This bicycle tour celebrates the Mississippi River, the state of Minnesota, and the communities we travel through via the Mississippi River Trail Bikeway (MRT). The MRT is also part of US Bicycle Route 45. Minnesota features the river’s headwaters and over 800 miles of MRT, which totals nearly 3,000 miles and touches 10 states until it ends at the Gulf of Mexico. We will kick off the ride with a welcome reception, history overview, and sage blessing by a local naturalist at Itasca State Park. On our departure morning we will dip our tires at the headwaters, and then begin our journey crisscrossing the Mississippi River numerous times as we bicycle through a variety of communities that will welcome us to their local parks, people, history, unique features, and folklore.
This is a camping trip with a supported camping option, or hotel option for additional fees.
Route, Mileage, and Terrain
Minnesota’s MRT route is on roads and multi-use paved paths that take us from Itasca to Bemidji, Walker, Pequot Lakes, Brainerd, Little Falls, St. Cloud, Elk River, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Hastings, Red Wing, Wabasha, Winona, and LaCrescent, before crossing the Mississippi River one last time to LaCrosse, WI. We will start fairly flat with occasional rolling hills and end in the scenic bluff country until we reach LaCrescent. Total mileage is approximately 455 miles with our shortest day being 39 miles and our longest day being 78. The MRT also includes long sections of the Paul Bunyan and Heartland Trails.
Register early and pay only $800/person until June 1st. The price will increase to $850 starting on June 2nd. The trip includes motorcoach transport from the Union Depot in St. Paul to the ride start in Itasca State Park and NEW THIS YEAR, a 3 hour evening ride on the Amtrak Empirebuilder through Winona, Red Wing, and back to the Union Depot.
It also includes all meals starting with a check-in continental breakfast, box lunch, and welcome dinner the first day, camping in city or state parks for six nights, two rest stops each day with fruit, snacks, Gatorade, and water, SAG support, gear transfer, transport for your bicycles, speakers or entertainment each evening, and admission to the Crow Wing Museum, LeDuc Mansion, and Eagle Center in Wabasha.