Biking has become a new family-favorite activity for us. We’ve had a fun summer and fall searching for our favorite, nearby bike trails. According to Explore Minnesota there are 4,000 miles of paved biking trails in this remarkable state of ours. It’s going to take us a long time to ride all of them, but for now we’ve selected our top 3 parks for biking with kids in the western Twin Cities metro area.

All of these parks rank high for families because of the amenities they offer. The trailheads all have ample parking, various privy options, dumpsters, and drinking fountains available. The trails are in remarkable condition with pitstops along the way that have a mix of pit toilets, picnic areas, and/or playgrounds available. Taking a family bike ride, in and of itself, is an enjoyable way to spend a morning, but at these parks the options are endless and you could easily make a day of all the activities that are offered. Families may even consider going so far as to make a weekend trip out of it and stay at the campgrounds at these parks.

Lake Rebecca

With 8.1 miles of paved biking trails and 13.25 miles of single track mountain bike trails Lake Rebecca Park Reserve in Rockford, MN is a cyclists dream destination and a great place for families. This park also boasts a seriously amazing outdoor play space for kids.

We spent an entire day at this park biking, mountain biking, picnicking, and exploring the park with cousins! All the kids (ages 1-10) had a wonderful time playing at this amazing play space. Our favorite activity was finding all the ‘hidden’ animals throughout the park and identifying the animal tracks in the cement.

Jack had an awesome time shredding a 1.3 mile easy single track trail on his Woom2 pedal bike. He took some gnarly falls, but after a brief cry and need for kisses he proclaimed he was ready to keep on biking. The trail snaked its way through deciduous forests with leaves coating the trail and then into a classic Minnesota prairie witch cicadas serenading riders along the way.

The paved trail around Lake Rebecca was a beautiful 6.5 miles with 269 feet of total elevation gain. The trail was in excellent shape with steep hills and several picnic areas along the way. This trail goes through some seriously beautiful forests that took my breath away.

 

Orange line is the paved trail. It has several trailhead parking areas to chose from

Baker Park

Biking in the summer months can be enjoyed utilizing the 12.5 miles of paved trails at picturesque Baker Park in Maple Plain, MN and 4 miles of specialized fat-tire bike trails allow for cycling fun in the winter months as well.

We greatly enjoyed our 6.5 mile cycle around Lake Katrina on a warm September morning. Leaves coated the trail as it wound through gorgeous forests. Occasional views of the lake made this trip especially enjoyable.

The trail was steep and had lots of hills which made for an interesting and difficult ride. We endured over 200 feet of elevation gain during our trek.

Orange line is the paved bike trail

Carver Park Reserve

We have a special love for Carver Park since it is the closest to our house and our most frequently visited park, but seriously these bike trails are beyond amazing. They are in pristine condition and take you through beautiful landscapes. Our 11.3 mile trip was pretty intense with 563 feet of elevation gain. However, this trail can be made as short or as long as you’d like depending on where you park and which loop you chose to do.

We opted to add on mileage by checking out a beautiful overlook and a missed turn that led us to the campground rather than the loop meant we did some backtracking.

Carver Park also has the amazing, Lowry Nature Center, that offers many great children’s programs. Not to mention the amazing outdoor play space where kids can explore a Beaver’s lodge and swivel down a pretty intense slide.

Orange line is the paved bike trail

All of these parks offer remarkable bicycling opportunities and they are a tiny sampling of all the options out there. Find a park that’s near to you and explore all the amazing and beautiful things they have to offer.

Where’s your favorite place to bike?

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About the author


I am the youngest of six daughters and spent my childhood vacations camping in the beautiful State Parks of MN. In 2009 I married my best friend, Bobby Marko. We have embarked on numerous adventures along with our Golden Retriever, Latigo, our son, Jack (born 7/26/2014) and our daughter, Rowan (born 10/25/2016). When not adventuring in the great outdoors I spend my time as a stay at home mom and volunteer. I am a Branch Lead for the Twin Cities Hike it Baby branch. My favorite pastimes include dog training, eating chocolate, reading mysteries and crappy romance novels, and creating paper crafts, my passion lies in writing.

6 comments

  1. Liz

    This is great! I’m a MN native who comes back each summer with bike loving son in tow– we’d love to get beyond the Mpls chain of lakes on our vacations, but haven’t found bike rentals for kids in many places. Seems like there’s a business opportunity there for someone–like an Uber + bike rental…

  2. Susan

    I love this! Can’t wait to spend a day at Lake Rebecca. Thanks for sharing. BTW, Jack’s got a SWEEEEET ride. 🙂

  3. Robert Marko

    Glad you liked the post! We can’t wait to get back to Lake Rebecca once the fall colors peak – it’ll be even more gorgeous!

  4. liz

    That’s so great, I had no idea! The rates are super cheap, too. Thank you, we’ll have another place to add to our biking agenda (currently limited to chain of lakes and gitchi gammi trail by bluefin bay).

  5. Bobby Marko

    We still have to ride the Gitchi Gami! Everytime we drive on 61 and see it we say next time we have to bring our bikes. Hopefully next summer!

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