This mountain biking loop takes you throughout the entire Mahnomen Unit of singletrack trails for a complete “Big Side” (as locals call it) experience. The loop starts and finishes in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area (CCSRA) Miner’s Mountain Rally Center. A Minnesota State Park Permit is required to park a car or truck in this area.
Prior to parking within the Miner’s Mountain Rally Center stop and purchase a State Park Vehicle Permit at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Office at 307 3rd Street, Ironton, MN 56455 or call 218-546-5926 to confirm their open office hours.
Once your State Park permit is in hand, simply drive a few blocks north on HWY 30/Irene Avenue in Ironton. The entrance to the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area will be to your left after you drive past the last stop sign within the city of Ironton. The entrance to the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area is super close to town, but it’s kind of easy to miss the entrance as well.
This 10+ mile loop will take you through the Mahnomen Unit where you’ll experience both flowy singletrack and gravity Flow Country singletrack including Sand Hog and Screamer. Depending on your mountain biking speed, this could be a couple of hours, or a full day experience.
The trails within this loop are all one-way, one-direction singletrack trail.
- For trail conditions visit the MN DNR’s website — Keep in mind the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources does not update their trail conditions daily, just when trails are open, or temporarily closed due to conditions or maintenance.
- To make a donation to the ongoing annual maintenance of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails, please visit the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew (CREW), a chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s website at http://www.cuyunalakesmtb.com/donate.html
- To join the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew and IMBA as a member, please visit their website.
Responsible riding: International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) Rules of the Trail
Respect the landscape
• Respect your local trail builders and be a good steward of the physical environment. Keep singletrack single by staying on the trail. Practice Leave No Trace Principles. Do not ride muddy trails because it causes rutting, widening and maintenance headaches. Ride through standing water, not around it. Ride (or walk) technical features, not around them.
Share the trail
- Most of the trails we ride are multi-use. Mountain bikers yield to foot traffic, and descending cyclists yield to climbing cyclists. Be nice. Say hi.
Ride open, legal trails
- Poaching trails, building illegal singletrack or adding unauthorized trail features are detrimental to our access of the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area. Poorly-built features could also seriously injure other trail users. If you believe there aren’t enough trails or variety near you, it’s time to get involved. Your engagement will be welcomed because it takes a village to create, enhance and protect great places to ride. Please visit the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew’s website.
Ride in control
- Speed, inattentiveness and rudeness are the primary sources of trail conflict among user groups. If you need to pass, slow down, ring a bell or verbally announce yourself, and wait until the other trail user is out of the path. Be extra aware when riding trails with poor sight lines and blind corners, and make sure you can hear what’s going on around you by not wearing personal earphones when mountain biking or trail running.
- Be prepared and self-sufficient. Every mountain biker should carry what they need for the ride they’re undertaking, and know how to fix a flat tire and make minor repairs. Download a GPS trail app on your phone for navigation or carry a map in unfamiliar locations. Ride with a partner or share your riding plan with someone if you’re heading out solo.
Mind the animals
- If you encounter wildlife, please let the wildlife be, and remain exactly where it was found.
- If you want to ride with your dog, they must be on leash no longer than six feet in length. Be prepared to take care of your dog. Ensure your companion is obedient enough to not cause problems for you, other trail users or wild animals.
Helpful tips from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area is open daily from 8 am to 10 pm
- Mountain bike trail closures will be posted on the CCSRA website and at obvious locations in the field.
- When rain results in wet or soft trail conditions, the trails will be immediately closed to all users until conditions improve. Please contact the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area office for up-to-date information at 218-546-5926 or visit 307 3rd Street, Ironton, MN 56455 or visit the MN DNR Cuyuna Country State Recreation website.
- Wet, soft or muddy trails are closed trails. Muddy bikes or footwear are indications of closed trails.
- Trails are closed during rain. Trails can typically be ridden a few hours after the rain has stopped.
- Check weather forecast for Ironton (zip 56455) before you travel.
- Any activity that causes trail damage to the single-track mountain biking trails by foot or bike is prohibited.
- The Sagamore Unit trails do not close under wet weather conditions.
Mountain Bicycle Safety Tips:
- There are inherent risks to mountain biking, ride at your own risk.
- Test the fit and function of your equipment before each ride.
- Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.
- Wear bright-colored clothing so others can see you.
- Obey all rules and signs.
- Ride with a friend to promote fun and safety.
- Always yield the trail.
- Let others know you are coming.
- Be aware of your surroundings and other trail users.
- Ride to your ability and in control at all times.
- Do not ride on soft or wet trails.
- Ride open trails only.
- Mountain bike trails include loose and slippery surfaces.
- Proceed carefully as rocks and trees frequently fall, and are commonly encountered on the mountain bike trails.
- Extreme caution should be used on the mountain bike trails at all times!
- In winter cycling, there is no such thing as “safe ice,” and ice seldomly freezes uniformly.
- If you have an emergency, call 911, and provide the dispatcher with the following:
- Description of the emergency.
- Numbers on the nearest emergency GPS location marker.
- Name of the trail you are on.
Prohibited uses within the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area:
- Remote camping.
- Consuming or displaying intoxicating liquors.
- Building or maintaining a fire except in a fire ring at the Portsmouth Campground.
- Target and trap shooting.
- Horse riding on the mountain biking trail.
- Pets must be personally attended to at all times.
- Pets must be on a leash no longer than six feet in length.
- Any activity that damages the trails by foot or bike.
The guidance on this website is for reference only and should not be interpreted as a standard, specification or regulation. Mountain biking and bicycling on gravel or paved roads are inherently risky and could result in injury or death.