16 Sep Mountain Biking at Detroit Mountain
Growing up in small town Minnesota meant that most adventures required a bit of driving to reach. Although there are several ski hills within a few hours drive from where we grew up in Pelican Rapids, there was only one that was less than a 30 minute drive away: Detroit Mountain. After more than 50 years of operation, Detroit Mountain closed its slopes in 2004. But, with the help of the local community and the campaign “Bring Back Detroit Mountain”, they reopened in 2014 as a year-round recreation facility.
Now, in addition to skiing (both cross country and downhill), snowboarding, tubing, snowshoeing and fat tire biking in the winter, they now offer mountain biking in the summer, as well.
We haven’t been able to check out the new and improved Detroit Mountain in the winter as of yet, but Micah was able to take his new Raleigh Bicycle there this summer to finally get some mountain biking in. We’ve had a pretty busy schedule this summer, so most of our bike rides have been in town on trails such as the The Midtown Greenway, and we also had one chance to ride on the trails at Itasca State Park. That being said, Micah was anxious to actually take his bike out on a mountain biking trail.
Since I’m not the biggest fan of mountain biking myself, Micah rounded up a few friends and they made their way over to Detroit Mountain for an evening of biking. Detroit Mountain is still in the process of building and improving trails, but as of summer 2016, there are around 18 trails open. The trails are varying lengths and difficulty levels as they wanted to create trails for everyone to enjoy regardless of their skill level.
Currently, the chair lifts and lodge are open on the weekends from 10 or 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. When Micah went for a ride, it was a weekday, so the chairlifts weren’t open. This meant that they could either bike their way up the hill or explore some of the lower trails. Since they were starting rather late in the day, they decided to check out the two West Side Bike Trails as they were a bit easier to access: Twisted Sister and EZ-Ryder.
The Twisted Sister trail is a blue trail (medium difficulty) and it is 1.95 miles long, while the EZ-Ryder trail is a green trail (less difficult) and 1.1 miles long. Micah said the trails ran through wooded areas filled with trees and the trails were well maintained. While they weren’t on the downhill trails, the cross-country trails they explored still had elevation changes. With rocks, twists, and turns the trails were both exciting, challenging, and a great workout, especially because he hadn’t been mountain biking in over a year.
So, how did Micah’s bike perform now that he finally had a chance to take it out mountain biking? He said it handled great and he felt comfortable throughout the entire ride. The shocks performed well and had good absorbency, especially when encountering unexpected rocks and bumps in the trail. The brakes were solid and reliable, the tire traction was strong, and with his padded shorts, the seat remained comfortable throughout the ride. He came home excited to take the bike out on even more mountain biking trails in the future, so I have to say, it sounds like it went pretty well!
In addition to the two trails they explored, the mountain offers Downhill Flow Trails on the east side of the park; these trails incorporate berms, wood ramps, and multiple rollers. The Contour Flow Trails offer a ride that will make you feel like you are on a roller coaster, and Skills Course offers elevated features where you can test and hone your balance and technical skills. There is also a Strider Adventure Zone, which gives children under 5 years old a friendly atmosphere to develop their mountain biking skills and confidence.
When the lodge is open, you can pay inside and rent bikes if you don’t have one yourself. If the lodge isn’t open, there is box at the trailhead where payment can be made. For the summer 2016 season, a day pass for the trails is $5 per person or $10 per family, and there are a variety of summer pass options available, as well. Access to the chairlift is an additional fee that ranges from $8-$25. The trails are open from dusk to dawn 7 days a week, while the lodge is open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and the chairlifts from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Even though I’m still warming up to the idea of mountain biking, I do have to admit that hearing about these trails made me want to give it another try. In the meantime, I’m happy to take my hybrid bike out around the city and on park trails!
Special thanks to Raleigh Bicycles for providing us with complimentary bikes! As always, all opinions are our own.