The Cuyuna Lakes Trail System is an IMBA Silver Level Ride Center. It's the kind of place that has infinite possibilities for routes. This grand tour is a great way to sample most of what the area has to offer.
The main parking area has a few nice facilities, including access to swimming in Pennington Mine Lake.
Start at the Mahnomen Parking Area and pedal on Easy Street
all the way out to Mucker Mountain
. Pedal up the front and then wind around the back to a mellow descent to Little Sidewinder
. This is a short trail connecting to Sidewinder
, a favorite at Cuyuna Lakes.
Gain the hillside and descend slightly to reach lake level. Through the flatter sections, the trail gets fairly twisty. The trail will keep you engaged but listen for loons trumpeting on the lake.
As it rolls west, Sidewinder
contours up on the hillside and traverses a few open-area hillsides and one that has seen a slide recently. There are good views of Alstead Mine Lake through here.
The far east end stays along the contours and ends at Crusher
. From here, you can bear right to access Miner's Mountain
, a winding trail that takes you to another good view of the area. Miner's Mountain
has some fun and challenging option lines to practice your technical moves over big rocks.
Continue around the west side of Miner's to an advanced descent down Chute
. At the bottom, you'll connect with Trammer
and then pedal back out towards Easy Street
Stay right to do another lap in the area, this time on Hopper Hill
. The route is directional going clockwise. The west end climbs gradually up the hill in a circuitous fashion. The canopy is open here so on a summer day this is an area where you'll feel the heat.
Near the top of the first climb, there's an intersection with Screamer
. Stay right to continue on Hopper Hill
. From here, the trail climbs again, twisting to the top of the mountain, passing a great viewpoint to Alstead Mine Lake. Roll along the top of the grade through a few more turns before heading down quickly past a junction with Trammer
and then on to the end at Easy Street
. Stay left here and pedal back to the parking area for the transition to the next segment of this ride.
Head east now via Switchback
, a trail that provides a remote-feeling route and connects to the new Drag Line South
trail. The western side climbs through a couple of switchbacks to get up along a small ridge. The vegetation is fairly dense and you're likely to see some sort of wildlife, maybe grouse or deer. About half-way through, you'll descend a few switchbacks to get to lake level. From here, cruise for a bit in the trees and then break out to nice views as you cross a bridge. Roll out to the road and then stay right to get to Drag Line South
This brand-new trail was just completed and provides a very playful experience with lots of berms and rollers. If you're able, you can pump your way through the whole trail. At the end, stay left to ride a short section of 3rd Ave to a right turn on the Haul Road
out to the Yawkey trails.
This is a fun area to do multiple laps. Pedal the right side first on Man Cage
and Manuel Drive
before looping around to the left side via Trout
is a good loop here with a short, slightly steep climb followed by a ripping descent. At the bottom, stay right to start heading back west on the Haul Road
Cross back to Portsmouth Lake, this time staying right on Drag Line North
. Work your way around the lake and veer left on Man High Hill
for a short but constant mix of climbing and switchbacks.Merge back with Drag Line North
and then cross the road to re-connect with Switchback
. From here, you'll retrace your steps back to the start of the route.
Cuyuna is the first in the Minnesota State Park system created specifically for mountain biking.
The area provides more than 25 miles of purpose-built trails wind through a landscape created by 70 years of iron ore mining. Nature has reclaimed the area over the years: water has filled the pits and turned them into deep lakes. Lush vegetation has taken root on the rocky, rugged landscape.