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Cycling Route in Buffalo, Minnesota, United States of America

Buffalo To Mississippi Headwaters at Itasca State Park

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Open this route in Bikemap Web

Open this route in Bikemap Web

356 km
Distance
290 m
Ascent
117 m
Descent
-:-- h
Duration
-- km/h
Avg. Speed
--- m
Max. Elevation

About This Route

This is a great route from Buffalo to the Mississippi Headwaters in Lake Itasca State Park (about 225 miles). I've lead multiple trips with our Boy Scout troop and it has been fun every time.  For those scouts heading to Many Point, the camp is just a few miles south of Lake Itasca State Park.  There are shorter routes that don't use the trails but using the bike trails increases safety and is a lot more fun/scenic.

You can do this trip in 4 days (3 camping nights) of 5 days (4 camping nights) depending on your ambition (you could do the whole trip in 3 days, two camping nights but why rush the enjoyment).

The last couple times I road as follows:

- Buffalo to Lindbergh State Park

- Linbergh to Pine City

- Pine City to Park Rapids.

- Park Rapids to Headwaters

There are sections of the route that are approximated because the software does not snap to trails.  I added notes along the way to highlight these areas.  Simply follow the trail, it is obvious.

Most of the roads are on wide paved shoulders with light to medium traffic. Hwy 55 can be busy but if you head west in the morning you'll be going into commuter traffic.

Hwy 371 is four lane.  Traffic is fast but depending on the day and time it is not terrible.  Avoid Fridays going north or Sundays going south to avoid the cabin traffic.  At the Mississippi river bridge near Brainard you leave the freeway, walk through the fense and get onto streets.  Check for my notes on the map.  Also, changes are in the works relative to trail extensions  near this area.  Check it out before you leave for better routing in the area.  I believe the Paul Bunyan Trail will eventually extend to the Crow Wing State Park.

Heading north on Hwy 15 towards St Cloud you'll encounter one of the few overpasses.  CAUTION: traffic exiting at the ramp is traveleing at 55- 80MPH.  Make sure as you cross the ramp that there is NO traffic approaching.  There is another similar safety risk on 371 just north of the visitor center.

Much of the route is on the Paul Bunyan & Heartland trails which really adds to the enjoyment.  Print a trail map off the DNR site for more trail details.  The trail is all paved and in good shape.  NOTE:  Getting on the trail is marked with a note.  Zoom in to see the details.  For whatever reason, the trail is not marked at this entry point.

Lots of photo opportunities along the way in the little tows or along the trail.

Bicycling is inherently risky, especially along traffic proceeding at high speeds.  Be careful and make the trip at your own risk.

This cycling route is ideal for: City bike

You will cycle on the following surfaces: Paved

Highlights Along The Route

Point of Interest

Use Caution as you cross the exit ramps. Traffic approaching from the rear does so at 55- 80 mph ... or more!

Point of Interest

Use caution crossing these exit ramps. Cars approach from the rear at 55-80MPH (or more)!

Point of Interest

The maps make this are look easier than it is. Watch you road markings!

More highlights are available with Bikemap for iOS and Android.

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