Breaking down the best mountain biking trails near the Twin Cities

Flint Frohman reviews some of the local mountain biking trails


Flint Frohman

A view from the River Bottoms mountain biking trail

Looking for a decent trail to go mountain biking around the Twin Cities can be a challenging task, especially if you’re new to the sport. Whether you’re biking for a team or just for fun, it’s always good to know a few good trails close to where you live. No matter the reason you are biking, these trails are definitely some places worth checking out:

Theodore Wirth Park, 1221 Theodore Wirth Pkwy, Minneapolis

Theodore Wirth is a great place for new and veteran riders alike, providing a wide variety of trails in close proximity to the Twin Cities, (actually being within the boundaries of Minneapolis) In total, Theodore Wirth sports 23km of trail and a recently remodeled trailhead with a restaurant inside. The trail itself runs through mostly wooded areas and along the Theodore Wirth golf course, however, you do need to cross major roads to get to certain parts of the trails network. 

Personally, it’s one of my favorite places to go mountain biking and a great place for beginners to start.

— Flint Frohman

Lebanon Hills, 860 Cliff Road, Eagan

Lebanon Hills is a bit longer of a drive from the cities, but it’s definitely worth it. The trails themselves are very well maintained and are almost always dry unless it has recently rained or snowed. They happen to be located in a section of prairie and forest that is actively being restored, which makes for a truly beautiful ride. Lebanon Hills has one blue loop around the perimeter of the park, which I would recommend to newer riders. There is also a red and black section in the center of the park, which should be attempted only by more experienced riders.

Lake Rebecca, 9831 Rebecca Park Trail, Rockford, MN

Lake Rebecca Park Reserve features both excellent single track along with paved trail, and winds through the forested areas around Lake Rebecca itself. It offers something for everyone, with 13.5 miles of single-track mountain biking trail with blue, black and green sections. The black section isn’t really that difficult, it just has more hills and can be more tiring than the rest of the trail. In the summertime, the trails can get fairly dusty, so be careful. However, being about 45 minutes away from Minneapolis, it’s a long drive from the cities.

Minnesota River Bottoms, Bloomington, MN

The Minnesota River Bottoms are 7.5 miles of trail along the Minnesota River. Personally, it’s one of my favorite places to go mountain biking and a great place for beginners to start. It’s the first place I ever went mountain biking, and aside from a few small hills and the gravel hill at the trailhead, it’s pretty flat. It does have some technical areas, but this is often pretty dependent on the weather as it is prone to flooding and can wash logs up onto the trail. The trail itself can get pretty busy, as it is a very popular location among both bikers and walkers. 

There are plenty of places around the Minneapolis-St. Paul area to go mountain biking if you know where to look, and if it’s a trip you desire, you can find great biking all over the state. 

If you’re curious about mountain biking trails outside of the cities, a few good places to start would be Mt. Kato, Spirit Mountain, and Cuyuna Lakes.