Bike the Central Lakes State Trail

By Explore Minnesota

Central Lakes BikerThe Central Lakes State Trail winds through picturesque countryside and communities from Fergus Falls to Osakis. Like other trails built on former railroad lines, Central Lakes State Trail is relatively flat and easy to ride—perfect for cycling families and groups of all ages and abilities. The trail is frequently elevated above valleys and water, providing stunning views of the surrounding woodlands, grasslands, lakes, wetlands, and farm country.

Cyclists can opt for a short trip between towns—spaced about every seven miles—or ride the entire 55-mile length over the course of a day or two. The trail parallels I-94, running southeast from Fergus Falls’ DeLagoon Park. Pedaling through the small towns of Dalton and Ashby, cyclists see quintessential rural farm country with rolling fields and marshlands. South of Ashby, the trail passes by Lake Christina and Pelican Lake, and the area between Melby and Evansville features a more densely woodland landscape.

The trail runs right through the heart of Alexandria, the biggest town along the trail. "Big Ole," the 28-foot-tall Viking, greets cyclists at the north end of downtown, and just off the path visitors can explore more Norse culture at the Runestone Museum. Other stops worth a detour include Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum and the beach at Lake Agnes.

The section of trail to Osakis is a peaceful stretch of mostly open prairie and farmland. The end of the trail, near Lake Osakis, connects to the Lake Wobegon Trail, which cyclists can take all the way to St. Joseph.

Towns along the Central Lakes State Trail offer picnic sites, cafes, and plentiful accommodations options, including B & Bs, motels, hotels, and camping.