Friday, May 20, 2011

New Mankato trail map for all you hiking and and biking junkies

Anybody walking through the hallway near the Life Center at the YMCA might do well to check out the pamphlet bin on the wall. There's more to it these days than the usual road race entry forms and health group musings.

An updated map of all the biking and hiking trails in the Mankato area has been released, courtesy of the Greater Mankato Convention & Visitors Bureau.

On it you'll find some of the newer bike trails in the city, including the Minneopa Trail and the off-street bike paths on Rockford and Thompson Ravine roads, as well as a few on-street bike routes that have been developed in the last few years. This comes in addition to all the usual suspects of Mankato trails (Red Jacket, South Route, Sakatah, Rasmussen Woods) being listed.

Also included is a map of four suggested bike loops in the area, ranging from a Sakatah Singing Hills loop out to the Madison to a Red Jacket loop down to Garden City. Each loop includes a description of the route and has points of interest listed for cyclists to stop at along the way.

For me, the suggested loop part of the map is the real treat. Anybody with a bike and an hour to kill can go do a down-and-back ride on the Red Jacket Trail. But listing a Red Jacket route that goes all the way to Lake Crystal gives cyclists day-trip ideas complete with places to eat (Rapidan Dam Store) and sights to see (Rapidan Dam, Minneopa and Minnemishinoma Falls) along the way.

Not only is it great exercise, but it's a great way to explore the community as well. Heck, I might have to use a few of my days off this summer to bike out the routes. They all seem pretty feasible and I'm sure my readers wouldn't mind hearing about them.

Aside from the YMCA, maps are also available at all in-city hotels, the city's intergovernmental center, Flying Penguin Outdoor Sports, and outside the office of the Greater Mankato Convention and Visitors Bureau at the Civic Center.

The map can also be viewed online here.

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