Behind the Twin Cities Cycling Maps

You have probably seen this small foldable maps in bike and coffee shops around town.  They are free, fit in your pocket and give you a nice guide to the biking and running trails around the city.

Late last week the Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and Regional Trail maps began making their way into stores around the metro area.

We wanted to learn more about these amazing and free maps, so we chatted with Nat Case and John Barobs of Minnehaha Maps to learn more.

CTC: I know that Minnehaha Media is relatively new, but how long has Hedberg been producing a free trail map?

MM: We started making this size of map in 2008, and the Minnehaha Media brand was launched in 2009.

CTC: What sources do you use to create the maps?

MM: We pull from a wide variety of government geodata, heavily supplemented with fieldwork, aerial photo analysis, and piecemeal information from government and park organizations.

CTC: Where do you produce the maps (both create and actually get them printed)?

MM: The map artwork is created on computers here at our office in the Northrup King Building in Northeast Minneapolis, and the maps are printed by a variety of printers both locally and further afield.

CTC: What allows you to keep the maps free?

MM: Sponsorship, plain and simple.

CTC: Any major changes for this year?

MM: The Minneapolis and St Paul maps reflect new trails and lanes. The Twin Cities Regional Trails and forthcoming Duluth Trails maps are entirely new.

CTC: How long does it take to create the map?

MM: For an all-new title, quite a while (2-3 weeks or more of solid work, more if it’s a geographic area new to us). For updated titles, not so long. And because we do other bike-map work (for Nice Ride and for the Minneapolis Bicycle Map, for example), some of our information-gathering is duplicated across title and ongoing though the year.

CTC: Any plans to start creating a PDF version?

MM: Not immediately. The 12 x 18 format doesn’t really lend itself to printing out on a home printer. Our hope is that we have enough of the free printed maps out there that anyone who wants them can pick one up!

CTC: What is the distribution like for these maps?

MM: Minneapolis Trails Map:  110 distribution points  + about 120 Minneapolis Parks & Rec Buildings and Centers, St Paul Trails Map:   90 distribution points + about 25 St Paul Parks & Rec Buildings and Centers, Twin Cities Regional Trails Map:  about 100 distribution points.


Thanks Nat and John, and thank you to all the sponsors of the maps, without you we wouldn’t have this great resource!

This entry was posted in Profile, Twin Cities Cyclist and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Behind the Twin Cities Cycling Maps

  1. adventure! says:

    Yeah! Free maps!

    This was the thing that always frustrated me about Minneapolis/St. Paul–no free bike map. Most other cities offer up one, whereas the Twin Cities only had the $10 (if I remember correctly) version. I don’t mind paying for a map every once in awhile, but for that price, I’d like a tear and water resistant version, which the Twin Cities map was not.

  2. Nat Case says:

    Adventure, besides the maps described here, look for the Minneapolis Bike Map, which should be available (free) at local bike shops: We published it for the city last fall.

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