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  1. #1
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    Where Should I Take A Midwest MTB Trip To?

    I am in need of some assistance in planning a 5-9 day trip later this summer. In years past I have always headed west for my trips i.e. Colorado and South Dakota’s Black Hills in search of fresh singletrack. I have came to realize that there are many great underappreciated Midwest singletrack trails much closer to home that would satisfy my needs. This year I am looking to stay within a 6 hour radius from central Iowa. I have ridden all major trails in Iowa and the trails around Madison, Wisconsin, Redwing, Minnesota and Perry Lake in Kansas. I thoroughly enjoyed all of these trails especially Perry Lake. I also know that every state has some great I will be with the GF so beginner friendly trails for her and advanced for me would be ideal. To make a trail system worth traveling to I believe it should be well thought out with good signage/difficulty ratings, maps and up to date on trail maintenance. I am looking to camp most nights to keep the costs down. My only requests in a campground are showers for after riding. Another bonus would be staying in close proximity to some good breweries/brew pubs.

    Thanks in advance for all input!

  2. #2
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    3 great options (though one is a stretch)

    1: Cuyuna, Located in Crosby MN, and part of the Cuyuna Country State Recreation area. Camping available literally trailside, though first-come/first-serve, so midweek is easier than showing up friday afternoon. quaint eating/drinking in Crosby/Ironton, and a bit of a drive to Brainerd.

    2: Levi-Trow, located in Neillsville, WI. Prior to Cuyuna opening, the pinnacle spot in the upper midwest. Camping in Russel County Park, a few miles away from the trails. I haven't spent days in the area, so I am less familiar with the amenities.

    3: Copper Harbor located in Copper Harbor, MI. This one would be a bit of a stretch for you, as it is located in upper, upper Michigan. Probably close to 10 hours drive time. Also relatively new, and just lovely trails according to the reports. Camping at Fort Wilkins state park, a mile north of Copper Harbor. I haven't ridden here yet, but it is likely my next trip.

    Happy Riding.

  3. #3
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    Camba stuff near Hayward

  4. #4
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    Cuyuna and Copper Harbor are the two coolest trail systems in the upper Midwest. Those are the two I would check out first.

    After those two, I would go to CAMBA which is also awesome and Levis which is cool.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by black_taco View Post
    I will be with the GF so beginner friendly trails for her and advanced for me would be ideal. !
    Cuyuna is perfect for this...it's a blast for any reasonably fit beginner and there's advanced stuff too.

    Copper Harbor is phenomenal (going there at the end of the month), but it's probably not quite as beginner-friendly, I would say.
    whatever...

  6. #6
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    Can't go wrong with Copper Harbor.

  7. #7
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    Add Marquette and tell everybody how much fun you had riding Your Mom and Your Sister among others.

  8. #8
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    I would not bother with Cuyuna, went there and the Hype didn't deliver - even riding with a Local who knew all the trails great.

    I would rate Levis Higher than Cuyuna.

    Copper Harbor is by far well worth the drive, pair that with Houghton Hancock trails, Sweedtown trails (Calumet, MI) and a 2 hour drive over to Marquette and you've got yourself some of the best riding in the Midwest.

  9. #9
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    +++ for CAMBA. Trails for every ability and lots of other stuff to do in the area. Brew pub in Hayward!

  10. #10
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    Cuyuna and Copper Harbor are the best in Midwest. They have very differant "personalities" though.

    Cuyuna is more of XC style trails. Very flowly trails that anyone from beginners to experts can enjoy. Its not "beginner" stuff, by any means, there are plenty of trails for intermediate and advanced riders.. But most of the time your tires will be on dirt. It does have very tough technical features, they are just on B-lines or on dedicated trails, not part of the main trails.

    Copper Harbor is more technical with more DH style downhills. They even have trails like the Flying Squirel that will put air between you and dirt. However, Copper Harbor is not forgiving and some may find its focus on tech features to be daunting.

    It depends on what you want. You want to recreate a Red Bull video, go with Copper Harbor. You want fast flowy trails that will put a smile on your face, go with Cuyuna.
    Last edited by snowboy76; 07-16-2012 at 04:57 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by blum585 View Post
    I would not bother with Cuyuna, went there and the Hype didn't deliver - even riding with a Local who knew all the trails great.

    I would rate Levis Higher than Cuyuna.
    I know I like both Cuyuna and Levis. Both are great trail systems, but I do like Cuyuna better myself. Everyone is different and likes something different. If you haven't ridden Cuyuna, you need to check it out and decide for yourself. It has been very popular since it opened up. Cuyuna and Levis are similar distances from the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area and the rider numbers at Cuyuna are much higher than at Levis, so I am not alone in liking Cuyuna better than Levis. We are all lucky to have a great choices like Levis and Cuyuna. We all like something different and I'm glad not all systems are the same.

    Also, keep in mind the Cuyuna was given an IMBA Ride Center designation. These are not given out that often. There are only a few in the US. Also, Hans Rey, who has ridden all over the world rode at Cuyuna and loved the trails. Cuyuna is a world class trail system and anyone planning on riding in the Midwest should consider checking it out. Will it be a favorite for every rider, probably not, but the vast majority are giving it rave reviews.

    Cuyuna is also great because it will only improve over time. There are currently 25 miles of trails, but the goal is 50-60 miles someday with different trail styles being built in the future. Also, there are two projects that have almost found all their funding and are soon to be built. A new skills park and pump track. Cuyuna is off to a great start and will continue to grow and develop more and different riding experiences. Keep an eye on Cuyuna over the next 5-10 years. Great things are coming!

    I would encourage every rider to check both Levis and Cuyuna out for yourself and make your own decision. They are both cool places!

  12. #12
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    Copper Harbor. There is nothing else like it in the Midwest.

    They have a paid team of trail builders, and it caters to just about every skill level.
    You can choose to ride the trails "up" then "down", or they have a reasonably
    priced shuttle service that will take you to the top of the trails, and you just
    ride downhill all day. They have gravity trails(some new) that cater to those
    who like to get big air(bring your full face helmet and shin guards.)

    One of the newer trails is called The Flow, and it's almost non-stop, fast paced
    fun from top to bottom. The berms are amazing. Because it's all downhill(if
    you choose) you can spend the whole day there without realizing how
    tired and beat up you are.

  13. #13
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    Copper Harbor

    Bite the bullet and make the drive to Copper Harbor. Lake Superior is a great setting, the temps are perfect, no bugs this time of year, and the trails are special.

  14. #14
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    No one ever believes me, but there's some amazing riding in Kansas City, MO. Check out Swope Park. It's well worth two or three days, but couldn't fill up a whole week.

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