There may not be a true mountain in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, but mountain bikers looking for everything from scenic trails to heart-thumping steep slopes and switchbacks have miles of trails to choose from at two-plus area venues. Cooler temperatures and a rainbow carpet of leaves make Fall an ideal time to hit the trail.
Once a popular family-owned alpine ski resort for more than 50 years, the new 350-acre Detroit Mountain Recreation Area, 3 miles east of Detroit Lakes, has added professionally-designed mountain bike trails to expand its year-round activities. Ride the "roller coaster" on the contour flow trails or bike on the downhill flow trails that drop down the side of the mountain over berms, rollers and custom wooden ramps. Build up your experience on the skills course with ladder bridges and elevated features to beef up your technical handling skills and balance. Bikers as young as 18 months to 5 years old improve bike handling skills and build confidence at the Adventure Zone, with its safe environment to improve balance and motor skills. With a lift to take your bike to the top, it's a downhill adventure all the way. And, kiosk pay stations let your ride and play anytime your choose. For more woodsy mountain biking, plan a stop at the Mountain View County Park trails nearby. Find more information on the Detroit Lakes Recreation Area website.
With 64 kilometers (39 miles) of ski and mountain bike trails, Maplelag Resort, 20 miles north of Detroit Lakes near Callaway, Minnesota, offers a web of trails. The family-operated cross country ski resort and conference center, uses some of its wide ski trails for mountain biking. More experienced riders appreciate the twists and turns around Hudson's Hula and the trail drops on Suicide Hill. About a dozen miles of old school single track give serious bikers all the twists, dips and technical challenges they crave.
Competitive bikers schedule vacation time around the Laddies Loppet mountain bike races held every Labor Day weekend since 1990. Besides the two-lap singletrack event, kids of all ages may race on easy to moderate tracks. Maplelag's website offers a map of trails, amenities and other information.