Recreational & Family - Good pavement biking in Missouri, Wisconsin, Arkansas, or Minnesota for vacation?
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02-12-06, 03:12 PM
I'm starting to plan my group of friends' yearly summer trip and I'm look for ideas, particularly with good pavement biking. It can't be too hilly of an area because some of my friends won't want to exert too much energy. Near water would be good. We might need to rent a few bikes there, too. We'll do other things like camp and canoe and whatnot, but I want to get some good biking in, too. It kind of needs to be less than 700 miles from Omaha, Ne, thus the state list in the title. Any suggestions where you've been that you thought was great would be... well.... great. lol
02-12-06, 07:53 PM
I grew up in central Missouri, Fulton. There were lots of cyclists taking Hwy 98 from St. Louis to Jefferson City along the Missouri River. A good bonus is this is wine country. Hills giving way to river flood plain flats. From Herman westward it's mostly flat.
The Katy Trail goes this way but it's a packed dirt/gravel trail, better suited for larger tires. There are a number of bike rentals for the Katy trail. Augusta, MO has wineries, overlooks the river, and you can rent bikes there to ride on the Trail. They will pick you up, too. The Katy Trail goes all the way across the state of Missouri.
There are a number of good sized cliffs near the river or overlooking the flood plain. I used to rappell down the ones at Bluffton.
Another route would be the other side of the river from Washington, Mo. to Herman to Jefferson City. Lots of hills. Also lots of wineries.
I used to canoe down the Missouri River from Jeffeson City to Herman and beyond. Camp on the shore or on an island.
02-13-06, 12:55 PM
I'm assuming from the mixed company and bike rentals that you're probably looking for trails and nearby camping canoing vs. bicycle touring, so:
Any section of the Paul Bunyan trail in north central MN. Should be about 420 mi from Des Moines, IA. Lots of bike shops along the way, some with rentals. Lots of nearby chained lakes for canoeing. I either stay at my parent's place or backcountry camp in the state parks, so no idea on camp grounds.
Look at Sparta, WI for great cycling. A great trail from Spart to LaCrosse. LaCrosse is on the Mississippi, or you may want to head East to the Wisconsin river for paddling. Lots of campgrounds. For something a bit closer, Devil's Lake State Park is great, but almost always full. Check early.
It's been several years, but I loved the Ozark National Forest area. Buffalo river is some great canoeing, and lots of good camping and backpacking. Roads were very smooth at the time, and I saw lots of cyclists, but couldn't recommend anything specific. Seems to be a big antique area.
02-14-06, 08:06 PM
Look at Sparta, WI for great cycling. A great trail from Spart to LaCrosse. LaCrosse is on the Mississippi, or you may want to head East to the Wisconsin river for paddling. Lots of campgrounds. For something a bit closer, Devil's Lake State Park is great, but almost always full. Check early.QUOTE]
Is that pronounced Wiscon - shun?
Anyway. Start here (http://www.elroy-sparta-trail.com/) and be sure to check the links (http://www.elroy-sparta-trail.com/links.htm) page for other areas in the state. Those trails around Elroy /Sparta are mostly well packed limestone, I've been on them with a road bike & handled it fine.
As for MN, the twin cities have lots of paved trails in and around them with much water near by.
02-15-06, 12:41 PM
Is that pronounced Wiscon - shun?
Hmmm, I guess so. Must be related to my apparent adoption of the "Mwaukee" thing, too. :D
If you do the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, I'd recommend you set aside a day for the chain of lakes (Calhoun, Isles, and Harriet). You can get some canoeing in there, too. There are bike/skate rentals nearby. I used to live in that area and always enjoyed it.
02-15-06, 11:57 PM
For Wisconsin, you might want to ride along Lake Michigan between Mequon and Sturgeon Bay. Some great county highways and fairly level the whole way. You could string together some camping or other activities as well (Kohler-Andrae Park has good camping near Sheboygan). I used to ride this between Milwaukee and Sheboygan when I was young and it was great.
Good luck, have fun!
02-16-06, 04:51 PM
My mom and dad have retired to North Central Arkansas, and we have visited there for over 40 years, so I'm VERY familiar with the area, but have never biked there. However, my cousin works with the Forestry service and was instrumental in helping with the development and opening of the Syllamo Trail in the Ozark National Forest. It is, roughly, about 5-9 miles outside of Mountain View, AR, and it is, strictly, a mountain bike trail. Another cousin's boss is an avid mountain biker, and he loves the trails. Look up the Ozark National Forest in Arkansas, and you will probably find more information. It may talk of an area called Blanchard Springs or Fifty Six, AR, and these are all in the same area. There is a cave called Blanchard Springs Caverns, as well as a nice camping area with creek swimming area, as well. My cousin is now over that area. And, yes, she started out leading tours through the caverns. She's a VERY busy girl. Anyway, if you MTB, I think you'll enjoy it. Having said all that, my mom and dad also see quite a few road bikes passing by the house, as well. As my mom says, they often pass by "in herds." (LOL!)
There are also multiple choices for lodging in the area....cabins, tent camping, B&B's, hotels, etc. Most of the B&B's don't allow children, however, but The Wildflower, on the town square in Mountain View does. Country Oaks B&B is the nicest in the Mountain View area, but it does not allow children and is off the square. Hope this helps....!
02-16-06, 04:55 PM
Oh, and North Central Arkansas is EXTREMELY "hilly." It's in the Ozark Mountains.
Also, the local, long time, residents don't quite "get," road bikers, so use the appropriate precautions on the road.
02-17-06, 06:26 PM
Yeah, that would be the only problem with the Ozarks... the hills. Nobody I'm traveling with will want to tackle hills (and I may not while on vacation! hahaha). I've heard that the LaCrosse area is really pretty, too. I'll have to check it out more and see what I find. I've been to Wisconsin, and it would make for some good biking for sure. We're also checking out Minnesota pretty heavily, too. A friend of mine is in a time-share, so we might end up doing that instead of tenting (I like both, though). I hear tell of that place in Minneapolis where the women-folk can get their shopping fix, too. Going through the vacation guides makes me want to bike through all of these places! lol
Check out Door Cty, Wi. It has much of what you want and if you go in the 1st half of June it's not as pricey. After the middle of June the invasion starts and camping et al can get difficult to find. Just google up door cty and you ill get plenty of info.. it sits on a pennisula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan.
02-17-06, 08:37 PM
Oh, if you do happen do go to the Mountain View, AR area, you will have to check out Jojo's. It is a restaurant at Jack's Resort, in Allison, AR, and it is on the White River. They have the most wonderful fried catfish and hushpuppies. Also, in the spring and summer, the town of Mountain View has music, folk music, as in country/mountain folk music, for free on their town square. It is free, and there are several groups that play around the square. They don't take requests, but most of them are very good and great to listen to. It's all very casual and very relaxing. Mountain View is also a great tourist town. They have lots of shops around the square and lot of tourist activities, such as the Ozark Folk Center, that kind of chronicles life in the Ozarks in the 19th century, and of course, they also have a music show. Enjoy!
02-17-06, 08:40 PM
In October, Mountain View has the Outhouse Races and Bean Fest. It's kind of cheesy, but tons of people travel from far distances to see this. Make your reservations months, if not at least a year, in advance. In April or May, there is the Ozark Folk Festival, formerly the Dogwood Festival. It consists of a parade with lots of shopping opportunities. It's gorgeous there in the spring and fall, as well.
02-17-06, 08:59 PM
We camp, ride, canoe, tube, golf and rollerblade every year here. http://www.barnresort.com/
This place is awesome. We moved to Missouri a couple of years ago and we still go back every year. 14 yrs. This is in southeast Minnesota and very beautiful. There are some awesome bed and breakfests in Lanesboro that is just up the trail from this campground. All of the towns are gorgeous little towns tucked into the river valley.
The trail is awesome. It's an old railroad bed that is paved and goes on for over 60 miles. It is flat and smooth. My 7 year old daughter road 25 miles in one day on her single spead. That tells you how nice it is.
I highly recommend this area. It's about 30 mins. south of Rochester.
02-19-06, 12:26 PM
Head to Duluth, MN and do the Munger Trail. It's an old railroad bed turned into a great and not hilly bikeway, about 70+ miles long. Scenic, near water (Lake Superior). Lots of neat small towns to stop in, if needed. Bike rental at start of the trail (near the Zoo) in Duluth. Very quiet riding (except on weekends near Duluth proper). Saw deer, red fox, wildflowers, etc.
Allow me to add my 2 cents worth. I live in Brainerd (actually Baxter) Minnesota and it would certainly be a nice place to vacation. Whether your interests are biking, boating, fishing, camping, or shopping, I think you would be comfortable here. Brainerd is often referred to as the city "in the heart of the lakes." Considering that we are already known as the land of 10,000 lakes, you can immagine how much water is around us. There are two local bike shops in Brainerd, and any number of them in surrounding communitites if you should need help with your equipment. The Paul Bunyan Bicycle Trail is heavily used by locals and guests alike. So, if cycling around lakes, rivers and streams, and woods is what you're after this would be a nice spot.
And no, I do not work for the chamber of commerce. I just like it here. :)
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