 miles on the wide shoulder of Manning Avenue.
Brian Fanelli is a writer and editor for Explore Minnesota. When he isn't writing about life in The North, you'll find him browsing the sci-fi shelves in a local bookstore, biking one of Minnesota's spectacular trails or walking his Chihuahua around Minneapolis.
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