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The Cuyuna Lakes State Trail winds its way through northern hardwoods and spruce/pine forests along the shores of 6 natural lakes and 15 clear, constructed lakes that were former mine pits. The cluster of lakes has a combined undeveloped shoreline length of more than 25 miles.
The trail traverses the 5,000-acre Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, featuring the world-class Cuyuna Mountain Bike Trail System with more than 25 miles of riding and 30 miles of purpose-built routes suited for beginner to professional riders.
When completed, the trail will encompass about 30 miles from Aitkin to Baxter, where it will connect to the Paul Bunyan State Trail. Currently, only the middle segment is open, from Riverton to Crosby. There is also a paved 1-mile segment in the city of Aitkin, 15 miles east of Crosby, that parallels US 169 through the center of the city and links into a loop of trails at Aitkin City Park at the trail’s north end.
Most of the facilities along the trail are privately owned and operated. The Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area manages two Minnesota Department of Natural Resources forestry campgrounds nearby.
Restrooms are available at the Portsmouth Campground, about 0.5 mile north of the trail on the east side of CR 30.
From Minneapolis, take US 169 about 17 miles north, and turn left onto US 10/US 169. In 10.2 miles, exit right onto US 169. Travel 75.6 miles north on US 169 to Garrison. Turn left onto MN 18, and go 4.3 miles. Turn right onto MN 6, and go 9.5 miles. Turn left onto E. Front St., and in 0.4 mile turn right onto MN 6/MN 210/Archibald Road. In 2.9 miles turn right onto Cuyuna Road. In 0.3 mile turn left onto Eighth St. N.E. to reach Croft Mine Historical Park in 0.6 mile. Or go 0.4 mile on Eighth St. N.E. to park at the Hallett Center of Crosby, located at 470 Eighth St. N.E.
Just west of Crosby, parking is available in Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area off Portsmouth Mine Road. From Minneapolis, take US 169 about 17 miles north, and turn left onto US 10/US 169. In 10.2 miles, exit right onto US 169. Travel 75.6 miles north on US 169 to Garrison. Turn left onto MN 18, and go 4.3 miles. Turn right onto MN 6, and go 9.5 miles. Turn left onto Front St., and in 2.5 miles turn right onto County Road 28. In 1.5 miles turn left onto Oak St./MN 210. In 0.9 mile turn right onto Irene Ave. In 0.3 mile make a slight left, and continue 0.6 mile on Portsmouth Mine Road to parking on the right.
For the Riverton trailhead, from Minneapolis, take US 169 about 17 miles north, and turn left onto US 10/US 169. In 10.2 miles, exit right onto US 169. Travel 75.6 miles north on US 169 to Garrison. Turn left onto MN 18, and go 4.3 miles. Turn right onto MN 6, and go 9.5 miles. Turn left onto Front St., and go 7.2 miles. Turn left onto MN 210, and in 0.9 mile turn right onto County Road 59. Go 1 mile north on CR 59, and take a right onto CR 128. Take the first left onto Rowe Road, and the entrance to the parking lot is about 100 feet on the right.
Lots of options for mt bikes and a paved trail as well. Good signage and skill practice areas. Beautiful area.
I started on the northeast side of Crosby on the paved trail. This was flat and easy to do, mostly shaded with trees & bushes. The west end trailhead was nothing but a paved parking lot--no biff, no water, no shade, no signs. From this point you can supposedly get on "Easy Street" the beginner mountain trail but there were no signs or indications, so I just turned around and headed to the main trailhead.
This is a huge, amazing trail head for the mountain trails--lots of people and activity. But finding a trail suitable for novices like me was impossible. So I gave it a shot on a more difficult mountain trail without the right equipment or skills. I made a short loop but it wasn't much fun. There needs to be a place for novices and kids with easy access to practice on and acquire some basic skills.
This whole layout is really impressive but there needs to be updated maps and signs.
I was able to test out the area on 9.30.2013. At first it was intimidating because everyone had a nicer bike and cool gear, but once you are on the trail you will find there are trails for all levels of ability, even beginners. Lots of loops, so you can take a break or try them again. The way the trail is built, you barely feel like you are pedaling, just a rollercoaster of momentum. Very fun!
This is a beautiful trail that goes through the forests and along the natural lakes and those formed from the open pit iron mines that dotted the local landscape years ago. The water in the lakes formed from the mines is crystal clear. An added bonus to this ride is a series of single track mountain bike trails that venture off to the side and are well marked.
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