BEST BIKE TRAIL (1999)
After so many April showers, the system of paved paths and mountain bike trails known in some guidebooks as the "Three Bridges Bikeway" may be a big mud pie. Nevertheless, when the sun comes out, this is the perfect network of paths for first-time mountain bikers and veterans alike, with dirt trails that won't intimidate beginners and enough steep climbs and dips to satisfy gear-heads. Start by riding the paved trails near the falls, then veer off into various passages through the trees, staying on guard for off-road pedestrian traffic (the area isn't publicized as a biking ground, though it's perfectly legal). Both the Fort Snelling South Trail and the paths in the Minnehaha Park area give you a glimpse of a forested landscape that remains surprisingly wild and beautiful for its urban location, and the system makes for one of the more romantic mountain-bike dates in the Cities. With any luck, the Hwy. 55 reroute should leave most of the trail intact.