Earlier this week I got an opportunity to ride some of the new singletrack in Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area. The area has long been abandoned by the mining companies, and is now a 5000 acre state recreation area with a campground, multiple clear mine lakes, and most importantly, 25 miles of new mountain bike trail. The new trail was gorgeous.
I was tight on time, so I only rode a fraction of the trail system. I hit all of the Yawkey Unit trails (some of them multiple times), and almost all of the Portsmouth Unit trails. Next time I'm in the area I plan to ride the trails in the Mahnomen Unit.
The Yawkey trails were a ton of fun, especially Bobsled, Tugger, and the advanced trails south of the Yawkey Lake parking lot. The entire Yawkey area felt like a mountain bike playground... everything from pump track-esque rollers and berms, to technical rock sections.
Two of my favorite trails in the Yawkey Unit were Tugger and Bobsled. Tugger is a fun intermediate trail with an especially fast section that dumps you out into the parking lot. The trail also cuts across some slopes that are rocky enough to remind me of trails out west.
The crown jewel for the Yawkey Unit is a trail called Bobsled... my guess is that it's the most popular trail in this neck of the woods. The trail starts by climbing to the highest elevation in the area, then crosses fields of jagged rocks all while following the edge of a steep slope dropping off to your left. Once the trail heads west across the flat hilltop you get to see why this trail is so aptly named.
The trail ends with a long series of really fast, banked turns that run the length of a shallow gully.
Bobsled is a LOT of fun. It eventually dumps you back into the Yawkey parking lot, where you can head back up the hill and do it all over again.
After spending some quality time in the Yawkey Unit, I headed west for an out-and-back ride through the Portsmouth Unit. It was a nice change from the mtb playground of the often tightly packed Yawkey trails. Riding the Portsmouth trails gives you the feeling you're traveling across the land, that you are covering some distance to get to a destination. Unfortunately I was running low on time and had to turn around before reaching that destination... the extensive singletrack north of Huntington Lake. That'll have to wait until next time.
Below was my turn around point, and the first time I got a close look at the clear Cuyuna waters.
It was tough to leave... the Cuyuna singletrack trails are beautifully built into some gorgeous terrain.
I'm already planning the next trip north to ride the red dirt...
Stopping can be as much fun as riding...