MN River Bottoms: after the July flooding, it’s different but still heaven

I last rode the MN River Bottoms back in mid-July, a week or so after the flooding (see my post here.) My photos then focused on huge amounts of silt that the flooding had deposited on the segment of the trail north of the Bloomington Ferry Bridge.  What a change since then.

hardened silt on mtb trail, MN River Bottoms hardened silt on mtb trail, MN River Bottoms hardened silt on mtb trail, MN River Bottoms

I rode the same segment twice this week and found it interesting that in those places where the silt muck had been piled deep on the trail, it had hardened into a fast smooth track.  No repairs necessary. Cool.

flood-damaged bridge, MN River Bottoms flood-damaged bridge, MN River Bottoms flood-damaged raft, MN River Bottoms

Of course, there was plenty of destruction from the flooding, including bridges north of 35W and the raft for crossing Nine-Mile Creek.

cottonwood tree bridge, 9-Mile Creek, MN River Bottoms cottonwood tree bridge, 9-Mile Creek, MN River Bottoms

Fortunately, a large cottonwood tree has recently fallen across the creek and someone has used some material from a washed out bridge to create a walkway on the trunk to make it easier to walk your bike across. It looks like a rideable skinny to me but if you didn’t make it, you’d pay a price by either landing in the water/deep muck or on one of the many large branches underneath.

Nate Nelson and Griff Wigley, 9-Mile Creek, MN River Bottoms wildflowers, MN River Bottoms Nate Nelson in downtown Northfield, June, 2012

Fellow Northfielder Nate Nelson, a counselor/instructor at the School of Environmental Studies (SES) in Apple Valley, joined me on an early morning ride from 35W to the Bloomington Ferry Bridge and back. It was heaven: just warm enough (70), low humidity, no wind, crystal clear skies, wildflowers everywhere, and quiet, as all air traffic was routed to the west of the airport.


  1. Clay said:

    The river bottom trails we’re going to be building in Mankato will make the Bloomington trail look lame.

    August 23, 2013
  2. Griff Wigley said:

    Good to hear, Clay. But yours will be mtb-only trails, right?

    These river bottom trails are shared-use, more adventure riding-oriented.

    Vive la différence!

    August 24, 2013
  3. Nathan Nelson said:

    I had a great ride with Griff at the Minnesota River Bottoms on Friday morning. The terrain changes every half mile or so. You’re riding on roots and sand then you are weaving through tall grass. There’s a lot to look at as you are riding. I love the huge cottowood trees and think it is cool that maybe a couple of hundred years ago an Indian fellow, perhaps of my age and similar disposition, was hiking in the same spot as looking at trees as the morning sun came through.

    August 25, 2013
  4. jc ingebrand said:

    Rode the trail from 169 to 35, and beyond, last Friday. Thanks to all =who made the tree bridge possible. A big thank you. As Nathon stated, the terrain change is great. Always an enjoyable ride.

    jc from new prague

    September 5, 2013
  5. Griff Wigley said:

    JC, how far east of 35W did you ride? And did you ride along the river’s edge or along the bluff? I rode the river’s edge segment between Cedar and 35 a month or so ago and it was tough sledding in many spots for a 29’er: deep sand and lots of itch weed.

    September 12, 2013
  6. Griff Wigley said:

    Nathan, when the leaves fall, let’s borrow some fat bikes and ride the river’s edge segment between 35 and Cedar. It’s a whole different treat!

    September 12, 2013
  7. jc ingebrand said:

    I didn’t go more than a couple of miles. The trail was steep in some places. I did end up at a place where the trail meets a residential and park area. Rested for a while and headed back West to 169.

    Last year I did ride from 35 East to the old Cedar Avenue bridge, and an old lady scolded me, because that part of the trail was for bird and buttery watcher people! Who know. I played dumb said I didn’t see the sign.

    September 13, 2013

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