Cycling Tour of the Lakes of Minnesota

DULUTH | MINNESOTA
5.00
3 REVIEWS
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to go cycling the lakes of Minnesota

  • Trip Highlight

    At the top of cycle-friendly states

  • Trip Highlight

    Start exploring a portion of the Land of 10,000 lakes

  • Trip Highlight

    Van-supported tour for comfort and total peace of mind

Find out why Minnesota is one of the Top 5 cycle-friendly states! Nine days won’t be enough to tour the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but following its network of premier trails is a decent kick-start. Switch back and forth between sandy beaches, fragrant woodlands, lush prairies, and clear creeks. Traversing well-maintained biking paths goes hand in hand with van support and , so you’ll complete those 421 miles before you even know it. Count on spotting abundant wildlife along the way—after all, you are touring the Gopher State.

Season

August

Nearest city

Minneapolis, MN is just over 2 hours away

Duration

9 days

Skill level

Intermediate

Itineraries

Book this adventure

9-Day Cycling Tour of the Minnesota’s Lakes

9 days

Minnesota offers a great combo of touring its multitude of lakes via some of the best cycling trails in the country. This 9-day tour takes you through highlights of those routes, be it through aspen, birch, and conifer forests or along lakes’ scenic shorelines. With comfy accommodation every night and a van-support on your 421-mile journey, you can relax and put all your efforts into exploring the North Star State.

Trip Highlights

Itinerary

Day 1: Meet your guides in Duluth

Your cycling tour starts in Duluth, Minnesota, where you’ll go through bike fitting and make sure you have everything necessary for the adventure. Meet your fellow cyclists at the orientation dinner.

Meals: Dinner

A High Angle Telephoto Shot Compressing the Duluth Lift Bridge, Minnesota Point, and the Clock Tower at Duluth's Adult Learning Center on a Beautiful Fall Day

Day 2: Lake Superior and Silver Bay

The beginning of your tour commences on the shores of Lake Superior. Ride along the lake’s shoreline and its sparkling blue waters early in the morning. Join the Gitchi-Gami State Trail at Gooseberry Falls State Park. Passing through birch and aspen forests, you’ll reach Silver Bay, a charming city on the North Shore of Lake Superior, where you’ll spend your first night.

Meals: Breakfast and dinner
Biking: 56 miles/ 90km

Van carrying bikes parked by Lake Superior.

Day 3: Tettegouche State Park and Shagawa Lake

Start your day by riding through Tettegouche State Park. Turn north and begin your climb up the Sawtooth Ridge in Superior National Forest through fragrant conifer woodlands, passing by countless pristine lakes. Your lodge for the night is in Ely on Shagawa Lake, the gateway to the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area. The area was named as one of National Geographic’s “50 Places of a Lifetime”—see for yourself what makes it a dreamy location. 

Meals: Breakfast and dinner
Biking: 67 miles/ 108km

Sawtooth Ridge in Minnesota.

Day 4: Mesabi Trail

This whole day is dedicated to the Mesabi Trail, which you’ll join in the early afternoon on your way to Virginia. It’s a 145-mile paved trail winding through some of the state’s most scenic regions, taking you past lakes, creeks, and ponds.

Meals: Breakfast and dinner
Biking: 50 miles/ 80km

Two cyclers driving alon the Gitchi Gami

Day 5: Mesabi Iron Range

Return to the Mesabi Trail as it traverses the Mesabi Iron Range. With its name meaning the constellation Orion, you’ll discover stellar points along the trail, as well as possibly sight wildlife. Spend the night in the Grand Rapids.

Meals: Breakfast and dinner
Biking: 68 miles/ 109km

Bird spotted on trails of Minnesota.

Day 6: Northern Minnesota

Spend the day in the heart of northern Minnesota, in the Chippewa National Forest—the first national forest established east of the Mississippi river in 1908. Cycle down the rolling prairies and boreal forests in the core of Minnesota’s Land of Lakes region. Spend the night on the shores of Leech Lake in Walker at the grand Chase-on-the-Lake Resort.

Meals: Breakfast and dinner
Biking: 74 miles/ 119km

Chippewa Harbor and reflection in Isle Royale National Park

Day 7: Brainerd Lake and Gull Lake

Departing from Walker, head south into the Brainerd Lakes region. Leave the trail at Nisswa and trace the shore of Gull Lake, a beautiful area offering sandy beaches and lush forests. Advance towards Madden’s Resort, where you’ll spend the night. 

Meals: Breakfast and dinner
Biking: 56 miles/ 90 km

Two cyclers standing on a lake’s shore.

Day 8: Madden’s Resort

Madden’s Resort is the kind of place that deserves a layover, so that’s your plan for the day. Whether it’s a bike ride along Gull Lake’s coastline, a round of golf, a canoe or sailboat, or a lazy day at the beach—this place will keep you occupied. 

Meals: Breakfast and dinner

Overhead of the channels of Gull Lake in Lake Shore, Minnesota

Day 9: Shuttle back to Duluth

Your final day is anything other than a leisurely spin to the finish line. Ride through Brainerd, skirt the northern and eastern shores of the massive Mille Lacs Lake, and finally join the Munger Trail at Finlayson as you ride on to Hinckley. You’ll stop at the famous Tobies Restaurant and Bakery for a legendary, guilt-free cinnamon roll, before your shuttle back to the Duluth Airport. If you wish to extend your visit in Minnesota, your guides will help you figure out your next move.

Meals: Breakfast and dinner
Biking: 50 miles/ 80km

Happy cyclers on the shores of Lake Gull.
Reviews

Reviews (3)

Chelsea Yerdon about Timberline Adventures on Google Review

I love Timberline Adventures! If you like biking and hiking, definitely check out the website for their list of tours. Great company and great customer service.

Sarah about Timberline Adventures on Guide’s website

We have been doing active trips for a number of years before we found Timberline Adventures. So happy to have found them! Their trips are a great way to see our national parks.

Amy N. about Timberline Adventures on Guide’s website

Thank you for all your hard work and for a fun, challenging, memorable week filled with beautiful scenery.

Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Minnesota

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity. 

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Minnesota, please refer to Minnesota’s latest travel resources.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get on this adventure:

    • An experienced cycling guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • Airport pick-up and drop-off
    • Accommodation during the trip
    • All breakfasts and dinners
    • Support van with tools and spare parts
    • Helmet (we recommend bringing your own for comfort and fit, but if you don’t have one, contact us prior to the trip and your guide will provide you with one without charge)

What’s not included:

    • Transportation to Duluth International Airport
    • Accommodation prior to and following the tour
    • Bike (rental possible for $35 per day)
    • Lunches (your guides will recommend various lunch alternatives in the mornings so you can bike at your own pace without having to hurry)
    • Guide gratuity

How fit do I need to be?

The Minnesota lakes cycling tour is designed for bikers with good fitness. As long as you pedal on two wheels with no issues for 40 to 55 miles (65 to 90km) per day, you can book the Minnesota lakes adventure. Over 9 days, you’ll cross about 421 miles (677 km). On the most difficult day of the tour, you’ll need to be able to bike up to 74 miles (120km). Consider preparing for this tour and riding your bike a couple of times a week with similar mileage.

What do I need to bring?

Here’s what you’ll need:

    • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
    • Comfortable riding or athletic clothing, preferably moisture wicking or synthetic material (shorts, t-shirts)
    • Helmet and cycling gloves
    • Sneakers or sport shoes
    • Breathable outside layer or jacket
    • Rain jacket and rain pants
    • Sweater (synthetic or wool)
    • Warm-up pants or tights
    • Hiking shoes
    • Leisure clothing (for after cycling hours)
    • Sunglasses
    • Plenty of water, water bottle or hydration bladder
    • Daypack with snacks
    • Biking gloves are optional but recommended
    • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, etc.)
    • Camera and binoculars — optional
    • Daypack for hiking
    • National Parks Pass — if you have one, bring it along

Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

If you’re bringing your own bike, here’s the cycling equipment you’ll need:

    • Rear blinking red light visible from 300 ft is required on all bicycles
    • Alpine gearing, with a low gear in the range of 30”-36” 
    • Rear pannier rack and rack top bag
    • Frame pump, tire irons, spare tub, patch kit
    • Clip-less pedals or toe clips and straps

Bike rentals

Knowing your own bike is a huge plus. This is especially the case if you have extensively customized your bike. If you’re bringing your own bike, we recommend making arrangements in time.

If you require a bike rental, your guides will take care of it. The bicycle rate per day per person is $35, $315 total.

Your guide rents specialized E-bikes as well. An additional deposit of $50.00 per E-bike will be collected upon booking by your guide.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group sizes and prices:

  • The group size for these group cycling tours are usually between 5-12 participants. 
  • It takes a minimum of 4 people for this tour to operate. 
  • The cost does not decrease as the group grows. 

Cycling tour of Minnesota lakes can be arranged for bigger groups. Contact us prior to booking.

If you’re a solo traveler, you must choose the single booking rate. However, if you’re open to having a roommate assigned to you, and your guide is able to give you one, you will be reimbursed $810 that will be taken away from your final payment.

Min. age requirements:

  • If you are older than 21, you’re good to go.
  • Children as young as 14 are able to go on trips with a legal guardian. That said, if you have a young rider strong enough to handle sustained climbs (either riding or walking their bike) of hundreds of feet, and rough terrain, then they may be able to participate on a case-by-case basis. 

If your group has riders under the age of 21, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Deposits and cancellation policy

A $500 per person to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 2 month (60 days) prior to departure. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies.

  • If Client cancels the Booking in writing anytime prior to sixty (60) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a full refund, minus the $200 cancellation fee. 
  • For cancellations thirty (30) to sixty (60) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund of the amount in excess of the initial deposit.
  • For cancellations received less than 30 days prior to the departure date, no refunds will be granted. The same goes for arriving late or leaving the tour prior to the scheduled conclusion.

Your guiding company reserves the right to cancel any tour for which fewer than 6 people have registered. You will be notified of any such cancellation at least 30 days prior to the departure. In the event of such cancellation, you may transfer to another tour, keep the credit for a future trip, or receive the full refund.

Getting there and meeting location

Your cycling tour of Minnesota lakes starts in Duluth, MN. To get there, most people fly into Duluth International Airport, a 10-minute drive from the city. Your guides will pick you up from the airport and drop you off at the end of your adventure.

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Wired for a better world

Outdoor adventuring makes us fall in love with our planet and people, it gets our brains rewired differently and forces us to rethink our life priorities.

For years, we’ve dreamt of building a company that can make an impact on things that we deeply care about. Here are some initiatives we are grateful to be contributing to.

1% of our sales goes to environmental non-profits
We provide work to thousands of local guides worldwide
We operate on carbon neutral and renewable energy
1% for the education and diversity in guiding
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