In the Twin Cities & across the country // Head North for a Ride into the Countryside on the Lake Independence Trail
Start: The Lake Independence Trail connects to the Luce Line, Baker Park Reserve and Crow-Hassan Park Reserve, giving you plenty of options for a starting point. The total length of the trail one way is 15.8 miles, so if you’d like to make it a longer trip, I would recommend starting from the Medicine Lake area which connects with the Luce Line, giving you ~60 miles round trip. Myself and two buddies did this last Saturday and I was very happy with the ease of the trai; I love to take longer rides on the weekend, but I do not like having to stop to look at a map every 5 miles, which is why this route was enjoyable. Once you connect from the Luce Line onto the Lake Independence Trail, it is a straight shot out of town north with rolling hills and a nicely paved and maintained bike path.
The trail starts by curving around Baker Park Reserve, with gorgeous views of Lake Katrina and some of Lake Independence. Baker Park Reserve itself is a great destination for outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, and golfing. The bike trails were wonderfully entertaining and curvy, allowing you a varied route that includes climbs, downhills, and tight turns. On the Northwest side of the loop you have the option to continue North out of the park on the bike trail, which goes directly up to Crow-Hassan Park Reserve along County Road 19.
End: Crow-Hassan Park Reserve is also very picturesque, but unfortunately the park does not have paved bike paths. You can hike or horseback ride into the reserve however and enjoy the natural prairie that changes colors with the month.
In Between: Since the ride from Medicine Lake was a decent jaunt, we took a break for snacks and a water refill at a gas station in Loretto. The station even had some outdoor seating, which was nice as it was a sunny day and relaxing in the shade was a welcome escape. After the long ride home, my Moxie jersey tan line was getting pretty defined. And I’m rockin’ it like I do my goggle tan after a long ski season!
When to Ride: If you are looking to log some miles during the week, starting at either park reserve will have you at 30 miles out and back within a couple of hours, but on a sunny later summer weekend, this would be a great way to get out of town without the gas tank suffering. Once the temps drop from the 100’s as it has been the last few days, camping would be a fun options as well!
P.S. RAGABRAI STARTS THIS WEEKEND. GET EXCITED! 🙂