Biking in Lake County
Bike the north shore
Lake County offers bike trails for all kinds of riders. So whether you like smooth cruising for miles on paved paths or you’re an adventure-seeker who craves rough terrain and twisting trails that challenge your abilities, you’ll find the North Shore in Lake County a must-do biking destination.
The Big Lake Bike Path
The gitchi-gami state trail
The family-friendly Gitchi-Gami State Trail features a paved path to encourage open-road cyclists to bike off the congested Hwy 61 along Lake Superior.
Eventually, the course will connect Two Harbors to Grand Marais via a paved bike path. In addition, riders in Lake County now have a 17.2 portion connecting Gooseberry State Park, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Beaver Bay, and Silver Bay. Hikers, joggers, inline skaters, and bikers can enjoy riding a safe route near Lake Superior.
The DEMONSTRATION FOREST
A newer bike model, the gravel bike resembles a road bike but has larger tires and disc brakes. Interestingly, these bikes seem to be made specifically for Lake County! While they hold their own on paved roads, these bikes were designed to be efficient and fast on gravel or dirt roads.
Lake County has converted the extensive mining and timber railways to gravel roads today. There’s also a network of recent timber haul roads still maintained by State and County Forestry departments that are more rugged and adventurous.
Race events, such as Heck of the North, capitalize on these routes by linking them into a 100-mile race that draws more than 600 riders each fall. Riders can follow predetermined routes or, even better, plan their own adventures! Those looking for the ultimate experience carry camping gear and string multiple days of riding and camping together.
Mountain Biking on the North Shore
TWO HARBORS DEMONSTRATION FOREST
While Lake County doesn’t possess actual “mountains,” its most recent biking development endeavor created purpose-built single-track mountain bike trails. Mountain bikes hold an essential purpose in Lake County; they’re perfect for riding through the plentitude of forest roads and snowmobile trails. The Demonstration Forest features Lake County’s first purpose-built mountain bike trails. Initially created for hiking, the county has modified or newly constructed the routes to make mountain biking a more enjoyable experience. The success of the Demonstration Forest seeded even bigger visions of making Lake County a mountain biking destination.
SPLIT ROCK WILDS - SILVER BAY, MN
Split Rock Wilds – the newest mountain biking trail in Lake County, was inspired by the vision of a County Forestry employee. Also an avid mountain biker, he walked through a piece of County-owned land to manage some dead and dying birch.
The scenery and terrain screamed to have a mountain bike trail: no roads, amazing Lake Superior views, dynamic terrain, and many rocks. Fast forward ten years later, and Lake County has created a sick mountain biking park and nearly completed 20 miles of mountain bike trail between Beaver Bay and Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.
These trails offer today’s mountain bikers a somewhat unique and promising experience. The challenging course highlights rocks and elevation gain. The remoteness of the trails delivers a unique experience in Minnesota; who doesn’t like to stop on a rock outcrop and gaze at the world’s largest freshwater body of water? Today’s riders own bikes that can handle rough terrain, and with the explosion of mountain bike popularity, riders’ skills have improved, and they desire adrenaline-pumping challenges. Once completed, Split Rock Wilds will feature trails for beginners and advanced mountain bikers.
Winter Biking: Fatbikes
Riders in northern climates have always looked for a way to ride outside in the winter. Through many attempts by individuals and manufacturers, riders now have a well-suited bike to ride when the snow piles up.
Enter the fat bike! Fat bikes feature 3.8- to 5-inch tires specifically designed to ride through the snow. Because of the new popularity of fat bikes, Lake County and the Minnesota DNR have created winter biking routes that wind through the woods on snowy trails. The county grooms the trails to pack the snow and keep ruts to a minimum. Two prominent areas to ride include the Lake County Demonstration Forest and Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.
north shore bike rentals
For those who want to try fat or mountain biking, or simply don’t want to haul their gear can rent bikes at the following places: