Many visitors and even residents near the Whitefish Chain don’t realize that nearly every main road around the chain has eight foot shoulders- perfect for biking, walking or jogging.
While most shoulders are only six feet wide, eight foot shoulders follow the entirety of the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway (PBSB), which encompasses virtually all of the main county roads around the Whitefish Chain. Several years ago the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway took it upon itself to establish an extra two feet of shoulder along the major county roads in the area, which provides welcome breathing room and a safer experience for bikers and pedestrians.
The Byway serves as a great corridor to get to the Paul Bunyan Trail, a rails-to-trails project that goes all the way from Brainerd to Bemidji. The advantage of rails-to-trails is that the trail tends to have few hills. It also crosses through some scenic areas of woods, lakes and fields.
And, don’t forget that Crosslake has a paved biking/walking path along County Road 66, the main road through town.
Looking for some great biking destinations? We’ve got you covered. We're listing some of the best bike-in destinations around the Whitefish Chain, all of which can be reached by an 8-foot shoulder or bike path.
For the hot summer day: We all scream for ice cream! You’ve got a few great options along the Whitefish Chain. Lake Country Crafts and Cones serves Kemps ice cream- in fact, they serve more Kemps than any other ice cream shop in the state. It’s located in Crosslake right in town. If you’re in a soft-serve mood, there’s also a Dairy Queen in Crosslake, also on County Road 66, and another in Pine River on Highway 371, south of the stoplights. Ole and Lena’s in Pine River also has ice cream and an old-school soda fountain (rumor has it their pizza is pretty spectacular, too). And we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the Chocolate Ox in Crosslake's Town Square shopping center, which will cover not just ice cream but any sort of sweet tooth.
For a Lunch Date: Old Milwaukee Club is a great place for a bite to eat and located at the heart of the Whitefish Chain. The old saying at the Old Mil is “Where in the heck is Ideal Corners?!” but you’ll be able to find the Old Mil easily- it’s just off County Road 16 on County Road 39. They're open for lunch and dinner, and known for their "wimpy" burgers and fish fry.
For a cool drink or caffeine boost: One of the newest businesses in Crosslake is Crosslake Coffee, which makes hot and iced lattes and several varieties of home-baked goods. Lakes Latte in Pequot Lakes is another favorite for smoothies, coffee, scones and wraps.
For those seeking a little extra adventure: If you want to add a little adrenaline to your bike trip, head over to the Pequot Lakes Fire Tower, just east of Pequot Lakes, which is open for climbing throughout the warmer months of the year (it only closes in snow and ice). After a short hike, the fire tower- which is still used for fire spotting in the spring and fall- is the perfect spot to get above the trees and see the entire area from above.
So grab your friends and family, hop on your bikes, and enjoy!