Now that True North Basecamp is open for Winter riding I had to get up there and check it out for myself. I have only ridden the red dirt singletrack of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails in the Summer so a visit there was bound to be a real treat. Co-Founders Dan Jurek and Jeff Bajek invited me to come up for a stay at one of their lakefront cabins where I could ride ride onto the trail system from the front door. I invited a couple of my ride buddies to join me where we met up there on a Sunday recently and were welcomed by a light coating of fresh snow.
Check in was easy upon arrival to our cabin, I simply used the code from my trip confirmation email to gain access. The cabin was clean and modern while maintaining a rustic feel. Amenities included heater/air conditioner, a full and three twin beds, table and chairs, plug in with USB charging ports, picnic table and portable fire pit (firewood is available for purchase in Crosby). Located just a short walk behind the cabin was the shower house that had heated floors, showers, bathroom and changing area.
After unpacking and changing into our cycling clothes we were ready to hit the trails. Trail access was at the end of the row of cabins and down the hill where there was a creek crossing that led uphill to the frozen singletrack. It was nice being so close to the trails so we could hit them as desired and return to the Basecamp for rest and refreshments.
The Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails and Cuyuna Lakes State Trail weren't the only riding opportunities available. With the mine pit lakes frozen over we were able to explore out on the ice. The snow wasn't too deep yet for riding so we got in some extra exploratory miles on Portsmouth Mine Pit Lake and the Armour Number Two Mine which is the lake that the cabins overlook.
Riding the mountain bike trails, State Trail and the lakes was a blast. The Crosby area had received a light dusting of fresh powder the day we arrived letting us get first tracks in a lot of areas. The convenience of being so close to the trails allowed us to ride as we pleased.
While the cabins do supply comfortable shelter for the trip, there are no kitchen facilities so I would recommend bringing drinking water, convenience foods and a tabletop grill, crockpot or campstove for easy meal prep during the stay. Crosby is just a few blocks away if biking into town to grab a meal and drinks at one of the local establishments is preferred. A cooler with ice will be needed to keep food and drinks cold.
In conclusion, my friends and I had a great time at True North Basecamp. The cabin and shower house were perfect for our bike trip, they provided us a "basecamp" where would could eat, sleep, rest and shower as needed throughout our stay. Because it was an overnight trip we didn't feel rushed to get in as much riding as possible. We were right on the trail system allowing us to relax, enjoy the stay and ride at will. We are definitely looking forward to returning to True North Basecamp to "shred the red" when the warmer seasons roll around.
Reservations for a stay at the True North Basecamp cabins or to check availability can be done online. Winter '16 cabin rentals are $99/night Sunday through Thursday (weekday cabin rate) and $125/night for Friday and Saturday (weekend cabin rate). For more information about True North Basecamp visit http://truenorthbasecamp.com/.
Disclosure: True North Basecamp provided one night's stay for the experience to write this article, but offered no other form of compensation for this review.