Hennepin County is absolutely loaded with multi-purpose paved trails that are perfect for biking. The City of Minneapolis alone has a vast network of bike trails, lanes and shared roads that’s far beyond what we’ll cover here on TCO.
Here’s a resource, though, for those of you interested in urban biking: An Interactive Bike Map for Minneapolis and the directly surrounding communities that gives you a bird’s-eye view of the possibilities. You can click on or off various layers of the network to isolate, for instance, off-street trails or low-stress routes.
OK, let’s get started with Hennepin County biking:
Baker Park Reserve (Maple Plain)
Baker Park Reserve is almost as far from urban as you can get in Hennepin County! This 2,700-acre Reserve hosts 12.5 miles of paved multi-use trails. These trails are directly accessed from Baker Campground, including the large loop around Lake Katrina and the south end of the Reserve.
You can even rent a child bike trailer at the Campground office during the camping season. The trail runs parallel to the horse trails here in places, so be aware.
The Reserve trails hook up with Lake Independence Regional Trail at the northwest corner, and the Luce Line Regional Trail at the southeast corner. Here’s the Baker map.
Bryant Lake Regional Park (Eden Prairie)
Bryant Lake Park has 12.5 miles of paved multi-use trails, including some hills to rev up your heart rate! The Park’s trails connect to the MInnesota River Bluff LRT Regional Trails on the north side. Here’s the map.
Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park (Brooklyn Center)
Technically, the bike trails in Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park run along the west perimeter of the Park, not through it—on West Mississippi River Regional Trail.
But if you leave your car here, you have bike access to several other Regional Trails, too: Shingle Creek, Rush Creek and across the Mississippi River to Anoka County’s Mississippi River Regional Trail. The bike across the Dam is a cool experience in itself. Here’s the Coon Rapids Dam map.
Eagle Lake Regional Park (Plymouth)
The 1-mile paved trail here at Eagle Lake Park is basically a scenic thoroughfare to city trails on the south, east and north sides of the Park. It’s great biking for young children and others who can’t or don’t want to ride for miles, but would love to get off the streets and into nature for a bit. Here’s the map.
Elm Creek Park Reserve (Maple Grove)
Elm Creek is Hennepin County’s crown jewel of trail systems in a natural area. It’s gorgeous here, with a diverse landscape, lots of forest and plenty of rolling hills.
Fish Lake Regional Park (Maple Grove)
3 miles of paved multi-use trails loop around Fish Lake Regional Park, including along the edge of a peninsula, giving you great views of Fish Lake. These trails connect to Medicine Lake Regional Trail. Here’s the map.
French Regional Park (Plymouth)
Gale Woods Farm (Minnetrista)
A 2+ mile gravel hike-and-bike trail circles around the property of Gale Woods Farm, a real working farm. The trails take you through fields, forest, wetlands and along undeveloped lakeshore. It connects to the Dakota Rail Regional Trail. Here’s the map.
Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway (Minneapolis)
Grand Rounds is a paved multi-use byway that’s over 100 years old! In fact it’s been nominated to be included in the National Register of Historic Places. It encompasses 50 miles of parkway, 51 miles of hike/run trails and 51 miles of bike trails.
The trails pass through both urban areas and undeveloped natural areas, giving you one of the most varied landscapes in the metro area. Rather than a trail per se, it’s a system of connected parks and parkways.
- Here’s a page with trail distances.
- History of Grand Rounds for you peddling history buffs.
- Interactive Bike Map for the City of Minneapolis.
Hyland Lake Park Reserve (Bloomington)
Hyland Lake Park Reserve offer 8.7 miles of paved multi-use trails for biking. The trails wind through both forest and prairie. The trail links to 9-Mile Creek Regional Trail at the north tip of the Park. Here’s the Hyland map.
Lake Minnetonka Regional Park (Minnetrista)
Lake Nokomis Park (Minneapolis)
Lake Nokomis Park has an almost-3 mile paved multi-use trail around the Lake. A great Park for families with children that includes the trail, the beach and paddling opportunities. (No map available)
Lake Rebecca Park Reserve (Rockford)
Lake Rebecca Park Reserve has 8 miles of paved multi-use trails for biking that circles around the Park. The trails take you through varied landscape including woods, wetlands and the south side of Lake Rebecca. Here’s the map.
This Park has one of the metro’s mountain bike parks, too, accessed by the Recreation Entrance on the northwest side. Over 13 miles of single-track trails weave over hills and through woods, much of it next to the Lake. Here’s the Single-Track map.
Luce Line State Trail (Plymouth)
The Luce Line State Trail is 63 miles long on both paved and crushed gravel surfaces. It starts in Plymouth and heads west as far as Meeker County. Take either in one chunk for an extra long day trip, or ride a section at a time. See the map and brochure for parking and trailhead information.
Minneapolis Chain of Lakes Regional Park (Minneapolis)
1,555-acre Minneapolis Chain of Lakes includes 7 parks, 5 lakes and 15 miles of lakeside trails. Besides bikers, walkers and runners, the park also draws multitudes of swimmers and paddlers.
The multi-use paved trails here are well-populated, especially in the non-snowy months. After all, it’s in the middle of Minneapolis! But it’s a beautiful, well-maintained area, with lots of mature trees and takes full advantage of the lakes.
The Chain includes the following trails:
- Cedar Lake Regional Trail (3.5 miles)
- Lake Calhoun (3.1 miles)
- Lake Herriott (2.7 miles)
- Lake of the Isles (2.6 miles)
Minnesota River Bottoms (Bloomington)
The River Bottoms isn’t a park, but a network of natural trails stretching from Bloomington to Fort Snelling State Park. The trails aren’t maintained by any local or regional government entity, and are often rugged and muddy after lots of rain or in the spring.
The trails are used by bikers, hikers and runners. Lots of fat biking in the snowy months, too.
This map shows all the bike trails in Bloomington, including the River Bottoms, although it’s not labeled. Scroll down to page 3 for the citywide map. You’ll see the dotted yellow lines along the north side of the Minnesota River that indicate off-road unpaved trail.
Minnesota Valley State Trail (Hennepin County and west)
The Minnesota Valley State Trail is a multi-use trail that’s both paved and unpaved in stretches. Believe it or not, there’s no mileage information on the DNR site or the map! 20 miles is a rough estimate. Parts of the trail are prone to flooding, so check the site link for current info. Here’s the map. (The segment sections are fine, but the overview is hard to read.)
Mississippi Gorge Regional Park (Minneapolis)
This Park follows the west bank of the Mississippi for a few miles, with paved multi-use trails leading to Minnehaha Regional Park to the south. We couldn’t find a good PDF map of the Park, so it’s hard to tell from the Google Map where it ends to the north! Here’s the Google Map.
North Mississippi Regional Park (Brooklyn Center)
A 1.6 mile of paved multi-use trail in North Mississippi Regional Park follows the Mississippi River. You’ll have great views of the River, although lots of traffic noise. This trail runs parallel to Highway 94!
Head south out of the Park and you’ll join up with Grand Rounds (see above). Head north and you’ll reach Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park in a few miles. Here’s the map.
Silverwood Park (St. Anthony)
Silverwood has a 1-mile paved multi-use trail for biking. It’s perfect for families with young children since it’s short and off-road. After your bike ride you can take the short hike out to the island for a little exploring. There’s a coffee shop here at the park, too. Here’s the map.
Sochacki Park (Robbinsdale)
Theodore Wirth Regional Park (Minneapolis)
The best biking at Theodore Wirth are the (single-track) mountain bike trails. There are 5 main loops open to biking, running and hiking with a total of about 8 miles. Trail difficulty goes from intermediate to expert, with one half-mile extreme difficulty section in the Brownie Lake Loop.
These trails are popular with fat bikers (bikers on fat bikes, that is!) and snowshoers in the winter. There’s a 2-minute video of part of the Loop. Unfortunately, the City doesn’t provide us with a PDF map.