Summary: FYI: Lutsen CLOSED to bicycles this year - no biking anymore. Maybe they'll open up again in the future but I'm not holding my breath. They really weren't very invested in trails or bicycling.
I'm really bummed because it was the only place I could get my downhill fix in Minnesota. Like others said; trail maintenance was minimal, the trails were rough - baby-head boulders mid-trail were not uncommon. Terrain ranged from wide, fast and swoopy, to rough, slippery and sometimes jagged slick-rock. Not much true single-track really.
It was perfect for me and my usual group of advanced riders, but Lutsen tried to cater to familys and people who's tires had barely ever left pavement. There were no warnings whatsoever about trail conditions or suggested skill level (the ski-run trail ratings don't really apply) I'm sure many got hurt or asked for their money back.
Every time I went I would see obvious novices sitting on their rental bikes in the parking lot trying to understand how to put their helmets on while I'm on a Rocky Mountain RM6 with a full-face. Accidents waiting to happen.
I always looked forward to my annual trip. Oh well...
Recommended Route: Go down to the Mystery lift, at the top go to the right, 2/3rds down quick left up the little bump, through the grassy area, then rail down the curve to the right (pray for no hikers). Across the bridge, up the hill, along the road to the parking lot, and do it again!
Summary: Lutsen advertises 30+ miles of trails (20+ now because moose is closed) but in reality theres about 10 miles of trail with 8-9 different options to how you access an leave the main trails. We took Trail #3 back which was the longest route we could find on the map. I have never been so disapointed in a "pay for use" trail. 3/8ths of the distance of the trail was FULLY covered with 4-8" diameter stones that made riding up impossible for even the most experienced of our group. after walking up the majority of the hill, we ended up on trail #20 or 22 which we ended up turning around and following a different route because the trail disapeared into overgrown grass. I exected the trails to be maintained and marked far better.
We purchased a three day pass, for a discounted $60 for each person and drove 5 hours to get to lutsen. We were so dis-satisfied with the quality of the trails we got a refund for the remaining two days of our pass. (which is something i guess they don't usually do. I understand that weather/rain/ errosion effects the trails, but at a pay for use facility the trails should be easily marked, and trail conditions should be available.
this mountain may be great for downhillers, or free riders. but that is not my game, i would asume that some DH freeks would love the #3 on the way down.
we ended up looking at a couple of the "easy" xc routes that looked to be in better shape. but on the map and they ended up being 2-3 miles total, they looked like nice trails but I have nice 2-3 mile trails at home and their free.
I think that lutsen has alot of potential to be a great mountain bike destination. it just seems they've half assed their bike trails and taken most of thier service roads and back ski trails and made them bike trails, for the money they charge to use the trail (wether you use the lifts or not) I expected a advanced single track trail network, it wasn't.
Recommended Route: skip lutsen
Other recommended trails in the same area: Skip lutsen, Go to the Tofte ranger station and talk to the old guy with the long beard about bike trails they've got maps galore. We went to white fish lake and took a 30 mile trek on some old logging roads in the middle of no-where. Great RIDE. I would also strongly recomond the bike trail to Carlton PEAK, off of the sawbill trail. the ride is only a couple of miles. at the you can hop off your bike at climb to the peak of the carlton peak, Absolutly gorgous.
Review Date December 3, 2003
Overall Rating 3 of 5
Aerobic Difficulty 2 of 5
Technical Difficulty 4 of 5
Ridden Trail: Every few months
Reviewed by: bmdrider
Cross Country Rider
Summary: I have been riding Lutsen for 8 years now. It is a long drive from Milwaukee, but well worth it. However, this past summer I was a little dissapointed as they only had one lift open. They also had the nerve to charge $30 for a lift ticket and an extra $12 to use the gondola. I have had full lift access to all the trails in Vail, CO. for only $16. Back in the day at Lutsen you moose, mystery, and bull lifts open all day for only $20. What happened?
I still enjoy the trails very much and will continue to travel there. This area is beautiful and asset to midwest mountain biking community. It is the closest thing to biking out west without all the travel time. Test you cross-country skills on trail #25 and your down-hill skills on #7 since Mystery is the only lift that's open now! You can ride over to the other mountains, but be prepared to climb back to the lift when you get to the bottom.
Recommended Route: All of them with full lift access.
Other recommended trails in the same area: you can ride all day, anywhere in the Superior National Forest.
Review Date August 29, 2003
Overall Rating 4 of 5
Aerobic Difficulty 3 of 5
Technical Difficulty 5 of 5
Ridden Trail: Every few months
Reviewed by: chefhearn
, from mpls
Summary: If yer up fer a white-knuckle hussle, this is fer you! Top speeds in the 40's, itz got it all, ROCKMENS, ROOTMENS, Riverskis, Ganjolas, and MTB Honeys!!!
This is a grab yer boyz, fill yer pack, bring a couple extra spares for Cambell, pick yerself up, dust yerself off, and hope you don't shatter yer SPINS, good time!! Don't forget yer party favors for when Lenny eats it.....finally. This is the BEST you got in MINNYsota.
Recommended Route: Ole 33's the grindermen
Lucky 7 is the Bombadere
Other recommended trails in the same area: Somw sweet hikes on the ole Babtismo if you aint to gimp!!!!
Review Date May 25, 2003
Overall Rating 4 of 5
Ridden Trail: Ridden Once
Reviewed by: Steve
, from Ramsey, MN
Summary: Took my 14 yr old son and had no problems with any of the trails. We are only in our 2nd year of biking, and tuned up on the Blast's trail in Elk River. ER is much more technical and overall more challenging, but Lutsen has many more trails to offer and the variety made for a great day. We felt the trail designations seem to be rated for skiiers, not bikers. This place has something for everyone, but quite a bit of rock and mud. Most of the trails were cleared of fallen trees, but most were maintained by 4 wheelers. Some of the most enjoyable, though not the most challenging, were the cross country ski trails that cut across the down hill ski runs. Very scenic, and not to technical, great for the end of the day when your energy is running low. New rates for 2003 are a bit high, $16 for unlimited trail access, $7 for unlimited chair lift rides and an additional $7.00 per ride for the gondola. A number of Mtbkr's united and complained about the cost of the gondola and the resort changed the policy to unlimited rides, for the $7 fee, by the time we stopped for lunch. Lifts only operate on the weekends early in the season, and no lifts were operating on Moose. We went Thursday and made our way to the top with little trouble, but the chair lift helps save your energy for the trip down and allowed us to save enough energy to enjoy the entire day. A ride on the chair provides a ride that is 80% down hill. Some of the intermediate (Blue) runs were the most challenging and technical. Lot's of mud and loose rock, but my son handled it well. Have a great time, but check the website or call to verfiy lift operations before driving all that way.