May 7, 2024 | By: Sammy Holladay

Northwoods Experience: New Mountain Biking Trails at Clearwater Forest

Mountain biking has been growing in popularity in central Minnesota since the completion of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails. The designer of those trails, Tim Wegner, was also recruited to design trails at the Clearwater Forest Camp & Retreat Center.

For over six years, Clearwater Forest Camp & Retreat Center has worked closely with Wegner, an advocate for mountain biking and a legend in the biking community. Clearwater Forest is excited to unveil the new mountain biking trails and give the public and their campers access.

“We’re at a hidden gem here in the Cuyuna Lakes area,” stated Lance Baumann, Clearwater Forest Camp & Retreat Center Site Director, “and to be able to invite a new genre of people in mountain biking and stuff out here – we have 1,000 acres and nine miles of trails. We have campsites and lodges and cabins. It’s good to see a new clientele come on here and be able to use the site for their, the best of their abilities.”

Numerous studies show that spending time outside benefits one’s well-being. Giving everyone access to those benefits has always been the goal of Clearwater Forest.

“Being out in nature is ridiculously good for your health,” said Erin Anderson, Clearwater Forest Camp & Retreat Center Executive Director. “It’s good for your heart rate, it’s good for your blood pressure, it’s good for your mental health. And it’s really something that people don’t do a lot these days. And so we want to provide a space where we can be out in nature, everybody is welcome, and realize those amazing benefits, both physically, emotionally, mentally, and we would add spiritually.”

What these trails offer is not just a place where people can come and get away, but it offers a place where people can fall in love with mountain biking and turn it into a lifetime hobby.

“It’s not just a trail to ride, it’s a life experience,” said Wegner, “and people are going to come back to this and they’re going to say, ‘You know, I start riding in Clearwater Forest. That’s where I took one of my first rides. I was out there and I saw they had trails, so I borrowed a bike that they have, and it was so much fun that I kept on going and I bought my own bike,’ and who knows where it might lead.”

The trails are free to ride and open to the public. Clearwater Forest does require that members of the public who wish to ride on the trails check in at their office before beginning to ride.

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