Has anyone biked from the Twin Cities to Northern Minnesota? I'm looking to head out to Grand Rapids, MN this summer and I am looking for someone has a route they'd recommend. I am currently planning on taking Hwy 47 north to Aitkin and then Hwy 1 to Remer. Any suggestions on a different route?
I think you mean Highway 6, not Highway 1, right? I've cycled that from near Grand Rapids to near Brainerd and remember it as a pretty ride with low traffic volume (though this was close to twenty years ago).
This may sound like recommending that you root for the Packers instead of the Vikings, but you might consider a route that goes through Wisconsin, the Gandy Dancer Trail. It is a converted rail trail with a hard surface.
I assume you are going to Grand Rapids so that you can ride the Mesabi Trail to Ely?
I'm going up there to join the in-laws at a resort. We'll then probably head east to Duluth and then south back to the Twin Cities. I'll look into the Gandy Dancer for the ride back. Thanks for the hint.
I live near Grand Rapids on the River Road, so I'm somewhat familiar with the options.
Highway 6 is way West for you, but it is less busy than 169, which is the most direct route. 6 has some very narrow, shoulderless sections, so use caution.
Consider HWY 65 to Jacobson, then left on 200 for about a mile, then right on Great River Road to Grand Rapids. The River Road has wide bike lanes both sides from Jacobson to GR and parallels the Mississippi. The entire route (65 and River Road) is scenic.
I don't know of any back-road route from South to North, but 65 is not too bad on Monday through Thursday. The River Road is always sparse.
Thanks for tip! I didn't want to ride on 169 (though during the week, I can't image it's that bad) and I wanted to avoid 65 from the Cities because it's a biker's nightmare; lots of traffic, high speed and cranky SUV driving suburbanites heading in or out of town. We'd already been on 65 north of the cities when we went to Savannah River Portage State Park, and it was a calm road. Thank you for reminding me.
We're actually heading to Sugar Lake (I believe), so going a bit west is what I'm looking to do.