Minnesota Trails / Camping

Discussion in 'Central – From Da Nort Woods to the Plane States' started by gpack, Feb 15, 2019.

  1. gpack

    gpack XL-er

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    Hi all,

    Family recently moved to Minnesota (Twin Cities area - St Paul locale) in August. I have an ‘81 Honda XL185s dual sport I would like to take to some trails to camp. Bike is plated and DNR tagged for MN. I will haul the bike on my hitch rack to a trailhead area then ride and camp.

    Does anyone know of some good quality trails with ‘safe’ primitive camp sites along the trial? Fishing access would be a plus. I would be open to a sub-two hour drive to get to a trail.

    Thanks for the help!
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  2. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    Most of the good riding in MN is in the state forests and run by the DNR. These areas are relatively small at maybe 10-20 miles square. I don't camp but I believe there are places to camp in each forest. Given the small size of the areas "camping along the trail" should rarely be necessary and might not be legal.

    Some good places not far too away are Snake Creek, Trout Valley, Nemadji, St. Croix, and farther Martineau.
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  3. gpack

    gpack XL-er

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    Thanks for this. I am really looking for more an adventure trail to camp and something with some decent sites along the path. Not really a ‘dirt bike’ trail that is crazy narrow or fast.

    Right, if a small one then camping likely will not exist or be legal.
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  4. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I am pretty new to MN myself. I have done some searching around the Cities. There are some nice easier Adv type roads over by the Mississippi SE of town. But they are nearly all rural residential gravel roads. There is very little public land. I suspect if you want to camp you would have to plan your day to end up at a state park or forest.

    There is a ride called the TMAT (Trans Minnesota Adventure Trail that runs from the SE corner of the state to points north) that would be a candidate for a multiday adventure ride. Also the Trans Wisconsin AT and rides up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I haven't done any of these yet.

    Further west (550 miles) is the Dakota Adventure Loop in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I have done that and it was excellent. There is enough national forest land there that you could camp along the trail.
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  5. gpack

    gpack XL-er

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    Thanks for this. The Loop sounds like a winner at some point. The Upper Pen would be really great as we want to visit there in general also.

    As I have not really thought through things, this idea of riding a trail and ending at a park is a great one I will consider doing.

    What bike are you riding and where was your last trail ride?
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  6. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

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  7. gpack

    gpack XL-er

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    Ah very cool. Thanks for this one.
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  8. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I ride a KTM 500 for trail and gnarly dirt road day rides and a KTM 690 for Adv/DS rides. I lived for over 40 years in New Mexico and all my riding was mountains and desert out there.
    I use the 500 at the DNR state forests and the 690 on the gravel roads.

    Be on the lookout for the announcement for the North Shore Shindig which takes place along the north shore of Lake Superior in early September. If you search this forum you can find the thread for last year's ride. It has lots of hard and easy dirt roads.
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  9. cra_fizzer

    cra_fizzer Adventurer

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    Nemadji would be your best bet.
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  10. gpack

    gpack XL-er

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    Those are some niiiiice bikes.


    Thanks for this. I will have to look into this one also. I am going to be referencing this post for my first planned trip coming up.
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  11. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I see the North Shore Shindig thread has reappeared on the first page of the forum. IMHO this is a really fun ride.
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  12. gpack

    gpack XL-er

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    I have it bookmarked now. Thanks for the update.
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  13. dajuice

    dajuice Been here awhile

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    Based on what I'm hearing the Shindig is exactly what you're looking for. I've not been to the event but I've been up in that area on a 1200GSA using the tracks CannonShot put together and did some exploring as well. Most of what is in this is gravel roads and double track that is fun and not too adventurous but there are a few spots that have made me wish I was on my 501 instead! I've never had to turn around but I did get worried a time or two!

    Assuming you don't want to wait until September to ride... Here is a link to the thread where you can get the tracks: LINK

    Much of that is national forest so you can camp anywhere but there are also several primitive campgrounds that can be found. HERE is probably the best place to start for both the dispersed and primitive camping.
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  14. cra_fizzer

    cra_fizzer Adventurer

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    For the Shindig, just camp at Wildhurst.
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  15. gpack

    gpack XL-er

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    This is very helpful, guys. Thanks for the direction here.

    Once straighten up my carburetor issue in a few weeks, I will be ready. I do hope to hit a trail starting in April/May.
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  16. cra_fizzer

    cra_fizzer Adventurer

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    There is another ride in August called CADVR.
    CADVR
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  17. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    Really dumb question. Where is this roughly? All I could find on the web link was that it takes place at Boulder Junction.
    I tried to download a few of their tracks, but link seems to be broken.

    From the track map it kind of looks like the UP assuming the bit of blue showing is Lake Superior.

    Edit: I found it. My UP/Lake Superior hunch was right. But it looks to be centered more in WI.
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  18. cra_fizzer

    cra_fizzer Adventurer

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  19. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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  20. Tiger993

    Tiger993 Been here awhile

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    With fishing access in mind, Superior NF checks all of your boxes with the only exception being it is a 3-4 hour drive from the metro to get there.

    There are hundreds of miles of gravel roads and two track trails to explore along with more than three dozen campgrounds, many of which the forest service calls "rustic". A lot of the campgrounds tend to be situated on lakes, although I have never seen a fishing pier so you'd be shore fishing.

    Based on your interests above, I think Superior NF is a perfect fit for what you're looking for. If you decide to head up, give it plenty of time to thaw out - I hear they've received even more snow than we have this year.
    #20