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Located just three miles from downtown Minneapolis, Theodore Wirth Park is the most urban mountain bike trail system in the metro area.
In fact, finding such an incredible greenspace and recreation area so close to the heart of one of the USA's top cities is quite unique.
Very few major metros boast the quantity and quality of legal mountain bike trails as close to the city as Minneapolis does.
Since Theodore Wirth ("Theo" for short) is located in an urban park, the singletrack is divided into several disparate sections that need to be linked together to create a reasonably-long ride.
Thankfully, two different paved bike paths provide links between the different singletrack trails. The route shown here attempts to connect the various Theodore Wirth trails into a logical route.
This combination adds up to a respectable 13.3 miles—not too shabby for, again, being so deep in the heart of a metropolis.
However, due to the urban nature, this route will require quite a bit of navigation and map-checking along the way.
If you prefer, you can simply focus on one single section of trail instead of linking them all together. Arguably the best trails in the network are found in Area 36, which also features a large trailhead parking area, trailhead building with cafe, bike repair stand, and more.
At Area 36, you can not only pedal a flowy intermediate loop on swoopy cross country singletrack, but you can also drill and practice on a series of small jump lines that descend from the top of the hill. The most technical trails are located to the west of Area 36, but they're actually marked as "Theo North" on most maps.
These trails are slower, twistier, and rockier than the others, providing an entertaining dash of technical cross country riding. The trails that *actually* lie to the north are known as "Conundrum" and "45 North." Here you'll find more flowy, swoopy singletrack trying to eek out as much mileage as possible from the small Minneapolis ridges. If you still haven't had enough yet, head south along the bike path to reach the Southwest Loop for more intermediate-friendly cross-country pedaling.
This is the southernmost point marked on this map...
but if you're looking for some bonus miles, you can keep heading even further south.
Just a bit further south, you can find a small network of trails next to Brownie Lake, but these are no longer considered Theodore Wirth proper. Minneapolis offers surprising singletrack riches that are just begging to be explored.
But don't just stop at Theodore Wirth—be sure to head further out from the city center to explore the many metro parks dotting the region!