Saturday, May 26, 2018

Lake Elmo Park Reserve: Big Bluestem and Eagle Point Mountain Biking Trails

This post was written for a group outing so it’s not a typical trail review.


Lake Elmo Park Reserve has two multi-use trails suitable for novice trail biking (trail maps.pdf). The trails can also be used in winter for skijoring. Both trails have some horse traffic (see below) and can be ridden in both directions. They resemble old country roads.

The Big Bluestem trail is 2.5 miles. It is pretty flat and quite pleasant with some shade (blue trail below)

The Eagle Point Lake trail is a 3.8 mile loop (red trail below). It has a bit hillier and less shaded than Bluestem and has more horse traffic.  There are areas where rainwater can collect.

In addition to these two trails there are unnamed side trails (purple dashes on trail maps) that can significantly extend rides and connect loops. Grass is longer on these trails.


Location and Fees

When you enter the reserve from the south park at the first lot on the left. You can use copy/paste these coordinates in your phone for the parking lot:

There is a $7 vehicle fee ($30 a season).

Here’s the trailhead, we will take the blue trail to the right


Things to bring

  • Helmet. Every rider needs a helmet including ride leaders, aides, etc.
  • Bike: A mountain bikes best. A gravel, “cross” or “city” bike would work for a more expert rider who could manage bumpiness.
  • Cell phone for aides, ride leaders
  • Good ideas: water, sunscreen, tic repellent spray for legs

Meet-up procedure

  • Everybody text john with their name and rider info
  • Mechanical bike check: ABCD
  • Gear: set to low gear
  • Skills check: braking
  • Ride guide: 1-2 groups, wait at trail branch (can ride back to trailing group)
  • Pedestrians and Horses have right of way
  • Horse orientation
    • Pass from behind: call out in friendly voice from a distance, rider will provide passing room
    • Pass from in front: I think is best to stop pull over to the side and let horses pass. 


  • Ride the “Big Bluetstem” (it’s not very big!): 31, 30, 29, 28, 27, 25, 24, 23, 22, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31
  • If everyone wants to do more we can repeat or do Eagle Point
  • If need to cancel (Rain, Temp over 95F) will send to MNSH Group and will update Facebook Event.


  • There is some horse poop but it’s not minor at this time in season. 
  • There are minimal horse flies that a rider can run into
  • Some of the trails are not well shaded, so wear sunscreen and drink water
  • The Eagle Point Lake trail can have standing water after a downpour
  • The trails we are on are not overgrown, but there are ticks in the taller grass. Consider spraying lower legs.

Some trail photos

The bicycling is generally easy but novices may need to walk up a few steeper hills


When we come up on horses call ‘hello’ in a friendly voice, let rider move horse to the side. If approaching from the front pull over and let pass unless rider says otherwise.


It’s pretty …