Paul Bunyan State Forest - TRAIL

Paul Bunyan State Forest - Trail, Akeley/Park Rapids/Bemidji, Minnesota

Hundreds of trails, loops, and options abound. Trail conditions range from loam, to packed dirt, to sandy soil (or pure sand), small rocky sections, rutted motorcycle (enduro riders) singletracks, overgrown doubletrack, fire roads, and deer trails. There are also many miles of power line trail that parallel Hwy. 64. The trails are continuosly re-discovered, opened and maintained by the motorcyclists, so if you see 'em, flag them down and THANK THEM FOR THEIR WORK!!!! Often the newest and best trail loops are marked by colored tape, as these are the enduro courses that the moto clubs are building and using as race courses. The elevation gain can be as much as 100 feet (it doesn't sound like much, but the entire topography is extremely rolling- not much flat stuff here). Lots of wildlife; eagles, some bear, moose, deer, owls, bats, ducks up the wazoo, and all the other forest critters. There is also a lot of continual loggin on the area, so respect the sites and equipment, and WATCH OUT FOR SPEEDING LOCALS on the blind fire roads. I'm not kidding -they FLY,and a mountain bike is no match for a logging truck or 4x4. I have ridden Colorado, Utah, and Wisconsin trails, and I have to say this is the most fun riding by far without going a thousnad miles away. HAve FUN!!!

User Reviews (12)

Showing 1-10 of 12  
SpyderPride   Cross Country Rider [Jul 27, 2009]

Definitely some of the best singletrack in the area. Pretty much anywhere you see "OHM Only" on the map that you can download from the MN DNR website is going to be mostly singletrack.

The terrain is fairly varied; you will run into plenty semi-packed dirt that is laced with roots, rocks, the occasional log, and mud (mostly after rain and during the spring). There are even some sand and gravel sections, but that is usually on the wider parts that at least used to be logging roads. The OHM trails are intended for motorized dirtbikes, so you will come across a significant amount of rutting in some spots. Its still all mostly ridable, depending on your skill. Some sections are pretty hilly and others can be flat for a long time. There are some tight and twisty sections but a lot of the corners are fairly wide, due to the speed and turning radius of the intended vehicle.

I recommend bringing a printout of the map I was talking about earlier, then picking loops to ride. You will come across new stuff that isn't on the map, so feel free to explore. Another thing that you absolutely need is going to be INSECT REPELLENT during the warmer months. The flies are numerous and vicious. Cover yourself from head to toe in the stuff... they will still harass you but shouldn't bite (at least until you sweat if off).

Customer Service

Like I was saying, bring a map, pick a loop that is mostly OHM, and try it out. A lot of people seem to be recommending the trail down the road from the Martineau access but I haven't tried that one yet. It is still there, since I rode by it once recently.

Similar Products Used: You aren't going to find much in the Bemidji area for singletrack, and a lot of the decent hiking trails in the area are closed to bikes (a great example of this is Lake Bemidji State Park, but I "don't ride them" ;) ). Theres a few ski trails around you can try, but they are pretty much just an aerobic workout and not a lot of the true singletrack experience. But I guess they say "some dirt is better than no dirt", so I can't complain too much.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
lnkstrs   Cross Country Rider [Jun 10, 2009]

Parking area west of hwy 64 in about the middle of the park

Customer Service

bike southwest out of the parking area and look for a trail 200 yrds on your right...kick -ss!

OVERALL
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4
VALUE
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3
whitt_travis   Cross Country Rider [Mar 20, 2005]

Terrain, terrain, terrain. I'm from Bemidji so it's only a short drive away. It's hilly and tight in some sections, but definately has potential. Dirtbikes however tend to keep most of the hill climbs loose, so don't expect to roll over everything. You'll have to clip out and walk a few just because of the uprooting. Alot of new logging, we probably got 5 miles into the enduro trail that starts at the trailhead, and we hit a huge logging strip that must have ran for miles. With no trail in sight. So we said f-it and went back to the trailhead to ride some other routes. But it was definately still worth the trip. BRING A MAP AND A COMPASS, the trailhead doesn't always have stuff, this place is easy to get lost in... Make sure to know your orientation from the road, because you can always find the powerlines if you get lost. There's always logging and trailwork going, bring some tubes and bug dope, because you'll probably need them. Sometimes it's wet because of the heavy vegitation, but it's not really a big issue in trail concern because the enduro doods tear it up pretty well. Looks like there's some new trails going in this year after my late season ride their last fall. If you're coming up from the south, make sure to stop in at Park Rapids, at Northern Cycle, those doods know their stuff. Bunch a great guys. I wouldn't make a specific trip for it, but if you're in the area biking, this is the place.

Customer Service

Start at the trailhead, and bike down the logging road (it's pretty sandy), You'll see a singletrack trail off to the right, it's usually labeled (One of the only labeled trails really, ha!) That's the one we took before we hit the logging strip, but it was a hella good ride. Edgy at first, but it plays out into some smooth, rolling singletrack.

Similar Products Used: Bemidji State Park has some stuff, Chippewa National Forest... It's all decent for riding. Kinda gotta make your own paths due to the low mtn. biking interest up here. Find a section that's rideable and don't be a sissy. If you're in the area and need a guide or just someone to ride with. Message me.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
laackund   Cross Country Rider [Oct 03, 2004]

i checked it out this weekend for the first time... just awesome!! the trails are endless. you do have to watch out for the random dirt bike or atv on the gravel roads, but how much time do you actually spend on them. lot of single track, with alot of rocks, stumps, and logs that add to the challenge. there are some great climbs and technical riding to go along with everything.

Customer Service

anything.... there are a couple trails about 6 miles north of akeley. just about gravel road off of 64 leads to a trail. definetly going back, i just hit the tip of the iceburg!

Similar Products Used: ?
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
dani   [Jul 26, 1999]

I rode this once a couple of summers ago and have been wanting to come back. This place has tremendous potential! The terrain is indeed very rolling and contains everything e.g. rocky & rooty singletrack, two tracks, fire roads, sand, roller coaster dirt bike trail, and more!

I attempted to follow the trail described in Cindy Bjold's/Cindy Storm's "Minnesota/Wisconsin Mountain Biking" book (excellent resource BTW). However, I lost the trail about halfway through and ended up riding for 2 hours all over hell. I eventually found the power line trail as mentioned above and then Hwy. 64 to get back to my starting point. I enjoyed every minute of it, although I did encounter some downed trees and some overgrown sections. I wanted to come back the next day packing a tree saw so I could clean up this most excellent singletrack!

This area is frequented by dirt bike/enduro riders apparently. If you search on the web you will find that there is a local enduro club that does a lot of work on these trails. Also, there is a Enduro riding circuit event that takes place here every year. The club's website has an interesting map of the course that should be checked out. Nice job on the map with this trail description BTW! Note that it appears that there is just as much trail on the east side of Hwy. 64 to be ridden as well. :D

I'm rating it only 4 stars since it is a little lacking in trail marking, and the one thing this trail does not have is a lot of cool climbing/descending.

Customer Service

I only touched the tip of the iceberg on my ride. There are tons of trails! Unfortunately, I can't adequetely describe a recommended route as I actually got completely lost riding here (a good thing though!).

Similar Products Used: - Pillsbury State Forest (Southwest of Gull Lake near Brainerd.)
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Randy Lieberg   [Jan 12, 2000]

see above

Customer Service

UPDATE!!!
The trailhead indicated in the text and on the hand drawn map is called the Martineau Trailhead, and there are many miles of marked trails within the Paul Bunyan/ Chippewa Forest areas in a cluster called the Martineau Recreation Trails. There is a large map and a self-serve box of leaflets (also with a map)at the nice graded parking area. The maps are available by contacting the number listed on them as follows:

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Kevin Axt   [Aug 09, 2000]

I throughly enjoyed the trails that I rode in the Paul Bunyan forest. Like the description says, there is little "flat" trail to ride even though the overall elevation gain is only a couple hundred feet at most.

The trails thread their way through the green tunnel of the forest. Mostly motocross created trails mean that they're not at tight as a trail created for mountain bikes but they're a blast to ride. Ruts, Rocks, Roots, Hardpack and some Sand make for real good mountain bike trails. Trails are not highly technical but they'll keep you on your toes. Good quality riding.

I would recommend some arm protection since the vegetation can overgrow the trails if they haven't been ridden lately. The deer flies are also pretty tenacious.

Even with the map, you will probably get "lost" and have to do some exploring before you make it back to your vehicle. Carring a compass or learning to tell your direction from the sun is highly recommended. You'd have to work pretty hard to stay lost though.

If I get the chance again, I'll definately be like Arnie and say, "I'll be back".

Customer Service

Grab a map and have fun exploring!

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Alden   [Dec 14, 2000]

Holly Crap! I coulda died out there. The forest is used by many atv's and motocross bikes making the trails very bupmy. Large hills (for Minnesota) and tight messy singletrack make for a good workout. Be sure to hit the downhills at over 25 if you want a thrill.

Customer Service

Any. Just make sure you have a map and compass. This is a very large state forest.

Similar Products Used: The Heartland Trail is a paved trail near this area and is good for commuting to the state forest or for a cool-down ride.
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
Alden   [Dec 14, 2000]

I musta misselected the rating. I meant to give it a five.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Pat Lemieux   [Jul 03, 2002]

This trail system rocks I love it. The trail is all singletrack lots of climbing and really rocky. I would totally recommend going there if you get the chance. This trail is definately for experts only.

Customer Service

I dont have a clue my dad drives me there.

Similar Products Used: Smokey Hills
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 12  

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