Mississippi River Trail
Riverside trails within the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area are a small part of a much larger system of bicycle routes that follow the Mississippi from Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi River Trail (MRT) stretches 3,000 miles through 10 states. Sometimes, the trail is on roads and streets, sometimes atop levees, and in other sections, the route is an off road trail for bicyclers and walkers only. Somewhere along the Mississippi, you can find a route to meet any purpose.
In Minnesota, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is leading the effort to identify and sign the trail from Lake Itasca to the southern border of the state. Maps on their website detail the MRT route through the Twin City Metropolitan area and the entire state. The DOT's Share The Road website is an excellent way to learn about safe bicycling and the dangers of the road.
The National Park Service has also published a guide to riverside trails within the park. This guide is designed to help users identify the locations of water fountains, restrooms, parking lots and other points of interest along the route.
The Mississippi River Trail is sponsored by MRT, Inc. This organization focuses on identifying and signing the route and encouraging use through all 10 states. They are also a major fundraiser for the development of new trails and partnerships.
Did You Know?
At the headwaters of the Mississippi, the average surface speed of the water is 1.2 miles per hour. People typically walk 3 miles per hour.