The trail is mostly a double track out and back ride, unimproved road. Some semi technical rockey sections. mud holes abound, but is usually possible to avoid them. The trail winds though the white water river valley for about 6 mi. Trail crosses the river many many times, so you WILL get wet. Sounds kind of lame on paper, but I think it's one of the best rides in SE MN. You actually GO somewhere. It's not 'hey, we've got 20 acres, lets pack as much single track into as we can, thet'll be fun' When you get to the farm, you've reached the end, time to do it all over again.
Also, if enough people ride this, we might get some best line defacto single track out of it.
Elba is in Hi. 74 which begins in St. Charlse (Hi 14) and ends in Weaver.From Elba, go east at the 4 way stop located between the 2 bars. Stay on this road, it turns to gravel. After what appeared to be severl miles, you will cross a bridge (whitewater river) there is parking there, but up the raod about 1/4 mi. there is parking for the trail head.
Summary: This trail has been ruined by ATV's which continue to ride on this trail illegaly. The whole trail is two parallel ruts 18 inches apart and 6-8 inches deep. It is next to impossible to ride and completely impossible to enjoy. I could see riding in to do some fishing at the trail crossings but that's it. Do yourself a favor and drive just a few more miles to Holzinger's Lodge or the Bronk Unit plowline trail which just added several more miles of single track below the actual plowline double track trail.
Recommended Route: skip this trail
Other recommended trails in the same area: Holzingers Lodge in Winona MN. Plowline trail in Stockton MN. ps The Plowline trail is also groomed for cross country skiing in the winter.
Review Date May 20, 2002
Overall Rating 2 of 5
Ridden Trail: Ridden Once
Reviewed by: Jeff
Summary: This was an interesting trail to ride. Reminiscent of the old days of mountain biking when all we had were Jeep trails and hiking trails (that weren't illegal to ride on yet). Anyway, lots of mud; portion of the trail is still open to motorized vehicles. Deep ruts make it interesting; some bermed corners, plenty of river crossings, and great scenery. Bring your fly rod. This corridor has potential for a true single track route that could parallel the two-track but further up on the hillside.
Recommended Route: Start at the angler parking lot a few miles WEST of ELBA. Out and back ride. Turn between the two bars in Elba. Bo and Luke ALERT: Watch out for the rusted-out appliances along the road and roving packs of dogs.
Review Date September 25, 2001
Overall Rating 4 of 5
Ridden Trail: Every few months
Reviewed by: Jeff Ludwig
, from St. Charles, MN
Summary: Known to locals as "Fairwater," this trail used to be an old Jeepin' trail until they closed it to motorized vehicles. (I know because I rode along with my dad as a kid.) The trail's got a nice feel to it, and even on a hot day you can stay cool in the forrest and wash off in the six river crossings. Take bug spray, because the horse flies like the smell of the river water and the mud. Like other people have said, hit this one in the early spring or in the fall--either way you avoid the burning needles. Really, though, the needles are not that big of an issue. I grew up on this trail, and I've been to some of the most technical, most difficult, and fun trails across the U.S., and to be honest, this one is one of my favorites. No downhill, but just a plain, old-fashioned, fun ride. And, there's nothing like getting muddy from head to toe to make you feel like you worked hard biking.
Recommended Route: Unlike other people, I suggest going the other direction on the trail. Instead of going to Elba, go through St. Charles on HWY 14 going East toward Rochester. When you get to Dover, take a right on HWY 10 going North. Follow 10 just before you get to Carley State Park. There's a minimum maintenance road to your right before the park. Here you'll find a trail head that turn into a nice, single track and technical downhill to "the bottoms," where the trail actually forks when coming from the other direction. If you bring two vehicles, you can drop one off at the other trail head and ride back to the other car at the top of the hill. I highly suggest it--it's a great ride down to the bottoms.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Try Snake Creek near Plainview (about 15 minutes away), or "Schwankee's" near Utica (you'll have to ask locals about this one--I suggest stopping in at Jimmy G's for a drink, if you ask anyone. Just make sure to buy the owner a drink, and tell him "Lud" sent you.)
Review Date May 3, 2000
Overall Rating 4 of 5
Ridden Trail: Every few months
Reviewed by: Paulo
, from Madison, WI
Summary: The trail is best in the spring, when the mud is everywhere and the stinging nettles haven't grown in yet. You will need every one of the 14 river crossings to rinse out your mud-jammed components. I have been able to ride most of the crossings in the past, but sometimes the river gets too high. Near the end of the trail, there is a fork. I recommend both paths. Neither are very long, and they both have a nice climb and then drop. Overall, the trail is flat, but there are plenty of nice chutes, drops, dips, and holes for excitement. The trail gets ATV use, and we always do our best to lip off to the back-country locals who rip up the trail with their four-wheelers. It's also a good idea to wear blaze orange in any season ( and DON'T lip off to the hunters or you might find yourself squeelin' like a pig )
Recommended Route: Go through Whitewater State park from St. Charles and into the town of Elba. Take a left at Johnny's Saloon and head out of town on the dirt road. About 7 miles and two bridges later, there will be a parking area on the left. Bike through the cornfield, and you'll find the trail.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Winona - Holzinger & Cherry Hill