Thinking about riding your bike all the way to Canada? A new trail will guide the way.
A newly designated bicycle route uses existing roads and trails to create a bike-friendly path connecting St. Paul to Grand Portage State Park, near the Canadian border.
Dubbed the North Star Route or U.S. Bicycle Route 41, it's Minnesota's second route to be listed on the U.S. Bicycle Route System, according a news release from the Minnesota Department of Transportation. (The state's first route is the Mississippi River Trail, aka U.S. Bicycle Route 45, which goes from Hastings to the Iowa border. It was designated in 2013.)
The path is 315-miles long – that would take the average cyclist more than 21 hours to bike the entire thing (as long as there aren’t any big hills to ride up).
And it travels through some of Minnesota’s most popular locations, including two national parks, nine state parks and the Superior National Forest. The route also passes through the bike-friendly communities of Duluth and Grand Marais.
The department says the North Star Route is great for families and bikers of all experience levels.
“With nearly half the route on trails, there are many opportunities for families and less-experienced bicyclists to travel and enjoy the route,” project manager Liz Walton said in the release.
It might even take you somewhere you've never been before.
“Also, on a bicycle, there are opportunities to experience the many cities with small-town charm that people miss when traveling on the interstate highway. The route will contribute to more vibrant and healthy communities for those who that take full advantage of bicycling for travel and fun. Bicyclists, businesses and others stand to benefit," Walton said.
Earlier this summer, the department asked for help developing the route. More than 3,600 people helped identify and rank route-selection criteria, comment on a draft and then final alignment, name the route and suggest locations where the route could connect to a future Wisconsin bicycle route, the department said.
They'll hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the route in St. Paul this spring, followed by a six-day bicycle ride to Grand Portage State Park - which is open to the first 32 people who register.
The tour includes meals, hotels and transportation for $850. Check out mywahooadventures.com for more information.