Author Topic: Planning Family Trip for next summer need suggestions  (Read 3582 times)

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Offline Margaret

Planning Family Trip for next summer need suggestions
« on: June 22, 2018, 10:50:37 am »
Hi All,  I got great advice here for our last family trip.  I am planning a trip for next summer- we are two families, kids ranging from age 12-16.( about 13 riders in all)  We did our last trip on the GAP and C&O and averaged about 40 miles/day.  We are looking for a route which would be at least mostly on a bike trail ( for safety reasons) and I am looking possibilities such as The Katy Trail, The Mikelson Trail, and ? Paul Bunyan Trail in Minnesota, but we would look at other possibilities as well- I am thinking June for the trip.  Any thoughts or other suggestions?  I have searched and read a lot about the Katy Trail but want to check out all possibilities.  We  plan to camp most nights with maybe a hotel or two.  Hoping for a week to 10 day trip. 

Thanks,

Margaret

Offline edunnfroebig

Re: Planning Family Trip for next summer need suggestions
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2018, 11:42:41 am »
Hi Margaret,

I am riding the Katy Trail with my 12-year-old this summer. I can let you know how it goes. We are planning to ride it in 4-5 days and we're staying in B&Bs along the way. Last summer we did a 7-day bike tour in the San Juan Islands in Washington. It's not on bike paths, but the roads are low-traffic and it was fun to combine bike travel and ferry travel. The C&O Canal and GAP are on our lists for the near future. We've also done Adventure Cycling's Family Fun guided bike tours in Idaho (Trail of the Coeur D'Alenes) and Colorado (Summit County/Vail Pass bike paths).

I'm interested to hear what others have to say about family bike tours.

Eva Dunn-Froebig
Adventure Cycling Association

Offline JHamelman

Re: Planning Family Trip for next summer need suggestions
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2018, 11:49:05 am »
I loved my time on the Paul Bunyan and Heartland Trails last summer. So many Paul's to get your picture taken with! In June it might be a little buggy depending on how wet the spring is. But it's a great trail system for kids/young adults.

https://flic.kr/p/LiNmwd

Jennifer
« Last Edit: June 22, 2018, 11:51:47 am by JHamelman »
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Offline arlenhall

Re: Planning Family Trip for next summer need suggestions
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2018, 12:06:28 pm »
All great options listed above, plus:

  • Wisconsin: 400 State Trail, La Crosse River Trail, Elroy-Sparta Rail Trail (Wisconsin Dells can be a great family destination of water parks)
  • Ohio: Little Miami Scenic Trail (could visit the home of the Wright Brothers in Dayton - museum
  • Massachusetts: An extensive trail system on Martha's Vineyard plus the Cape Cod Rail Trail and Shining Sea Bikeway

Offline Iowagriz

Re: Planning Family Trip for next summer need suggestions
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2018, 02:12:31 pm »
Agree that your 3 are good choices.  Other positives:
  • Mickelson adds in the ability to visit the other historical sites around Rapid City
  • Katy could add time in St Louis or KC which are both great cities
  • Bunyan gets you close to the Twin Cities and/or the Northwoods like Duluth

Offline Margaret

Re: Planning Family Trip for next summer need suggestions
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2018, 07:55:21 pm »
Thanks all for the great ideas-  Looking more into the Paul Bunyan Trail-  Eva- You will LOVE the GAP- It was beautiful and so rideable- we did three days on the GAP and two on the C&0- C&O is not quite as pleasant- but you can ride part of the way on this paved trail that was really nice. We had a great trip.   Let me know how the Katy Trail goes-  I am leaning towards that one I think even though I am tempted by the Mickelson Trail because I want to see the Badlands-  I will get researching now!

Thanks all!

Margaret

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Planning Family Trip for next summer need suggestions
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2018, 08:06:46 am »
The Mickelson Trail is in the Black Hills, which is different than the badlands. In any event, it's a great ride. The only issue I see for you with the trail is how camping is spaced.  There is no camping allowed along the trail. Campgrounds are available at the northern terminus in Deadwood, in Hill City, Custer and at the southern terminus in Edgemont. Deadwood to Hill City is almost 50 miles, and it is not flat as rail-trails go. Between those two towns there are three sections of sustained uphill that you will feel. (One section has an average grade that exceeds the ruling grade of the GAP.) Also, the surface is not as smooth as the GAP, which makes for a tougher ride. Hill City to Custer is less than 20 miles, so you either have to do a short day (the trail passes right by the entrance to the Crazy Horse monument) or a 60 mile day to Edgemont. Carrying sufficient snacks for the day is also important. Between Lead and Hill City there are no commercial services except a restaurant, etc., just off the trail in Rochford. Nothing between Hill City and Custer, but it's a short distance. Between Custer and Edgemont the only thing you will find is a bar/restaurant in Pringle. Water was never a problem for me as the cisterns along the trail were always full of cool, clear water. They are a really nice amenity, especially if it's hot. I rode it three years ago in late June and it was quite warm one of the days. BTW...The municipal campground in Edgemont comes with all the free train noise you could ever want. :)

Offline Margaret

Re: Planning Family Trip for next summer need suggestions
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2018, 02:32:42 pm »
Thank you Bikelicious Babe- Really good info on the Mickelson Trail.  I am so tempted by it because of the scenery-but because we have kids- I am not sure they will take well to a 60 mile day in between campsites- and the  grade sounds much tougher- The nice thing about the GAP was that it was relatively flat and plenty of places to camp The Katy might be better set up for a family because it is so well established- Do you know anything about the Paul Bunyan Trail?  Just making sure to check out all my options before moving ahead with plans-

Thanks so much for your input!

Margaret

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Planning Family Trip for next summer need suggestions
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2018, 10:36:59 am »
Not only the grade but the surface. I picked up the Mickelson at the Englewood Trailhead after riding up Spearfish Canyon. While I missed the most difficult uphill section, I was immediately faced with a more than 4 miles uphill section that rose about 650' according to Ride With GPS. And it maxes out at over 6,200' in altitude. That, the surface and a slight headwind was really tiring. Later in the evening, during the climb up from Mystic, I came across a group of kids with a chaperone. They had started in Deadwood and were headed to Hill City. They were so wiped they were walking. I later felt concerned for them because I bombed the downhill to Hilly City and ended riding to camp in the dark after a quick stop at the market. So I know there was no way they made it to town before nightfall. However, I am pretty sure they had enough time to make it to town before the massive thunder/hailstorm hit a few hours later.

Those storms can be dangerous. Later during my trip I met a couple in Custer who was getting a shuttle to a point north on the trail with the plan of riding back to Custer. I was headed to Hill City and back for the day and told them I might see them there. Well...I did. It was raining lightly in Hill City so I was hanging out under a trail shelter. The temperature in town had dropped some 15 degrees when the system moved in. The couple pulled in to the shelter after having been caught in a bad storm on the trail north of Hill City.  To make matters worse, they had been forced to stop for a while thanks to some stubborn, free range cattle blocking the trail. The wife was properly dressed, but the husband was not. He was shivering and his fingers were literally blue. He called the shuttle service, which was based in Hill City, and they got a ride back to Custer.

Never ridden the Paul Bunyan. Not sure it existed when I crossed MN many years ago.

Offline Margaret

Re: Planning Family Trip for next summer need suggestions
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2018, 11:29:52 am »
Thanks again- Your account of your experiences is really helpful- I am thinking the Katy trail because it is just so well established and may be better suited for families- our youngest kid will be 12 but even then our teenagers are not as tough as I would like!  And they might enjoy the small towns along the way better than the more wilderness route that I would like!

Margaret

Offline GSullivan

Re: Planning Family Trip for next summer need suggestions
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2018, 07:21:33 pm »
The Ohio to Erie Trail is also one on my bucket list. https://www.ohiotoerietrail.org/

And the Western New England Greenway includes some fabulous trails. http://wnegreenway.org/

So many great places to choose from. Good luck!
Ginny Sullivan

Offline Margaret

Re: Planning Family Trip for next summer need suggestions
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2018, 09:07:56 pm »
But I did not think the Western New England Greenway was a bike trail that is car free- is it???  I may have it wrong.

Thanks, 
Margaret

Offline neil

Re: Planning Family Trip for next summer need suggestions
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2018, 07:10:37 pm »
I wouldn't stay away from roads
Reason - Simply that at this age they need to start to get used to riding on roads under your supervision. Far better to do that than 'protect them' on cycleways that can often be flat and not as interesting as quieter roads. If you want them to be life long cyclists they need to learn and this is an ideal time.
I've organised and run over 30 family tours in the UK for families with children from 3-18 (week long events), where we have up to 50 on the road at the same time, with an equal mix of adults and children and it works very well.
  Good Luck
     Neil

Offline canalligators

Re: Planning Family Trip for next summer need suggestions
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2018, 09:11:27 pm »
Erie Canal is about 3/4 trail and camping is fairly well spaced.  https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1mr&doc_id=9422&v=Ib

Offline Margaret

Re: Planning Family Trip for next summer need suggestions
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2018, 09:49:47 pm »
Thanks Canlligators-  yeah I am looking into the Erie Canal as a back-up- Two of our group have already done it- so that is why I am leaning towards Katy Trail.  Thanks though!

Margaret