Mountain Biking Beltrami Island State Forest
Lake of the Woods is known as an exciting vacation spot for many many reasons. Of course, fishing is #1, but did you know we have a great location for mountain biking? Load up your bike and plan to spend time alone with nature or do a family outing. Then check out Beltrami Island State Forest.
Mountain biking is a sport of riding bicycles off-road, often over rough terrain, usually using specially designed mountain bikes. Mountain bikes share similarities with other bikes but incorporate features designed to enhance durability and performance in rough terrain, such as air or coil-sprung shocks used as suspension, larger and wider wheels and tires, stronger frame materials, and mechanically or hydraulically actuated disc brakes. Mountain biking can generally be broken down into five distinct categories: cross country, trail riding, all mountain, downhill, and freeride.
Mountain bikes are a fun way to exercise and connect with nature. Compared to road bikes, they have the following characteristics:
- fatter tires with rugged tread for stability and durability on off-road terrain
- a more upright cycling position that lets you enjoy the view
- suspension systems on some bikes absorb shock for a more comfortable ride
There are many ways to enjoy mountain biking, and you don’t even have to be in the mountains. Trails vary from pleasant rides on wide, flowing logging roads to high-adrenaline challenges on technical singletrack.
Snowmobile trails are generally not suited to bike travel since many of these trails travel through very wet areas. With the invention of fat tire bikes early ice fishing is accessible on the lake. Can you believe it?!? Ride a bike on the ice?!? See this great picture for proof that it can be done. Fat tire bikes allow anglers or hunters to travel long distances where foot travel is difficult to reach.
While there are no mountains near Lake of the Woods “and even small hills are scarce” the area does offer several routes for mountain biking. The forest roads surrounding the Faunce State Forest Campground, about 13 miles south of Williams, offer several loop routes up to about 30 miles in length.
Potential users of these roads should be aware that forestry is a major industry in this area, and logging trucks frequently use these roads during the week, so weekends may be a better choice than week days. Also, there are several hunter walking trails in the area that are open to non-motorized vehicle use.
The Beltrami Island State Forest is a state forest located in Lake of the Woods, Roseau, and Beltrami counties, Minnesota. Named after Italian explorer Giacomo Beltrami, it is the second-largest state forest in the Minnesota system after Pine Island State Forest. The largest wildlife management area in the state at 321,149 acres (129,964 ha), the Red Lake Wildlife Management Area, is located within the forest.
The majority of land in the forest is coniferous swamp dominated by species such as black spruce, tamarack, and northern white cedar, although red pine, jack pine, and aspen exist in upland areas. Much of the pine that characterizes the upland acreage were planted by the federal Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, based out of Norris Camp now located in the Red Lake WMA portion of the forest.
This beautiful area is also used by many as a resource for bird watching. It is virtually a paradise for the eye to feast on and wildlife is abundant. This is also the sight of many first homesteads of the early settlers to Lake of the Woods County. Some of those are still marked and are worthy to be looked for.
For more information see our website at: www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com/lodging.