Washington County hosts a couple of the state bike trails as well as some bike trails in a few of the regional parks. There isn’t the mileage as in some of the other metro counties, but if you’re into hills, there are some doozies thanks to the St. Croix River valley area.
Washington County park’s brochure has better information than what’s on the Park & Rec website. The brochure details four designated bike loops in the county that mainly follow the roads as well as trails.
You’ll need a daily or annual parking pass for the state and regional parks and reserves.
Big Marine Park Reserve (Marine on St. Croix)
Biking in Big Marine will appeal to families with children or those out for a short ride. The paved trail isn’t long, so you could easily meander along it, including by the lake, for as long as you wanted.
There’s a playground and swimming beach there, too, so would be a great summer afternoon spot for various activities. Here’s the map.
Brown’s Creek State Trail (Grant to Stillwater)
Lovely 6-mile Brown’s Creek State Trail is a multi-use paved trail. There’s a horse trail that parallels closely along part of it so be aware of who’s around you. The eastern-most mile runs along the St. Croix River with gorgeous views. It connects to the Gateway State Trail in Grant. Here’s the map.
Brown’s Creek is open during the winter, but not groomed. The website doesn’t say whether fat bikes are welcome. It gets use from winter hikers, snowshoers and skiers.
Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park (Cottage Grove)
Cottage Grove Ravine has been closed for park improvements since spring of 2017, and will remain closed until spring of 2018. Here’s a summer map, although it’s quite useless as the lines on the map don’t match the key! The winter map is much more helpful, but it looks like none of the trails are open to fat bikes.
Gateway State Trail (St. Paul, Maplewood, North St. Paul, Oakdale)
The Gateway State Trail is an 18-mile multi-use paved trail through Washington County. It offers a variety of landscape from urban to forest to rural, and runs through several parks. It isn’t maintained during the winter except for a couple urban stretches for hikers.
Lake Elmo Park Reserve (Lake Elmo)
Lake Elmo has 2,165 acres of preserved rolling hills, forest and prairie. There are over 20 miles of unpaved multi-use trails great for mountain biking. You’ll potentially share the trails with hikers and horses, so be aware! Here’s the summer map.
Most of the trails are groomed for skiing in the winter, with one loop set aside for hikers. But there’s also a paved trail marked on the winter map. Assumingly that’s maintained and would be open to fat bikes or even street bikes if conditions are right.
Pine Point Regional Park (Stillwater)
Pine Point serves as a major trailhead for the Gateway State Trail, as well as offering 5 miles of multi-use trails within the park itself. If you like natural-surface trails, you’ll need to stick to the trail on the east side of Norell Avenue. Those on the west side are for foot traffic and horses only. Here’s the summer map.
William O’Brien State Park (Marine on St. Croix)
William O’Brien, a wonderful destination for hiking and skiing, isn’t so much a biker’s destination. There’s a 1.5-mile paved trail open to biking, but that’s about it.