Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails © Aaron W. Hautala

Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails © Aaron W. Hautala

Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail System

Between Brainerd and Crosby lies a mountain biker’s dream come true. The Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail System, located inside the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, is a nationally recognized haven for off-road cyclists.

The Cuyuna Lakes Ride Center is the only International Mountain Bicycling Association ride center in Minnesota. There is only one other comparable destination in the Midwest. Not only that, but Cuyuna is one of only 11 ride centers on the entire planet.

In the spring, summer and fall it features more than 25 miles of single-track trails on 800 acres of the beautiful and rugged Cuyuna Range. (In the winter, the Sagamore Unit near Riverton is groomed and converted into a 10-mile playground for fat-tire enthusiasts. The Yawkey Unit between Crosby and Cuyuna is also groomed for winter riding.) The area is full of awe-inspiring natural features, and it’s also a land steeped in history: You will routinely pass by relics of the area’s rich mining history.

The other IMBA accolade Cuyuna claims is that its Sand Hog trail is one of only two Flow Country Trails in the United States. According to the IMBA, these trails “engage riders, providing challenge and fun in an environment that is never steep, extreme or dangerous.”

New to biking? No need to worry about getting in over your head. The mountain bike trails in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area are clearly marked with one of four difficulty ratings: Easy, More Difficult, Most Difficult and Extremely Difficult.

Trail conditions (courtesy of Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew):