Mountain Biking the Minnesota River Bottoms West Segment Part I
One of my favorite areas in the Twin Cites to mountain bike is the stretch of the Minnesota River Bottoms from the 35W Bridge to the Bloomington Ferry Bridge. These two-way mostly singletrack trails meander their way through the woods and fields of the Minnesota River floodplain. This western segment of Minnesota River Bottoms accommodates mountain bikers of all skill levels.
The terrain changes several times along the way from tall grassy fields to woods with heavy underbrush to sandy sparsely wooded lowlands. The area is generally flat without many hills, so you can really get up some speed going through the winding network of trails. If you are new to mountain biking this is a great place to get some practice. I would say most of the route is beginner to intermediate in terms of difficulty but there are plenty of intermediate to advanced technical features to experience along the way. These include a lot of log crossings, a few skinnies, narrow tree passages and some loose sandy areas that will test your legs and balance. These features also have alternate paths around them if you prefer to bypass the obstacle.
The length of your trip will vary depending on your starting point and the numerous trail offshoot options along. Typically a round trip ride will be around 14 miles Keep in mind that all of the trails are two-way and you may encounter people walking, sometimes with pets, so yield to, give an audible signal and pass with caution.
Be sure to come back later this week for Part II of Chris’ exploration of the River Bottoms.