Best Bike Trail in the Cities?

Hey Peeps!  I’ve received the first question using my new Ask Me Anything form using Google Docs!  This question comes from my buddy Don, who writes along with his wife at The Wortley Pad.  Here’s his question:

Hey Reuben- My parents are coming to town near the end of the month and I want to take them on a bike ride on one of the paths here in town. What is your favorite 5-10 mile stretch of Minneapolis/St. Paul bike paths?

Don and his wife purchased a couple of bicycles at the beginning of the summer and they’ve been hitting the trails pretty hard.  I don’t think I have any magical trails that Don hasn’t seen yet, but I’ll list some of my favorites:
First Runner Up: Midtown Greenway
winter.Grnwy.cyclist.2006.02.03 005 (2)
The Midtown Greenway between Hennepin Avenue and Cedar Avenue is arguably the nation’s premier bicycle freeway.  From an engineering and planning perspective, it is quite a marvel – definitely the most unique bike trail in town.  However, it’s utilitarian nature might not impress your parents the same way it impresses me, because, well, parents just don’t understand, so it can’t take the top spot.
Second Runner Up: Minnehaha Parkway
project365m_101107 / #303m
Minnehaha Parkway is another one of my favorite bike trails in the city.  I love being next to the creek & the trees, and I think the parkway does a great job balancing the needs of recreational and commuting cyclists.  It’s a great example of an urban park corridor.  Plus it’s super-easy to get to Minnehaha Falls, which is also a must-see for out-of-town visitors.  But it’s under construction right now, so it can’t get the top spot, either.
Third Runner Up: Cedar Lake Trail / Kenilworth Trail
Kenilworth Trail
These pieces of the Cedar Lake and Kenilworth Trails are probably my favorite trails in the metro.  I love how they split apart into separated bike and pedestrian trails, and the area north and east of Cedar Lake has a sort of no-man’s land that I find endearing.  I don’t know if these trails are good destinations on their own, however, so they can’t take the top spot.
So the Winner is…..
West River Parkway
West River Road, Bike Path, and Sidewalk, Minneapolis
If I could show out of town visitors only one trail in the cities, it would definitely be West River Parkway.  The trail allows you to check out everything downtown, including the stone arch bridge, the Guthrie Theater, and the historic riverfront mills & stuff.  Bridge 9 is a pretty awesome bridge to check out along the way.  The views of the Mississippi River and the University of Minnesota are pretty neat, and the new pavement means smooth riding the whole way.  The south end of the trail also allows easy connection to Minnehaha Falls.  Plus, if that’s not long enough for you, you can just keep going on Minnehaha Parkway, or south towards Fort Snelling.

Honorable Mentions:
East River Parkway
Bruce Vento Trail
Gateway State Trail
Theodore Wirth Parkway
Victory Memorial Parkway
SW LRT Trail

Readers, what trail would you recommend for Don and his parents?

Got any more questions????  Ask Me Anything!!!

6 comments to Best Bike Trail in the Cities?

  • Liz

    WOW! This post was above and beyond our expectations! We are definitely going to have to pass this post on to Don's parents to see the possibilities! Thanks for such a thorough response. We'll give you a report on the trails we take πŸ™‚ Thanks again!

  • I aim to please. Tell your friends I'm the one-stop concierge to the city. and ASK ME MORE QUESTIONS!

  • Bill Wortley

    You may be right that "most" parents don't understand but we're special… πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the suggestions they all look interesting.

  • @Bill – I was mostly just looking for an excuse to link to the Fresh Prince & DJ Jazzy Jeff. He's so JAZZY!

    Have a great trip!

  • Bill Wortley

    Now I am showing my age since I have no idea who or what Fresh Prince & DJ Jazzy Jeff are…

  • Liz

    Bill, you're not old. Just like you said … "special" πŸ™‚ j/k. Can't wait to go on one of these fine rides next weekend.