Jul 19, 2009

Dakota Trail Ride

The Three River's Park District's new Dakota Regional Trail is very nice. I rode it this afternoon with a co-worker and his family after getting curious about it from a group ride I was invited to but unable to ride. We found the trailhead near Shaver Park after some searching just west of downtown Wayzata (Wayzata is a real trip, by the way; it's the like "The Truman Show" in real life).

There is not much parking for the trail, and at this point the trailhead is not well marked. There is a city beach and a small marina associated with Shaver park, but the vast majority of the parking spaces are permit-only for the locals. There are a few parking spaces for trail users, but it's really very few. We ended up parking in an office building parking lot near the trail head along with about 25 others.

The trail itself is very nice; many views of Lake Minnetonka, including one bridge (the Arcola bridge) that offers a good view of Big Island. Yes, the weather was perfect today, but I was amazed at the number of people using this trail. My wife told me that she read that this part of the metro was very low on bike/walk trails, and after seeing the traffic today, I believe there was unmet demand in this area.

The trail is only 13.5 miles long, but it's a good 13.5. Near the end of the trail is Big Stone Mini-Golf and Sculpture Garden. This is worth the ride alone - fantastic sculptures; very creative and well done. I was particularly impressed with the size and cost of the materials. Tons of granite and stainless steel went into these pieces. We didn't golf, but walking around the sculptures was enough of a treat.

The Luce Line trail comes through Wayzata just north of Shaver park, so it would be easy to ride the Luce Line from MPLS out to the Dakota and then pick up the Dakota that way if you are not a drive-to-the-ride type person.

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