Take a deep breath as you grip your handlebars and prepare for your next Twin Cities Getaway Adventure. You will feel as if you’re deep in the country. As this north metro community area borders the Mississippi River Trail it can be your personal playground when visiting. While in the area you can: stop and fish; play a round of disc golf; go birding; travel through a chain of lakes by bike or canoe; or explore one of the many parks. You can even satisfy your inner sports fan by visiting the National Sports Center, with a velodrome track.
The Twin Cities Gateway is made up of nine different bike-friendly communities: Anoka, Blaine, Coon Rapids, Fridley, Ham Lake, Lino Lakes, Mounds View, New Brighton, and Shoreview. All unique in their own way they all offering relaxed small town-type atmospheres with plenty to do, perfect for anyone looking to get away and only minutes from the big city.
The Twin Cities Gateway is just a short drive, or an easy commute by bike from Minneapolis or St Paul. Another major feature is the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) following the rivers edge in three of the nine Getaway communities: Anoka; Coon Rapids; and Fridley. Plus the other six Gateway Cities have bike friendly roads and trails that lead to the MRT.
The trail starts at the headwaters at Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and passes through the Twin Citities Gateway before flowing to the mouth of the river in Venice, Louisiana. While riding along the river you’ll pass many opportunities for site-seeing, so make sure you camera is fully charged.
You can take the Rum River Regional Trail down to where it meets the MRT, maybe stopping in historic downtown Anoka along the way? There is also the scenic trails in Bunker Hills Regional Park offering heavily wooded and prairie flower landscapes. Or, take the thrilling Coon Creek Regional Trail that connects to the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park and the MRT.
For a more extensive rides you can also explore the trails along the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Park Reserve. Or, take the Rice Creek West Regional Trail back to the Mississippi River. This trail passes through Long Lake Park which has several trails that take you by the park’s namesake and Rush Lake. Another option are the trails in the Vadnais-Snail Lakes Regional Park which is filled to the brim and full of beautiful scenery and its easy to switch from one trail to the next.
Click on a map thumbnail to get a closer look, or click the Download Map link to download a PDF version.
Category: Biking/Hiking Trails | Destination: Lino Lakes
Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Park Reserve, the second largest park in the metro, preserves a swath of wetland wilderness that cleaves Lino Lakes in two. Motorists have to go around the park, but bicyclists can head straight across on the main park trail, which connects Aqua Lane and the Rice Creek North Trail in the west with Centerville in the east. The beautiful wetlands here are home to all sorts of birds, and you'll catch sight of Marshan, Reshaunau, George Watch and Centerville Lakes along the way. Being flat, it's also good for beginners.
Category: Biking/Hiking Trails | Destination: Anoka
The new Mississippi River Regional Trail offers unique experiences for bikers and hikers in Anoka County. It is one of a few trails that combines regional and local parks and attractions. The new trail offers a link from Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park through the cities of Coon Rapids, Fridley and Columbia Heights into the Minneapolis parkway system. Many points of interest are located along the trail corridor and are briefly described on the reverse side.
The Mississippi River Regional Trail connects with a variety of other regional trails in the north-metro area. At Coon Rapids Dam the trail crosses over the dam walkway and connects to the North Hennepin Regional Trail which leads to Elm Creek Park Reserve. To the south of the dam, you can connect to Rice Creek Regional Trail West which follows Rice Creek east through the City of Fridley. The southern end of the trail connects with the City of Minneapolis’ St. Anthony Parkway system. North of the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, the trail continues to the City of Anoka.
Category: Biking/Hiking Trails | Destination: Fridley
Many portions of the trail travel immediately along Rice Creek, within the steep valleys of the floodplain. Since the trail corridor is only minutes from downtown Minneapolis/St. Paul, adjacent lands are developed residential and commercial. Some of the most interesting terrain and natural communities are located between Highway 47 and Central Avenue. Because the trail connects with the Mississippi River, many birds travel the creek on their seasonal migrations. During the spring and fall trail users may see eagles, herons, egrets, as well as loons, cormorants and pelicans.
What’s At Rice Creek Many improvements have been made along the corridor recently. In 2000, safety along the trail was improved when an underpass along the trail at T.H. 65 was installed. Several portions of the trail were repaved during this time, as well. In 2000/2001 the picnic area at Locke County Park was completely redeveloped and new sections of trail were laid in 2006.
Trails A ribbon of paved trail travels through this linear park, stretching from the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts (Manomin County Park) to the Ramsey County border. From there, the trail continues to Long Lake Regional Park. The four mile trail corridor in Anoka County travels through upland forest and lowland natural areas. There are a few steep slopes along the corridor, which require safe and alert trail use.
Trail Connections The Rice Creek West Regional Trail connects to the Mississippi River Regional Trail near East River Road. The Mississippi River Trail Corridor links with Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park (north five miles) and Riverfront Regional Park (south four miles). To the south, the trail continues to the Minneapolis Parkway System.
Category: Biking/Hiking Trails | Destination: Anoka
The Rum River Trail begins in downtown Anoka and follows the Rum River upstream to County Road 116. Though two small sections in downtown Anoka are on streets, these sections are short and the streets are bikeable even for beginners. Interpretive signs describe the history of the area. North of downtown, the trail is incredibly well maintained; it seems like it has been paved yesterday (and maybe it was). The trail follows the sharply winding river north through fields and forests. A wonderful ride.
Category: Biking/Hiking Trails | Destination: Coon Rapids
Centerville Segment (3.8 miles, Rating 3.5) This segment begins at 35E in historic Centerville. Paralleling Main Street (CR 14) all the while, it goes between Centerville and Peltier Lakes before curving north past the expansive marshes of George Watch Lake. It ends at 35W. The surrounding natural wonder of the Rice Lakes certainly is splendid, but other nearby trails can show you the same thing without the next to a road part.
Andover Segment (2.5 miles, Rating 1) This segment, running next to the dangerously busy County Road 116, is thoroughly unpleasant and doesn't lead much of anywhere. Oddly enough, it is the only segment with signage telling you that you are on the right trail, and it needs it the least.
Anoka Segment (1.8 miles, Rating 2.5) This segment begins at the corner of Seventh Avenue and Bunker Lake Blvd. (County Road 116), goes past a library and a wind turbine, then intersects with the Rum River Trail (which connects to downtown Anoka, to the south) before crossing the Rum River. From there, it enters River Bend Park, where it briefly curves away from the highway, before ending at Germanium Street in Ramsey. You can make a good ride using this and the Rum River Trail.
Ramsey Segment (1.2 miles, Rating 2) The Ramsey Segment of the trail runs next to County Road 116 from Tungsten Street to Hematite Street. Though the road is not nearly as busy here as it is in Andover, the fact that the trail is still next to the road is impossible to be ignored.
Category: Biking/Hiking Trails | Destination: Blaine
This trail parallels Lexington Avenue from the Rice Creek North Trail to 125th Avenue. The sun-scorched trail stops at every light, so it's just like an off-street bike lane. It is interesting to see the slow transition from suburbs to cornfields.
Category: Biking/Hiking Trails | Destination: Shoreview
Southern Segment (3.2 miles, plus 2.2-mile loop, Rating 4) The Rice Creek North Trail's main trailhead is at 35W and County Road I. To the north, the trail follows the creek through Shoreview into Anoka County, with twists, curves, and spur trails left and right. This is one of the easiest trails in the metro to get lost on. Unfortunately, I mean that literally, so bring a map. The pavement condition is okay in Ramsey County, but very bumpy and cracky in Anoka County.
To the south, there is a new 2.2-mile loop in Arden Hills (the online maps still show it as proposed). Though it's not as curvy or shaded as the north part, it still adds something to the trail by showcasing a pretty section of creek from both sides. It's surprisingly pleasant for a trail in a decomposing ammunition plant, and includes the warm satisfaction only a loop can give.
Northern Segment (5.0 miles, Rating 5) This amazing segment winds through woods and marsh around the Rice Creek chain of lakes. These lands are not yet tamed by the trail, and the tranquility of it all makes you want to keep your voice down. Most turns are still unmarked.
Category: Biking/Hiking Trails | Destination: Coon Rapids
This stand-alone gem (it doesn't connect to any others, though it is near the Mississippi Trail) makes for a great quick ride. It begins just outside Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, and follows Coon Creek upstream through Coon Rapids, crossing the creek countless times on numerous different kinds of bridges. Then, it curves east and follows Coon Creek's tributary, Sand Creek, to Foley Boulevard, with lots of ups and downs. The trail runs very near trailer parks and suburban homes, and yet stays very nicely forested. Highway noise, dangerous road crossings, and some small onroad sections make this trail less than perfect, but the pavement is smooth, and it is a scenic and entertaining ride.
Category: Biking/Hiking Trails | Destination:
Mississippi River Trail, Inc. is completing a 3000+ mile system of trails and greenways that stretch from Lake Itasca in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico that links together 17 National Parks and Trails. Through education, communication, and partnerships, we are building an icon and creating one of the sixteen National Millennium Trails designated in 2000.
To achieve our mission, we serve river communities by providing technical assistance in trail planning, route development and promotion. We work with local, state, and federal agencies to find funding and execute trail projects. MRT, Inc. promotes trail development to support conservation, economic development and better health.