Author Topic: Looking for a Minnesota route from the southern border to International Falls.  (Read 3075 times)

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Offline forester

Hi folks. I am a professor at the University of Minnesota and a few months ago I overheard a group of graduate students from the Conservation Biology Program discuss how their travel funding fell victim to recent budget cuts (they use this money to subsidize travel to scientific conferences where students present their research). After hearing a number of suggestions that included a bake sale and running a 5k, I proposed that they should go big or go home by riding their bikes across the state. Much to my surprise, they decided to do it (info here:, and I volunteered to ride with them since I put them up to it.

The one hitch we are still trying to iron out (besides raising the money) is the route. We will be doing the ride as a relay over 2-5 June and the plan is to ride from the southern border of MN north to International Falls. Does anyone have any information regarding good (or bad) routes? Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

Best regards,


Offline JHamelman

Congrats on motivating your students to do this! I hope you'll report back how it goes.

For planning a route, I suggest taking a look at the maps the state has available for bicycle routes:

Also, you can get in touch with the Minnesota Bicycle and Pedestrian coordinator, who should be able to help you with routing suggestions:

And, of course, once you start laying out your route, check back here and see if anyone has a recommendation of one route over another.

Good luck and have fun!


Jennifer Hamelman

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline commuter

I started my bike touring hobby by biking all around Minnesota. The maps I used at the time were made by MN-DOT. I am told they were hand made(whatever that means) and they were accurate and user friendly. They were made starting in 1987 and ending in 1992 I think. They were divided into four quadrants plus two for the Twin Cities. They are no longer in print and Mn-DOT has gone to a computer generated format. These maps are more or less useless so don't waste the money it costs to purchase them if you can even find them anymore. Most bike shops don't carry them because they are worthless. If you really can't figure out a route I still have a copy of the old maps that I would be happy to let you look at. I live in Vadnais Heights so if you would like my aid we could meet at the U of M on most weekends. My e-mail address is

Happy Trails

Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

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How about this? Take the Mississippi River Trail along US Hwy. 61 to St. Paul, then the Gateway State Trail to Stillwater. At Stillwater, you can pick up the ACA's Northern Tier Route to Grand Rapids. (The Northern Tier is all mapped and available from the ACA.) From there you can head north on Hwy 38 and 6 to US Hwy 75 and follow it right into International Falls. That will take you from bottom to top, and you'll see a lot of beautiful country along the way. I can't speak for the part from Reno to St. Paul, but the Gateway Trail is off-highway and the route north of Stillwater, as mapped by ACA, is on low volume roads. Hwy 38 and 6 through the Chippewa National Forest, are fairly low volume but may be busy on weekends. Not sure about US 75.

An alternative would be to figure out a route to link together a number of the state trails, and stay off highway as much as possible. (Go to for more info.)

Ride safe,
2WX: The Two-Wheeled Explorer
"St. Louis to the Western Sea if nothing prevents."--John Ordway, Corps of Discovery