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Detroit Mountain bike trails set to open

Lisa Hagen takes a spin on the Detroit Mountain mountain bike skills park last week. DL NEWSPAPERS/Brian Basham

By Vicki Gerdes / DL Newspapers

Area mountain biking aficionados have had the date circled on their calendar for weeks, but hikers should also take note: The biking and hiking trails at Detroit Mountain Recreation Area will be open for business starting this Saturday, June 27.

The trails, professionally built by Arkansas-based Progressive Trail Design, have been designed to host all levels of mountain biking enthusiasts.

They include seven miles of single track, cross country flow trails, optimized for mountain bike use; four downhill gravity and jump trails, ranging from ¼ mile to ½ mile each and accessible via the Mountain’s chair lift as well as on foot; a biking skills park; and a Strider Adventure Zone, built specifically for toddlers between the ages of 2-5.

In addition, there are over six miles of scenic trails available for hikers, using many of the same paths Nordic skiers take during the winter.

Though hikers will be allowed on the cross country flow trails as well, bikers will have the right-of-way, cautions DMRA General Manager Jeff Staley.

“The gravity trails will be open for biking only,” Staley added — as will the skills park, which much like the Scheels Terrain Park used by skiers and snowboarders during the winter months, will have a variety of specially designed, elevated features like “rollers” — undulating wooden bridges — and “skinnies” — bridges made of narrow wooden planks, placed end-to-end to create 

All of the features in the biking skills park — which is in a different location entirely than the Scheels Terrain Park — are made of wood, Staley said.

“You can pick your own line and work on the different features that you like to focus on,” Staley said of the skills park.

The trails and skills park will be open “from dawn to dusk” each day, he added.

The chair lifts, which will be open from Friday through Sunday only, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, will accommodate bikers headed for the gravity trails as well as hikers who want to access the scenic overlook.

Because they will be accommodating bikers who need to load and offload their bikes — which will be done by the lift operators as part of the service — the lifts will be operating at about a 10th of their normal speed, Staley said (which also provides an excellent opportunity for sightseeing).

The Strider Adventure Zone — named after the Strider bikes, created specifically for toddlers, that will be available at DMRA’s rental shop — is like a “mini skills park” designed specifically for toddlers (and youth up to approximately age 5) to practice their bike riding technique, Staley said.

And speaking of the rental shop, the DMRA Lodge will offer not only Strider bikes for toddlers, but also TREK bikes for adults, including full suspension and hard tail models as well as fat bikes. There will be bikes designed specifically for kids available as well.

Guests are also more than welcome to bring their own bikes, however, Staley noted.

The lodge will be open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., with the rental shop being open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In addition, the Horse’s Neck Saloon will be open Friday through Sunday throughout the summer, from noon to 8 p.m. daily, and there will be snacks and non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase every day in the café area as well.

Grand opening

The grand opening celebration for DMRA’s bike trails will take place on Saturday, July 11, with several special events planned.

Gary Fisher the “Godfather of Mountain Biking,” will be at the Detroit Mountain Lodge for a meet and greet, and will also lead at least one group ride on the new DMRA trails during the celebration. Fisher, an inductee into the Mountain Biking Hall of Fame, was instrumental in creating the sport during the 1960s.

In addition to the appearance by Fisher, there will also be live entertainment from approximately 4 to 7 p.m. — the lineup is still being determined, Staley said — and representatives from all four of the area’s major bike retailers, including DL Bike Shop, Scheels, Great Northern Cycle and Paramount Sports, will be on hand throughout the festivities.

There will also be representatives on hand from the International Mountain Biking Association, People for Bikes, Strider, Scheels and more.

“TREK Bikes will be bringing their ‘Ride Experience’ trailer as well,” Staley added.

More information on this event, as well as rental shop and ride pricing, maps and hours of operation can be accessed online at Detroit Mountain also has a Facebook page (a link can be found at the bottom of the main DMRA web page) that includes photos of bikers testing out the trails and newest skills park features as well as up-to-date information on upcoming events.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

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