Minnesota has more paved rail-to-trail bikeways than any other state. The Paul Bunyan Trail is the longest paved trail.
The trail begins in the Brainerd / Baxter area and connects to The Heartland Trail, Blue Ox Trail and the Cuyuna State Trail, totaling 110 miles from Brainerd to Bemidji State Park. It was recently named a member of the Rails-To-Trails Hall of Fame.
Bikers, hikers and inline skaters marvel at the scenery as the trail threads through forest, wetlands and lake after lake. Time is on users side on this trail, a seemingly slow motion jaunt with never-ending tranquility.
Throughout the journey there are welcoming campgrounds and 15 towns that seem like pearls on a fine bracelet. Towns along the Paul Bunyan Trail include Brainerd, Baxter, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Jenkins, Pine River, Backus, Hackensack, Walker and Bemidji Minnesota. Each stop has food and supplies for tired, hungry bicyclists. Most towns have cozy hotels with gas fireplaces, jacuzzi tubs and are known for their comfortable beds.
One idea for planning your Paul Bunyan Trail bike tour is to schedule it around one of the neat community events held each season in one of the towns on the trail. And while you're at it, service service (and bike rentals) is provided by Trailblazer Bikes, Nisswa and Baxter, and your first night lodging choices can be found at our Brainerd Lodging association.
Here are some annual events that keep bikers coming.
Walker Yikes! Bike Tour July 23
Brainerd / Baxter Baxter Inline Marathon June 11
Nisswa Turtle Races 2pm Wednesdays all summer.
Pequot Lakes Bean Hole Days & Crafts Fair July 12-13
Pine River Duck Races Fridays mid-June to mid-August
Backus Cornfest Celebration August
Hackensack Sweetheart Days July 9-13
Bemidji Water Carnival July 1-4
Snowmobiling on the Paul Bunyan Trail is popular in winter as well as cross country skiing. It's an easy ride so it can be great for beginners or youngger kids. Fun along the trail in winter include Nisswa Christmas lighting event where all the Christmas lights are turned on at once. The town is filled with laughter, good food and local residents there for the social event, poker runs, Nisswa's winter Jubilee, The $ 10,000 ice fishing extravaganza in January and many other area events.
Whatever your interest in the summer activities or winter fun the Paul Bunyan Trail and the other connected trails provide a great way to spend time with family and friends without breaking the bank.