Minnesota: Paul Bunyan and the Heartland State Bicycle Paths Bicycle Tour 2024

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 or call 706-363-0341 or text 706-363-0341
 
Vacation Bicycling, the smallest bicycle tour company with the biggest percentage of repeat participants. Celebrating 18 years bringing bicycle tour adventures to the best of all 50 states, where will you go next?
 
2024
 
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  • Come join us on one of the premier and most talked about bicycle trails in the U.S., The Paul Bunyan Trail.
  • Many people believe that the Paul Bunyan Trail is the best bicycle trail in North America.
  • Along with the Paul Bunyan Trail, we will also bicycle on the Heartland Trail with the two trails intersecting in the beautiful town of Walker.
  • In addition to bicycling, the natural beauty and wonderful people make this area a vacation paradise.
  • All the trails are paved and in very good shape.
  • In fact, once you ride the trails the first time, you may want to come back again-and-again.
Day 1, Saturday 
 
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Welcome Dinner 

You start your vacation in Bemidji, Minnesota. What are the most fun things to see in Bemidji, Minnesota? Lets start with Paul Bunyan and his faithful companion, Babe, the blue ox. Visit the city park, see Paul & Babe and then take in the views from the park overlooking Lake Bemidji. Though Lake Memidji is 11 square miles, it still completely freezes over in the winter. After visiting Paul Bunyan Park visit the old downtown area with shops, restaurants and souvenir stores. Yes, you can even buy your very own Paul Bunyan Statue. Bemidji is also know for art and sculptures which can be seen throughout the downtown area. Then join us at the hotel at 4:00 pm for the Welcome meeting, followed by a wonderful dinner with friends - new and old - to begin our week!

Dinner:
 
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TRC Bar & Grill
Turtle River, Minnesota
 
Entrée Choices include:
  • Sirloin Steak - TRC Grilled sirloin cooked to perfection on an open flame. Served with garlic mashed potatoes and chef vegetables
  • Honey Herb Salmon - The local's favorite. Herb seasoned salmon, pan seared and roasted. Finished with bright herb vinaigrette. Served with garlic mashed potatoes and chef vegetables.
  • Burgers your choice - Choose from the Two-Cheese burger, the Three-Cheese Bacon Burger or the signature Ghost Burger.
  • Charred Corn Salad - This colorful salad bursts with flavor and texture, featuring the sweetness of charred corn complemented by tangy honey herb vinaigrette and the crunch of fresh vegetables. Seven with dinner roll and whipped maple butter.
Lodging:
 
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Hampton Inn Bemidji
Bemidji, Minnesota
(Stay at the same hotel for the entire bicycle tour. Just unpack one time!)
  • Internet
  • Business Center
  • HD TVs
  • Fitness Center
  • Coin Laundry
  • Heated Swimming Pool

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Day 2, Sunday

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Paul Bunyan Trail (Crow Wing State Park to Pine River)
 
We begin our bike journey on the Paul Bunyan Trail paved bike path at Crow Wing State Park in Minnesota. This state park is one of the most popular in Minnesota. The entire park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. The park is made up of prairie, pine and hardwood forests. There are also amazing views of the Mississippi River. People have been gathering in this area for ages, even before it was an official State Park. We will ride our bike from Crow Wing State Park to Pine River, riding by and viewing many of the areas pristine lakes. In fact, the Pine River area boasts over 400 lakes within thirty miles! You get to take in all the beauty from behind your handlebars ending in the area know as Hidden Gem of central Minnesota – Pine River!

Breakfast provided by the hotel each morning.

Bicycling Route:  On the paved Paul Bunyan Trail; 0 miles, staying at the hotel; or 43 miles riding from Crow Wing State Park to the Visitor Center in Pine River. [The route is is basically flat.]
 
Dinner:
 
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Mi Rancho
Bemidji, Minnesota
 
Entrée Choices include:
  • Fajitas - Chicken, Steak, 50/50, Shrimp or Latin Stir-Fry
  • Pollo Con Queso Blanco -Grilled chicken breast, bacon-wrapped shrimp, rice, beans, guacamole, drizzled sour cream and pico de Gallo
  • Hilda's Tacos - Steak or Chicken. Flour tortilla, melted cheese, grilled onions, poblano peppers, bean soup, rice and avocado salad 
  • Mi Rancho Salad - Spring mix, avocado slices, black beans, corn, cucumber, tomato, shredded cheese, bacon bits and tortilla strips. Plain or with Salmon, Shrimp, Chicken or Steak.

Day 3, Monday

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Paul Bunyan Trail (Pine River to Walker)
 
The bike journey today begins with an amazing hidden gem located in central Minnesota – Pine River! This area offers plenty of outdoor adventures and exciting things to do. The town has a historic downtown area with many unique shops, restaurants and more. Pine River offers great kayaking, swimming or canoeing. If you are a birdwatcher, there are opportunities in this area to see all sorts of birds including bald eagles, osprey, blue herons and more. Take a look around before you continue bicycling on the Paul Bunyan paved trail.
 
Breakfast provided by the hotel each morning
 
Bicycling Route: On the paved Paul Bunyan Trail; 0 miles, staying at the hotel; 31 miles, riding directly from Pine River Visitor Center to Walker City Park; or 41 miles, adding the section of the State of Minnesota designated Scenic Route. [The primary route is basically flat with the "Scenic Route" having hills.]
 
Dinner:
On your own
 
Day 5, Tuesday
 
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Heartland Trail (Park Rapids to Walker)
 
We switch to the paved Heartland Trail today beginning in Park Rapids. Park Rapids is known as the source of the Mississippi River, as everyone is well aware, the Mighty Mississippi is the most important river in the U.S. and is the second-longest river in the U. S. and fourth longest in the world. This river gets its start at Lake Itasca and flows through nine other states all the way to the Gulf of Mexico in New Orleans. For its first 650 miles, it meanders through Minnesota’s pine forests, iron ranges and a deep valley. This area is a perfect destination to begin another bicycling day of adventure, fun and relaxation on our bikes!
 
Breakfast provided by the hotel each morning
 
Bicycling Route: On the paved Heartland Trail; 0 miles, staying at the hotel; or 29 miles, riding directly from Red Bridge Park in Park Rapids to Walker City Park; or 39 miles, adding the section of the State of Minnesota designated Scenic Route.  [The primary route is basically flat with the "Scenic Route" having hills.]
 
Day 5, Wednesday
 
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Free Day or Heartland Trail (Walker to Cass Lake)
 
Enjoy a Free Day or ride with the group from Walker to Cass Lake. Today’s ride we continue on the Heartland State Trail riding your bike around this pristine wonderland, Cass Lake.  Cass Lake is in Minnesota’s Northwoods. Cass lake is home to the Chippewa National Forest in Central Minnesota.  When bicyclists aren’t here, snowmobilers are. It is beautiful and by bicycle spectacular.  

Breakfast provided by the hotel each morning.

Bicycling Route: On the paved Heartland Trail; 0 miles, staying at the hotel; or 23 miles, riding from Walker City Park to Cass Lake Rest Area overlooking Cass Lake; or 37 miles, after riding to Cass Lake Rest Area riding the paved loop around Pike Bay. [All the routes are basically flat.]
 
Dinner:
On your own
 
Day 6, Thursday
 
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Paul Bunyan Trail (Walker to Bemidji)
 
Today we ride again on the Paul Bunyan State Trail by the end of today, we will have ridden the complete Paul Bunyan trail. Locals call today's route "Pancake Flat."  On the opposite side of Lake Bemidji from our hotel is Lake Bemidji State Park. Spend some time in the park, including going for a hike, enjoying a unique outdoor experience and flat options for biking or hiking! This is a lovely state park and great for taking many beautiful pictures. Since this is the last day of riding, obviously, you must get a picture with you and Paul Bunyan to make this bike trip memorable.   
 
Breakfast provided by the hotel each morning.
 
Bicycling Route: On the paved Paul Bunyan Trail; 0 miles, staying at the hotel; or 32 miles, riding from Walker City Park to the hotel in Bemidji; or 47 miles continuing after the hotel to and from  Lake Memidji State Park. [All the routes are basically flat.]
 
Dinner:
 
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North Shore Grill
Bemijdi, Minnesota
 
Dinner choices include:
  • Peach Mango Salad with Chicken Seasoned grilled chicken, peaches, mangos, mixed green, red onion, raspberry vinaigrette, candied walnuts.  
  • North Shore Walley - Broiled, deep fried or almond-parmesan crusted
  • Steel Head Trout - Baked filet, garlic lemon butter caper sauce
  • ​Sweet Pepper Chicken - sautéed sweet pepper citrus cream sauce
Day 7, Friday - September 1, 2023
 
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Bicycle one last time on your own before departing for home.
 
Breakfast provided by hotel each morning
 

Please note all trip information is based on previous trips and/or contracted lodging and restaurants and is subject to change based on availability or specific trip needs.
 
Riding difficulty:
  • Riders who are comfortable riding at least 10 miles per hour should have an enjoyable trip. The routes are 99% on bike paths. Please see the daily routes descriptions for additional information. Of course, if a rider is tired or does not feel like riding, the SAG vehicle will transport the rider to the end of the ride. All riders may ride at their own pace, slow or fast or anything in-between.  
Arriving by Automobile:
  • Drive to the starting hotel: Hampton Inn Bemidji, 1019 Paul Bunyan Drive South, Bemidji, Minnesota 56601

Arriving by Plane:

  • Fly directly into Bemidji Regional Airport (RAP) and take the hotel shuttle to the hotel or fly into Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport and rent a car for the 3 hr, 49 minute drive to the hotel. Some people may choose to fly into Fargo, South Dakota (FAR) for the 2 hr 21 minute drive to hotel or to Duluth, Minnesota (DLH) for the 2 hr 36 minute drive to the hotel.
Deposit:
  • $200 to reserve your spot and the remainder due 45 days before the trip start.
What is Included:
  • Hotel lodging 
  • Ride Packets with Cue Sheets (directions)
  • Garmin/GPS routes to download 
  • Google Maps routes for your iPhone or Android Phone
  • Fully sagged including van transportation and rider assistance.
  • Breakfast each morning
  • Happy Hours (BYOB) on selected evenings
  • Dinner with the group three evenings (see above)
  • Great riding, scenery, fun and enjoyment!
Bicycles:
  • Most participants bring their own bicycles
  • To ship your bike, we would suggest using shipbikes.com or bikeflight.com for shipping. To ship your bike to the hotel: Hampton Inn Bemidji, 1019 Paul Bunyan Drive South, Bemidji, Minnesota, 56601
  • If you fly, many major airlines including now waive the oversize fee for bicycles (sporting equipment) and just the standard luggage fee applies. Please contact your airline for all the details.
  • Bike Rental: Bikes are available for rent in the Bemidji area. We suggest conducting a Google search to find the best place to accommodate your needs.
Weather near the Paul Bunyan Trail area at the time of trip:
  • Average High: 71°

 

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Vacation Bicycling, LLC
1860 Barnett Shoals Rd, Ste 103-514
Athens, GA 30605
 
Vacation Bicycling, the smallest bicycle tour company with the biggest number of trips. Celebrating 18 years bringing bicycle tour adventures to the best of all 50 states, where will you go next?
 
 
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