ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

A wild ride: Detroit Mountain hiking, biking trails open today

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. - Of all the features that will be unveiled when Detroit Mountain Recreation Area opens its new hiking and biking trails today, Tony Schmitz is most excited about Big Bertha.

A banked wall sits on one of the mountain bike trails at Detroit Mountain on June 18, 2015, east of Detroit Lakes, Minn.Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service
A banked wall sits on one of the mountain bike trails at Detroit Mountain on June 18, 2015, east of Detroit Lakes, Minn.Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service
We are part of The Trust Project.

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. - Of all the features that will be unveiled when Detroit Mountain Recreation Area opens its new hiking and biking trails today, Tony Schmitz is most excited about Big Bertha.

That's the name of a giant berm, or steep sloping turn on a bike trail, that's constructed out of wood panels and is the biggest of its kind in the region. Just a photo of the structure garnered more likes than the recreation area has ever seen on its Facebook page.

"Nothing around here like that," said Schmitz, whose title is "trails boss."

Big Bertha is one of many features that will tempt mountain bikers to Detroit Mountain, just east of downtown Detroit Lakes, this summer. The downhill bike trails, which range from a quarter- to a half-mile long, are studded with mandatory drops, skinny ladder bridges, rock gardens and an over-under feature in which one trail goes above another on an 8-foot-high bridge on stilts.

There are four miles of undulating cross-country trails in a nearby wooded area, with built-in mini hills, for biking or hiking.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Depending on how you link those trails, you can stretch that into as many as seven miles of riding, just doing combinations of different ride loops," said General Manager Jeff Staley. "The cross-country flow trails are just so much fun, it's like a roller coaster effect."

A shop will have bikes available for rent-$35 to $45 a day for adult bikes, $15 to $25 a day for toddler and child bikes, plus cheaper rates for hourly, half-day or weekday rentals. You can also bring your own bike and pay $5 a day per biker, or $5 per car of hikers.

Schmitz estimated the trails, which have been under construction since last July, cost $500,000, including several that will open later this summer. Two of those are downhill bike trails; another is a switchback that visitors can hike up on weekdays or bike down on weekends when the ski lift is running.

Staley said the recreation area has a "very loose projection to have about 10,000 summer visitors" this year, but that's hard to estimate.

"We're a little bit unique in offering four-season recreation," he said. "Not many ski areas do that, and there's just not a lot of information out there as to total visits."

Schmitz, for one, has his eyes set on Detroit Mountain becoming an International Mountain Biking Association ride center, a status that comes in bronze, silver or gold. There are only 27 in the world. If Detroit Mountain acquires the 300 acres its board is already considering and finishes a corridor to the nearby county-owned Mountain View trails, he thinks it's possible.

"We had a great ski season, so, you know, that's our No. 1 thing, this is just to carry us throughout, but this could potentially be just as big if not bigger than ski once we're fully built out," Schmitz said. "We don't have a lot of mileage, we're vertically challenged, but what we did put in is a high-quality, fun-riding trail."

For more information

ADVERTISEMENT

Visit detroitmountain.com for information on pricing, hours and a grand opening July 11.

What to read next
In Minnesota, abortion is protected by the state’s constitution and is legal up to the point of viability, which is generally thought to begin at about 24 weeks, when the fetus can survive outside the womb. Those who work with Minnesotans who seek abortions say barriers, both legal and practical, forced some to travel to Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin even prior to the Supreme Court’s decision.
"Minding Our Elders" columnist says it's important to remember that we can't "fix" aging for our parents, but we can listen with empathy and validate their feelings.
“It’s clear that monkeypox has come to Minnesota,” said state Epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield. “While our current cases are associated with travel outside Minnesota, we expect we will soon see cases among people who have no travel history or contact with someone who did, indicating that spread within social networks in Minnesota is occurring.”
Your body adjusts to hot weather slowly. So when heat waves hit, you need to know how to hydrate and stay cool to avoid heat-related illness. This is especially true for babies and older adults. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams gets tips from an emergency medicine doctor about how to stay healthy in extreme heat.