Paul Bunyan State Trail
For up-to-date trail information, pick up a map brochure at parking lots in most towns along the trail. Website:dnr.state.mn.us/state_trails/paul_bunyan. For an interactive map of all state trails, go to strib.mn/1LSRuZS.
Where to eat/drink
When you’re biking 200 miles, all you need is a steady supply of fluids, calories and carbs. Fortunately, you’re rarely more than 5 or 10 miles from a bar and grill, dive bar or gas station.
Udom’s Thai: Authentic Thai in Hackensack? It’s true. Their secret? Owners/spouses Udom and Paul Mitchell (a Thai native and a Minnesotan, respectively) winter in Thailand and then return for the high season. Lay off the spice, though — you’re biking (1-218-675-5513;sites.google.com/site/udomsthai).
Brigid’s Pub: Irish-pub fare from scratch in downtown Bemidji makes for a perfect lunch spot for ravenous riders (1-218-444-0567; brigidsirishpub.com).
Big Axe Brewing Co.: The taproom is a nice addition to Nisswa’s busy tourist strip. Several styles of beer, with a barbecue dinner menu on weekends (1-218-961-2337; bigaxebrewing.com).
Where to stay
Camping: Campsites (from $21-$23) and camper cabins (from $55) are available at Crow Wing and Lake Bemidji state parks (mndnr.gov/reservations). Also, there are two “primitive,” first-come-first-served sites off Mile 42 near Pine River. You brought bug spray, right?
Chase on the Lake: This classic Walker hotel on Leech Lake looks like it might have been a getaway for 1920s timber barons. A dining room and patio overlook Leech Lake. But three particular traits are cherished by bike tourers: soft beds, a big complimentary breakfast and the hot tub (from $119 online; 1-888-242-7306; chaseonthelake.com).