Two bicyclists on the Cedar Lake Trail

Bike to Minnesota's Best Orchards

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Two cyclists on the Cedar Lake Trail in Minneapolis / Micah Kvidt
Family Fun // Biking // Article

Bike to Minnesota's Best Orchards

By Brian Fanelli

With dozens of charming orchards spread throughout Minnesota, the North Star State is an apple lover’s paradise. And thanks to our extensive bike trail network, it’s easy to plan a pedal-powered orchard adventure. Whether you bring a small bag of apples home in your pannier or load up the trailer with a whole season’s worth of pie supplies, you’ll love biking to Minnesota’s many trailside apple orchards.

Northwoods Orchard apples

Northwoods Orchard

Southern Minnesota

Ride the paved Sakatah Singing Hills Trail to Trumps Orchard in Faribault. This family-owned 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. 

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 getting lost in the corn mazes. 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.

Biker Lake Wobegon Trail

Lake Wobegon Trail / Micah Kvidt

Central Minnesota

Just south of the 62-mile-long 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, outdoor petting zoo (with goats, sheep and alpacas!) and taking a wagon ride (limited to family groups of six or larger this year).

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).

Luce Line Trail in fall

Luce Line Trail in fall  / Lee Paumen

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 a bushel of options for bikers. As you pedal along the trail, you’ll pass by Luce Line Orchard in Watertown. 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 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.

Apples from Aamodt's Apple Farm

Aamodt's Apple Farm  / Samantha Polski

Just west of Lake Minnetonka, Deardorff Orchards is an autumnal wonderland of apples, farm animals and photo ops. Ride there on either the Lake Minnetonka or Dakota Rail regional trail. 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 Farm in 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, goats, and house-made hard ciders and wines. You can ride the Gateway and Brown’s Creek state trails most of the way there, with only the last two miles on the wide shoulder of Manning Avenue.

Brian Fanelli

Brian Fanelli is a Minneapolis-based writer. You can reliably find him browsing the sci-fi shelves in a local bookstore or biking one of Minnesota's spectacular trails.