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Mississippi River Trail (MRT)
Throughout the 72-mile long Twin Cities Metro Area, the MRT is routed on both sides of the river - you can pick a side or ride both. The bikeway is located within the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA), an urban national park. Although much of the route is presently on-road, several off-road regional trails suitable for a wide variety of bicyclists are featured within this segment (local and regional planning is presently underway for several new off-road river-oriented trails with the eventual outcome being a continuous 144-mile off-road Metropolitan river loop).
Finally to the south, bicyclists can remain on roads below the Mississippi River Bluffs or ride the Apple Blossom Scenic Byway. The byway allows bicyclists a view of the Mississippi uplands, spectacular views of the river and adjoining bottom lands. It also offers access to Great River Bluffs State Park.
Compared to bicycling in the Appalachian, Rocky or Smoky Mountains, this route is relatively flat. State trails within the Twin Cities Metro Area which have a maximum sustained grade of 3 percent. The steepest climb of the road route is 578 feet and is located on the Apple Blossom Scenic Byway.
Route navigation (Statewide)
The MRT is signed from the Headwaters at Itasca State Park to the Iowa border.
Minnesota’s segment of the Mississippi River Trail bikeway follows the river roughly 600 miles from its source at Itasca State Park to the Iowa border.
Located largely on road shoulders, the route also includes segments of scenic state, regional and local trails. Minnesota’s route, sometimes on both sides of the river, totals more than 800 miles.