Cruser’s Kettle is a backcountry trail that winds through a Crow Wing County active forest management area—it’s an 8-mile, one-way, round-trip commitment. Much of Cruser’s Kettle is covered in glacial goodness—rolling, flowy, dirt-infused singletrack. However, as this is a black diamond trail, this trail is also full of technical features including:

  • Extended rock descents, upward of 60 feet in length, and rock climbs of the same distance
  • Log rolls in trail
  • Half-log ramp skinnies
  • Log step-ups through trees
  • Rock drop through trees

Know before you go:

  • Cruser’s Kettle is not groomed for fat bike use in the winter, but snowshoeing is encouraged.
  • After rain, Cruser’s Kettle will be closed for a full 24 hours. The soil is natural, glacial till, so it demands more quiet time that our mainland red dirt gold across the road in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area (CCSRA).
  • Cruser’s Kettle Trail Info

Trail rating: Black diamond. Very difficult/Expert

Trail entry point:
23201 Iron Hub Road
Deerwood, MN 56444

Where to park:

There is a small parking lot—and we do mean small (four or five vehicles at best)—located at the trailhead. Please do not park on the land to the left, right, and across from the driveway to the parking lot (this is all private property), or on Iron Hub Road (the gravel road at the parking lot entrance).

If the lot is full, parking is available within the City of Cuyuna, 3 miles from Cruser’s Kettle. You may park at the at the following locations within city limits:

  • Roosevelt Avenue between Foley Street and Main Street
  • Foley Street between City Hall and the Woodtick Inn. (If you’re over 21, be sure to stop in to the Woodtick Inn for an après ride refreshment.)
  • Minnesota Avenue between City Hall and Kruse Street

Please do not park in front of our residents’ homes. And please do not park in the City of Cuyuna pumptrack parking, as that reserved for pump track patrons and the City of Cuyuna Campground guests.

Ride-in from the CCSRA:

The Cuyuna Connector allows cyclists to park anywhere in the CCSRA or in town, or leave from their lodging, and ride Cruser’s Kettle without having to drive and or park.

To reach Cruser’s Kettle, cyclists may ride the Cuyuna Connector trail from the Yawkey Unit within the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area to the City of Cuyuna and down Iron Hub Road to the Cruser’s Kettle entry point. (Yawkey Unit to the City of Cuyuna is four miles round-trip.).

Trail history:

Cruser’s Kettle is named for Dan Cruser (pronounced Cruiser), a lifelong advocate of cycling and a retired Crosby High School guidance counselor. Cruser’s first bike the in mid-1980s was a mountain bike—he rode old mining roads and anywhere else he could

Dan Cruser

find a trail. Family vacations to biking destinations in the western US helped Cruser realize what biking could do for communities—especially the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area—both economically, as well as improving the health of its residents and visitors. The vision and advocacy efforts of Cruser and others in promoting the mountain bike trails—including a Hallett Trust grant matched with public donations—helped to implement the current Cuyuna Master Vision for Trails to expand the trails beyond their initial 25 miles.

This trail was made was made possible by the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew (Crew) and their #ForCuyuna campaign. Led by Cuyuna’s own, Aaron Hautala, the Crew’s fundraising efforts resulted in $675,000 (including a matching grant from the Hallet Trust) for new trail construction.

WARNING ⚠: Please read the IMBA Responsbile Riding Rules of the Trail prior to riding by clicking

WARNING ⚠: Please review IMBA Trail Difficulty Rating System prior to riding by clicking here.

WARNING ⚠: Please read the safety warnings on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area Trail Map by clicking here.