If you're looking for a ride to get outdoors and casually pedal for a few miles through a pleasant setting next to the river, this is a good contender.
Be on the lookout for areas that can be wet or even underwater depending on the current height of the river (there are gates to block off those portions).
Start from either of the easily accessed parking areas off of 2nd Ave SE and head south on the Watpe Wakan Trail
for some early views of the river. When you meet the Isanti Loop
, keep pedaling south to follow the bank of the river. Turn left on the Inlet Connector
and then onto the Back Trail
for a slight descent with a couple wooden drops. This section can be narrow and overgrown with thorn bushes, so watch your arms and legs.
Next, head over to the Wahpekute Loop
and follow the mowed path for a quick clockwise loop before heading back out to the west to catch the end of the Mdewakanton Trail
as it climbs to the road. Head north towards the campus to reach the Campus Paved Path
Look for the start of the Sisseton Trail
as it splits to the south. This will head back into the trees where riders can complete a very short lap around the Short Grass Loop
before heading back to the start on the Wahpeton Trail
. You can almost coast all the way back.
The area was a Native American thoroughfare between Mlile lacs and Minnesota River tribes.