Favorite Trails for Fall Color Rides-Part 4

Fall is my favorite time of the year to get out in the woods and when it involves a bike that's even better.  With cooler weather fast approaching, now is the time to plan where you would like to ride to see the fall colors in their full glory.  Minnesota is filled with a lot of great trails to see the changing of the leaves and listed below are a few of my favorites.  For you mountain bikers, I will include some of my favorite MTB trails I enjoy heading to in the fall.

Image Credit:  MN DNR

The Minnesota DNR has on its website a Fall Color Report page to update you on current conditions around the state.  The site also contains a Fall Color Mobile page you can access anytime while you are out and about from your smartphone.  Use these reports to head to the areas with the best fall colors for your next ride.

The Douglas State Trail is a beautiful fall ride through some of  southern Minnesota's richest agricultural countryside.  It is a 12.5 mile former railroad grade that is canopied by woods most of the way as it passes fields and pastures from Rochester to Pine Island.  Take a round trip for a 25 mile ride or venture into Rochester on the city trails.  For more information on the Douglas State Trail, see my post The Douglas State Trail Offers Views of  Rural Southern Minnesota Farm Country.

 The Luce Line State Trail is a favorite in the northwest Twin Cities metro that is a former railroad grade aggregate trail. This State Trail travels 63 miles from Plymouth to Cosmos in west-central Minnesota.  I usually start at the Plymouth Trailhead on Vicksburgh Lane and venture west.  Enjoy the fall colors and changing landscape as you leave the city for the wooded countryside.  More information about this trail can be found in my post A Smooth Ride From the Suburbs to the Country on the Luce Line State Trail.
The Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway with its seven byway districts is a wonderful scenic ride through Minneapolis.  You will experience the beauty of city parks, parkways, lakes, the Mississippi River and the city skyline as you take the tour.  With the changing of the season, the fall colors make this already enjoyable ride even better.  The Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway is a Minneapolis treasure and should definitely be on your list of trails to ride this fall or anytime of year.

This next favorite is a route that I like to ride frequently.  It includes several trails and bridge crossings on both sides of the Mississippi River in St. Paul.  I call this one the St. Paul Riverfront-Four Bridges Route.  It's a little over 24 miles in length and showcases the beauty of the St. Paul Riverfront.  Add the changing leaves and this ride comes with many colorful vantage points of the river.  Included are trails from Hidden Falls Regional Park, Crosby Farm Regional Park, Lilydale/Harriet Island Regional Park, the Sam Morgan Regional Trail, the Fort Snelling State Trail and Minnehaha Park.  Bridges crossed include Ford Parkway Bridge, 35E Bridge, the Wabasha Bridge and the Hwy. 5 bridge.  I like to start and finish my ride from Lake Nokomis and will change the route up from time to time, there are a lot of different ways you can ride this one.  

Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan contains some of the best mountain biking trails in the Twin Cities.  There are trails for beginner, intermediate and expert as well as a skills park to practice for some of the features located on the trails.  The rider will experience miles of  singletrack that meander through the hilly  hardwood forest of the park where color is in abundance during the onset of fall.  A new West Trailhead Parking Area recently opened with ample parking and facilities with restrooms and changing rooms.  Be sure to stop by for the West Trailhead Grand Opening on Saturday, Oct. 6th.

Minnesota has many more trails than I had time to mention for this series of posts, but these are the ones I have ridden and they are fall color favorites of mine.  The season is changing so get out there and bike one of these favorites and experience all that Minnesota has to offer.

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