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Grand Forks, North Dakota, and East Grand Forks, Minnesota, host a network of paved paths along the Red River and Red Lake River that form the border between these two cities.
At just more than 20 miles, the Greenway of Greater Grand Forks, known as the Greenway, includes a 10-mile loop through both cities that enables bikers/hikers to link up to other trails through each city. In addition, bikers can also access the 100-mile paved route of the Rural Bicycle Loop in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
The Greenway trails developed out of a massive project to mitigate damage from disastrous seasonal flooding on the Red River. The network of trails traverses through a 2,200-acre natural open space along the river in both cities. A unique feature of this system of urban trails is the limited trail crossings for vehicles, thus allowing for long stretches of recreational use.
The cities are linked by two bridges over the river that are designated for nonmotorized use only, making for a delightful ride between the states. Access to facilities abounds along the trail. East Grand Forks in Minnesota has four designated trailheads: at River Heights in the Red River State Recreation Area campground, Griggs Park at the south end of downtown East Grand Forks, at Eagle Point on First Street Southeast at the confluence of the Red and Red Lake Rivers, and Crestwood at O’Leary Park on Fourth Street Southeast. The trail can also be accessed from over 10 locations along its route. There are 14 designated parking areas throughout the Greenway, 11 restrooms, and 10 information kiosks.
Other amenities along the trails include playgrounds, picnic areas, campgrounds, golf courses, shore bank fishing sites, and myriad open spaces. Interpretive historic, wildlife, and geology plaques are located throughout the Greenway system. Wildflowers and animals can be seen along the banks of both rivers that run the entire length of the Greenway. The trail also offers an ideal venue for winter activities, including groomed cross-country ski routes.
There are dozens of places to park to access the various segments of the trail.
To reach trailhead parking with restrooms in North Dakota, take I-29 to Exit 130. Head east on Seventh Ave. N.E., and go 0.4 mile. Take the first left onto 11th St. N.E./S. Columbia Road/County Road 17, which becomes CR 81 and then S. Washington St. Go 6.5 miles, and turn right onto 62nd Ave. S.E. In 0.8 mile turn left onto Belmont Road. In 1.6 miles, just before Belmont Court, you will see the trailhead parking on your right.
To reach parking at Lincoln Drive Park in North Dakota, follow the directions above to Belmont Road. Once on Belmont, go 3.3 miles north, and turn right onto Lincoln Drive and enter the park.
To reach parking at Riverside Park in North Dakota, take I-29 to Exit 141. Head east on Gateway Drive/US 2. In 2 miles turn left onto Mill Road, and go 0.5 mile. Turn right onto Red Dot Place, and in 0.2 mile turn left to access the parking lot.
In Minnesota, parking is available in River Heights Park. Take I-29 to Exit 141 (in North Dakota). Head east on Gateway Drive/US 2, and go 2.7 miles, entering Minnesota, and take the exit for East Grand Forks. Turn left onto Fourth St. N.W./River Road N.W., and parking will be 0.3 mile ahead on the right.
To reach parking just south of the confluence of Red River and Red Lake River in Minnesota, take I-29 to Exit 140 (in North Dakota). Head east on Demers Ave./MN 297, and go 2.4 miles to the Fourth Ave. S. exit. Continue on Fourth Ave. S. 0.6 mile, and turn left onto Minnesota Ave. Go 0.5 mile, entering Minnesota, and turn left into the parking lot just before the Third Ave. bridge.
Visiting from SoCal, my wife and I rode this spectacular trail on October 1. Despite a heavy cloud cover and the threat of rain, we could not imagine a more beautiful time of year to to ride this trail thanks to the mild temperatures and an abundance of amazing fall color.
On a Friday morning/afternoon, we pretty much had this marvelously well-maintained trail and greenway all to ourselves.
Starting at Riverside Park in Grand Forks, North Dakota, we rode the Red River loop counterclockwise, plus one southerly spur into a lovely Grand Forks suburb for a total of fifteen miles. Just the loop, which crosses the Red River into East Grand Forks, Minnesota, would have been an easy, flat ten miles. If you have the Trail Link app, you first timers will want to rely on it since there are many unmarked forks in the trail.
This trail truly exceeded my expectations! It is without a doubt the calmest, quietest, safest, most beautiful urban/suburban trail I have ever ridden thanks to the well designed greenways. We loved how the emphasis was on the natural beauty of the trees, river, and greenways, and how it was enhanced by the beautiful protective walls, bridges, and curvy paths. On our three week odyssey of riding our bikes in ten states in sixteen days, this was by far our favorite! Kudos to the cities of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. Your city planners hit a home run with this project!
(From the For What It's Worth department: The superb conclusion to our perfect North Dakota/Minnesota bicycle adventure was a delicious late lunch at the Blue Moose Bar and Grill in East Grand Forks. It was an ideal setting for us out on the covered patio overlooking the greenway, bike trail, and its gorgeous fall colors!)
We recently visited Grand Forks to continue our quest for riding 50 miles in all the United States.North Dakota does not have too many trails to chose from but the Greenway will not disappoint.We stayed on the west side of the Red River and found the trail surface and topography quite appealing.The trail itself is approximately 10 miles in length but heading south there are several lightly traveled bike lanes and roads.The park itself is a creation of the attempts to control the Red River when it decides to flood which was devastating in the 1990s.They have constructed several walls and levees which add to the charm of the ride.Facilities are available and quite well maintained.
The section of trail along the Red River is as good as an urban trail can be. All smooth and very safe. The downtown loop is about 10 miles and gets a little confusing where the Red River meets the Red Lake River. The bikeway map on the city website is a lot better than the map on the Greenway website.
If you are staying at one of the hotels near the Alerus Center just take the trails south and east to the south end of the river trail, would be about 25 miles round trip including the river trail.
My wife and I had to address business in Grand Forks and brought our bicycles with us. We rode this trail and found it absolutely wonderful. The paved trail hugs the Red River and the boarder of Minnesota and North Dakota. The trail is asphalt and in great condition. Many rest areas and tool/air stations. There are many bridges that you can get to East Grand Forks Minnesota and back to Grand Forks North Dakota. The trail offers a ton of food and drink stops as most of the establishment are a short hop off the trail. The trail is also a multi use trail and offers great opportunity for a urban connector trail and way to get around Grand Forks.
Love the Grand Forks Greenway. The Wife and I have spent many hours riding the greenway. People are always friendly and many great places to stop and enjoy the fresh air. The greenway also connects to other bike paths that take you all around Grand Forks and the University. We would ride from our home but there are many places to park and start with many access points to get on the trail. Only downside is winter is long and I am not brave enough to ride in -30. Some people are though.
Recently moved away and we miss the bike paths. We loved how you dont have to cross any major roads. It is very well kept and we always felt very safe riding. We talk often about how much we miss Grand forks and the Greenway is a big part of that.
This is a uniquely wonderful trail set in the flood plain of the Red River. Instead of a narrow corridor of a rails to trails type path this occupies a wide swath of the river bottoms with a large dyke on the upland side of the path blocking views of town & residential neighborhoods. It's like riding through a lush and beautiful arboretum. The pathways are in excellent shape and mostly deserted in the fall mornings, giving one the feeling of being far far away from civilization.
The town of Grand forks is small and tidy with all the amenities one could want without the traffic congestion & noise of a larger city. I would highly recommend this trail for a bicycle vacation destination.
This Trail System takes one under or over and by bridges on the Red River. Trail is in fine condition. Excellent new bike Pedestrian Bridge. Noel Keller 17 Oct 2011
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