Approximately 30 minutes west of Minneapolis, Lake Rebecca State Park is locally known for its 2,577 acres of rolling prairie, wildflower-filled meadows, and “Big Woods” forest complexes. The park is also a haven for trumpeter swans, which fill Lake Rebecca on any given day during the warmer months of the year. But, what people don’t know is the tight-knit mountain bike community that shares some of the best trails in this park. Offering 3.7 miles of packed-down single track, mountain bikers get their fill riding on the short, but steep slopes bordering Lake Rebecca.
The entire route is ranked easy to moderate, but if you wanted to push yourself and pedal fast, then you can get a really good workout on this loop. Overall, the trail is easy to maneuver and the uphill climbs are not too steep. The lack of boulder gardens and other obstacles make the trail family-friendly as well.
Look out for large white specs in the distance, these are trumpeter swans and within the last few decades, these swans have returned to Minnesota thanks to Three River Park District’s trumpeter swan reintroduction program. There is a plaque that tells you about the program and thanks to this initiative, Lake Rebecca now has a healthy population of trumpeter swans. Once you pass the plaque, the roller coaster ride officially begins.
What Makes It Great
The trail begins with a steep incline shrouded in basswood and maple. During the summer, the understory is quite dense, but during the spring and fall, you can get a really great view of Lake Rebecca. With some of the steepest climbs near the beginning, once you pass those, the rest of the ride is a bunch of fast downhill runs. There is a fantastic downhill run that curves through a mixed forest and meadow, but be careful of a trail crossing at the bottom. Your wheels may spin out if you aren’t prepared for the complete stop.
In the southern section of the trail, it is obvious to see that Lake Rebecca Park Reserve was once farmland. Called “old field” succession, prairie grasses and wildflowers take over the dissected landscape, while the single-track curves right through it. There is a steep climb that plateaus to a lovely restored prairie, but soon enough a hardwood forest engulfs you and offers some flying turns.
There are times when the trail intersects with roads. When this happens, there are signs that point you to the next trail entry point. From here, the trail rewinds back to the beginning and traverses through rolling prairie fields and a mixed forest. If you aren’t feeling the burn, crank up your gears and pedal hard up the final steep climb back to the beginning of single track.
Who is Going to Love It
Whether it be someone new to the sport or a veteran mountain biker looking for something new, Lake Rebecca State Park has it all.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Open 5am-10pm daily, park at the boat launch parking lot and then take the multi-directional hiking trail going south. Within a few minutes, you will reach the trailhead. The trail runs clockwise and is shared by hikers as well, so don’t zone out too much or you may end up in a collision.