These Great Lakes bike trails are either new or expanding and are a great, fresh option for further exploring the Great Lakes Region. Of course, if you want to stick with a classic, try one of Bike Tour Vacations’ tours in Detroit, Wisconsin or Minnesota.
Cleveland Metroparks Trail System
Cleveland Metroparks is an expansive system of nature preserves in the Greater Cleveland Area. The system spans over 21,000 acres and includes hundreds of miles of walking, bicycle and horse trails. It also boasts picnic areas, nature education centers, fishing spots and golf courses. The Cleveland Zoo is also in the district. But for as large of a quantity of attractions Cleveland Metroparks features, they also offer quality, especially regarding their bike trails. The park system has nowhere to go up as they were recently awarded an $8 million federal transportation grant to help connect isolated neighborhoods to existing trails, green spaces and public transportation. This effort was done as part of an even larger ($16.5 million) Metroparks initiative entitled “Reconnecting Cleveland,” which aims to build bike and pedestrian trails across the system to make it even more accessible and visitor-friendly. If you get the chance to visit Metroparks, make sure you ride down the Whiskey Island Trail, which takes you to Whiskey Island on Lake Erie via a newly-constructed bridge.
Copper Harbor Mountain Bike Trail System
Even farther north than Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Copper Harbor is truly a remote destination. However, its inaccessibility hasn’t deterred mountain bike enthusiasts from flocking by the thousand to the small town in the past few years. Arguably the most popular bike trail in this new bicycling metropolis is the “Flow,” which starts at the top of Brockway Mountain and ends on the west side of Copper Harbor. This gravity-defying ride is chock full of thrills and jumps and helped Copper Harbor attain status as a silver level ride center. But don’t worry, there are plenty of other trails for those that don’t consider themselves adrenaline junkies. Try the “Woopity Woo,” which makes a loop off of Garden Brook Trail and then has you decide which direction to go in (don’t worry, both options are incredibly picturesque).
Lake Country Recreational Trail
This 15-mile trail, located on the former Milwaukee-Watertown Interurban Railway, is consistently ranked as one of the best places to bike in Minnesota. It showcases views of the surrounding mid-kettle moraine area, including: the Landsberg Center, Pewaukee Lake, Naga-Waukee Park and War Memorial Golf Course, Lake Nagawicka, the historic City of Delafield, Upper and Lower Nemahbin Lakes and Roosevelt Park. Now is the perfect time to go as well: officials are planning a 50-mile nearby trail network on 6,500 acres of county land between the Split Rock River and Beaver Bay.
Elroy-Sparta State Trail
Okay, the Elroy-Sparta State Trail isn’t exactly new. But the “Grandaddy Ride,” which was started in 2015 by a coalition of the Elroy Sparta Bike Trail Communities, is very new and continues to grow each year. This event raises money for local community charities as well as a charity selected by the organization each year. It’s a great opportunity to do something philanthropic while experiencing one of the coolest bike trails in America. The oldest rail-trail conversion in the United States, the trail is a 33-mile journey from Elroy to Sparta, featuring rolling hills and farmland. You will also pass through three hand-dug railroad tunnels on your trip, shrouding your experience in (temporary) darkness. The tunnels are a huge attraction: two are 1,600 feet and the other is 3,800 feet. They stay cool at 50-60 degrees, regardless of outside temperature. Riding through them evokes an older Midwest, reminiscent of the year in which the trail was created, 1967.