Best Bike Trail - 2011
Grands Rounds, along the Mississippi River
2990 W. River Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55406
You don't need us to tell you the Twin Cities is the best place to bike in the country—Bicycling magazine bestowed that very honor upon us last spring—but if you need some convincing, the Grand Rounds make a persuasive argument. Of this 50-mile series of trails, the stretch along the Mississippi River is the most majestic. Start among the old industrial landmarks in downtown Minneapolis, then snake around to the slightly more secluded environs near the Washington Bridge, where you get a view of the West Bank virtually from water level. From there it's up and down hills, around curves, and through the trees, with a view of the river that's impressive in any season, whether it's a summer sunset or the fall colors in all their magnificence. Along the way, there aren't the sorts of traffic problems you encounter on other trails, but what's best is the leisurely nature this trail invites. Stop to see the hiking paths down below, or have a picnic near the water. Like so many of the finer aspects of biking in the Cities, the trail presents the perfect mix of urban transportation and outdoor exploration.