If you enjoy camping and other activities such as mountain biking, the Cuyuna Country Recreation Area is one of those places that you simply must visit. Located in Minnesota, just off the State Highway 210, the Cuyuna Country Recreation Area is one of the newest State Recreation Areas and it has a lot to offer.
About The Cuyuna Country Recreation Area
Cuyuna features more than 30 miles of singletrack trail riding that extends over 800 acres. If you want world-class mountain biking, Cuyuna is the place to go! The singletrack dirt trails have a variety of designs to welcome riders of all levels.
If you want to hit the 30 miles of world-class mountain bike trails, the Miner’s Mountain Rally Center would be the place to go. If you’re more of a beginner mountain biker, the Cuyuna paved Lakes State Trail extends for 10+ miles and it’s an amazing ride.
Hiking is also very much encouraged and the hike to Miner’s Mountain Overlook is just amazing and it offers the most breathtaking views of the red rock landscape. Now, if what you really want to do is camping, the Cuyuna Country Recreation Area offers some of the greatest campgrounds in the country and there are also three yurts available for overnight stays all year round.
The Cuyuna Country Recreation Area used to be an open-pit mining area, which means that mining pits and waste rock were left behind by mining companies over 30 years ago.
Most of the Cuyuna Range has been revitalized since then and it boasts of regenerated vegetation and beautiful lakes born out of mine pits that attract recreation and nature enthusiasts from all around the country and the world.
The Cuyuna area offers over 25 miles of natural shoreline and you can explore it by boat or canoe; you’re also allowed to fish for trout, bass, crappie, and sunfish on the trout lakes and water activities such as kayaking and scuba diving are the most popular.
Popular Mountain Biking Trails
Miner's Mountain Trail The Miner’s Mountain is the tallest point in the Cuyuna area and it offers the greatest view. The hill was actually made by miners in their task of disposing of glacial till and low grade ore.
The trail covers this amazing hill, but there’s also a road that leads to the very top, which makes it one of the most accessible overlooks. It’s also one of the best spots to watch the sunrise and sunset, star gazing and just to enjoy the weather, which is why it’s so popular among visitors.
The Sand Hog trail was awarded the Flow Country Trail Award of the International Mountain Bicycling Association in 2012 and it’s one of the most exciting trails in the Cuyuna area because it features the longest, most twisting ride!
Drag Line Trail You’ll find the Drag Line Trail on Portsmouth Mine Lake; it takes you through the Portsmount Campground and the beach before leading you to one of the tallest hills in the area. The ride through this trail is just amazing and when you make your way back to the lake, you’ll be able to cool off and relax by the lake.
Bobsled Trail Bobsled Trail, similar to an Olympic bobsled run, hence its name, and it offers a lot of twists and turns and a long, downhill trajectory. That’s why it’s one of the favorite among mountain bikers and it’s definitely one of the trails that you simply can’t ignore when you visit Cuyuna Country Recreation Area.
Timber Shaft Trail The Timber Shaft Trail is one of the most advanced and challenging trails in the area, which is perfect for professional riders. The trail surrounds iron ore boulders and it has special wood riding features that make it one of the most outstanding trails in the Cuyuna Country Recreation Area.
Summer Activities and Dining Options
If you’re not really interested in mountain biking, there are many other activities you can enjoy at the Cuyuna Country Recreation Area. Scuba diving is one of the options and the lakes offer many wonderful opportunities. They provide clear visibility and the most popular ones seem to be the Alstead Mine Lake, which is 140 feet deep, and the Mahnomen Mine Lake, which is 525 feet deep, making it the deepest mine lake in the area.
Another great summer activity in the Cuyuna Country Recreation Area consists in visiting the Croft Mine. Back in the day when this underground mine was operational, it produced around 1,770,669 tons of iron ore, and it has now been turned into a museum complete with a simulated mine shaft and authentic mining artifacts on display. You can also explore photographs and unique relics from back in the day so you can get an idea of how miners worked. As you know, physical exertion can make us very hungry, so it’s a good idea to know where we can go to replenish our energy!
You also have the Iron Range Eatery and Rafferty's located Main Street, Crosby, and many other dining options. True North Basecamp True North Basecamp is lodging located at the heart of the Cuyuna Country Recreation Area, so we can’t end this article without introducing it to you. This basecamp is often the starting point for visitors to set up camp and it also offers indoor lodging throughout the year.
Some of the most popular nearby activities among adventurers include canoeing, kayaking, hiking, biking and many different trails are available, including the Cross Country Ski trail and the Snowmobile trail to have some fun during the winter.
Overall, the Cuyuna Country Recreation Area offers a complete camping experience and it’s one of Minnesota’s most exciting locations!