Paved trails provide a safe experience for bicycle enthusiasts and in-line skaters. Trails in the Park Rapids Lakes Area connect communities and a chance to immerse yourself in the countryside. See wildflowers, birds and wildlife. Bring a picnic lunch and relax at one of several parks located along the Heartland State Trail or stop in one of the friendly communities along the way for an ice cream cone or meal.
Heartland State Trail
49-mile multiple-use paved trail between Park Rapids and Cass Lake. The Heartland Trail was one of the first rail-to-trail projects in the country, an asphalt ribbon laid on a level abandoned railroad grade. Trail users pass numerous lakes, rivers and streams. The trail skirts northern hardwood forests and stands of jack, red and white pine, as well as spruce firs. The occasional majestic white pine towers overhead and wildflowers color the trail sides. Riders and hikers may see whitetail deer, raccoon, red fox, porcupine, beaver and muskrat and lucky ones may spot coyote, weasel, mink, bobcat or black bear. Many varieties of birds can be seen along the trail including the bald eagle. Along the 27 miles between Park Rapids and Walker, there is a second grassy treadway for horseback riding and mountain biking. Trailside parks are located at Park Rapids, Dorset, Nevis, Akeley and Walker. For more information you can visit their website.
Paul Bunyan State Trail
110-mile trail between Brainerd/Baxter and Bemidji. The region is rich in history, having been inhabited for centuries before French explorers came to the area. Thirteen recorded prehistoric sites have been identified near the Paul Bunyan State Trail. The Ojibwe and Dakota were present in the area until explorers entered the region and the logging and railroad industry took over. Most towns along the trail have a rich railroad and logging history. The Heartland Trail and Paul Bunyan Trail connect 3 miles east of Akeley at the Hubbard/Cass line on Highway 34. Learn more on their website.
Itasca State Park
16 miles of surfaced bike trails are located in the park. The rolling trails in the park make for a fun and challenging ride, but offer spectacular views. For a full bicycle tour, continue along Wilderness Drive for another 10 miles, but be aware you share this portion of the ride with motorists. Explore more on our Itasca State Park Page.
North Country National Scenic Trail
A premier footpath stretching about 4,600 miles from NY to ND, the NCT is the longest hiking trail in the United States. The local section of the trail passes through Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, White Earth State Forest, Itasca State Park, Paul Bunyan State Forest, and Chippewa National Forest. It meanders through gently rolling terrain where hikers can enjoy the cool waters of many backcountry lakes, majestic old-growth pine forests, lakes, wetlands, mixed pine and hardwood forests. The trail offers day hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing and backcountry XC skiing adventure. For more information see the website and check out our local activities at www.facebook.com/NCTinMN.