When you find yourself asking: “where are the best bike trails near me?” – wonder no further. These are the rides on every biker’s list. With no crowds and over 2,000 miles of potential rides, Cook County, Minnesota is a bike and biker’s paradise. From the paved Gitchi-Gami State Trail winding along the Lake Superior shore to white-knuckle single track to endless backcountry roads threading the Superior National Forest, these are bike trails you will never forget.
Backcountry and Forest Service Roads
Numerous backcountry gravel roads and trails wind through the Superior National Forest and into some of the most breathtaking country ever to roll beneath your bike. Pick up an official Cook County Highway Map or the official Superior National Forest Visitor Map for a comprehensive list of all roads and bike trails nearby as well as bike rentals, gear, guided tours and more.
There are two main hubs for single-track mountain biking in Cook County, MN. The Britton Peak Trails in Tofte and the Pincushion Mountain Trails in Grand Marais.
Jackpot Trail at Britton Peak
Distance: 18 miles | 2-5 Hours | Difficulty: Intermediate to Expert
Britton Peak Map
Description: The Jackpot Connector runs between Britton Peak trails in Tofte to Onion River Road and on to Lutsen Mountains. The 18-mile trail offers adventure and an outstanding ride for every skill level from beginners to advanced riders. Riders will experience a variety of terrain as they climb over and around the Sawtooth Mountains. Entry-level riders can ride certain sections of the trail, and expert riders will enjoy big climbs and some of the technical features. The ride includes several scenic overlooks and it’s a wild ride that’s not easily replicated anywhere in the Midwest.
Heartbreak Hill Loop
Distance: 18 miles | 2 – 5 hours | Difficulty: Intermediate
Heartbreak Hill Loop_LTTA
Description: Over the river and through the woods is the best way to summarize this trail. In the first few miles, you gain a good deal of elevation. This scenic loop crosses the Temperance River multiple times, it is recommended to take the opportunity to park the bike and take a short hike along the river.
Terrain: This ride blends gravel road adventure with a taste of the Gitchi Gami paved bike trail. Hybrid or mountain bikes are recommended. Be aware that the Sawbill Trail is a well-traveled road and a main route into the inland lakes – be cautious of vehicle traffic.
Onion River Road
Distance: 7 miles round trip* | 30 minutes – 1 hour [*out and back trail] | Difficulty: Easy
Onion River Road – Route MAP
Description: Easy, family-friendly ride with several fun side-trip opportunities. Several hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowmobile trails cross through the area. This light traffic gravel road is a gradual climb through a mixed and scenic forest. Please remember riding on the Superior Hiking Trail is not allowed.
Honeymoon Loop + 3a Spur Trail
Distance: 20 miles | 3 – 5 hours | Difficulty: Intermediate
Honeymoon Loop_Route Map
Description: A classic Northwoods ride, the Pancore/Honeymoon Loop will give you a taste of the ruggedness of the area. Rated intermediate due to distance but mild for the route.
Terrain: Generally smooth gravel with a few rockier sections on the Pancore Lake Road. Recommended to use a mountain bike but, with caution, a hybrid bike is capable.
Pike Lake Loop + 4a Spur Trail
Distance: 22 miles | Estimated time: 2 – 4 hours | Difficulty: Intermediate – Advanced
Pike Lake Loop_Route Map
Description: After a rainstorm, sections of this trail can be very muddy. There are many spur trails and roads, pay close attention to remain on the main trail. Excellent wildlife viewing.
Terrain: Gravel and primitive minimum maintenance road. Mountain bike recommended.
Britton Peak Trails
Distance: 5.5 miles of trail | >1 – 2 hours | Difficulty: Intermediate – Advanced
Britton Peak Single Track – Route Map
Description: A series of single-track mountain bike adventures await discovery.
Terrain: Narrow single-track trails. Mountain bike required.
Peak Trailsitchi-Gami State Trail | Schroeder – Lutsen Resort
Distance: 10.41 miles each way | 1 – 5 hours | Difficulty: Easy
Gitchi Gami State Trail
Description: A paved recreational trail to provide a safe corridor for bicyclists, in-line skaters, joggers and walkers along Highway 61, paralleling the North Shore of Lake Superior. The trail can be broken into segments or done in full.
Terrain: Paved multi-use path offers a safe route along the highway but crosses multiple private driveways. Travel with caution then approaching high traffic zones. Any bike can be used on this trail but ideal for road biking.
Where to rent bikes, get the gear, take guided tours, and more.
Source: Visit Cook County