Hennepin County — Maple Grove, MN

IMG_6355Nestled in the woodsy goodness of Elm Creek Park Reserve, which is just 30 miles northeast of the twin cities, is a series of flowy singletrack that is second to none in the area. Elm Creek Singletrack mountain bike trail system is well taken care with pride, and loyalty. In my opinon there isn’t a faster, smoother, or better flowing trail system in Minnesota.

Parking is ample and the designated trailhead is just a bit down the road from the parking lot area which keeps it less congested. There is a permanent outhouse structure right near the lot. In the same general area is a picnic table, or two, a drinking fountain and a tool station with pump.

Once you hit the trailhead the trail itself will take you up a quick climb and into a twisty and flowy section that will leave you breathless. It will also keep a smile on your face as you traverse through the trees, some off-camber climbs, and swift descents. Hang on tight, keep the rubber side down, and stay on the dirt and you will be never have any issues. The trail has very few awkward surprises.

IMG_6356The trail system is set up with multiple ‘checkpoints’ where you can rest a bit, wait for some folks who may have lingered behind, or to just simply get your bearings straight. Other points throughout the trail will have options of shorter distance loops that will lead back to the parking area. In most cases, keeping right at the intersections will bring you around the full loop which is just around 12 total miles. There are some mapping points along the way as well. These will help you navigate where you are and where you need to go. Keep in mind that Elm Creek singletrack is a one-way trail system, with a couple sections that are two way linking trails.

What I love about Elm Creek is that just when you feel comfortable with weaving through the trees, or handling the more technical trail…it changes into fast flowing prairie. Sweeping corners, smooth and fast descents, and various small berms and jumps. Just enough to keep things interesting. Then boom, back to more technical dense woods riding. All fun, all rideable, and never overwhelming.

Elm Creek has a great mixture of all types of riding. Any of the technical features can be ridden around, and if you take it easy the trail is perfect for the beginning rider. The faster you get, the more challenging it becomes.

IMG_6357So whether you’re out with a group of friends or rolling solo for the afternoon, make sure you make Elm Creek a place to ride this upcoming season. You won’t be disappointed. Don’t want to wait for the spring season to come and have a fatbike for winter riding….Elm Creek is professionally groomed using house-made equipment specifically for singletrack grooming. Take all that beautiful and flowy trail, add a layer of packed snow and be out there for hours enjoying the wildlife, the fresh air, and the scenery of the northern suburban landscape.

For more information about Elm Creek and many other great parks, go to http://threeriversparks.org