Great trails! This is a cross country ski resort, but in the summer it is changed into a mountain biker's paradise. Great singletrack through rocky, muddy, rooty, and very technical terrain. There are many possible trails to take here. Many of them are around lakes-- so it may be a bit muddy. It's also a very nice resort to stay the for the weekend.(rich hippie resort!)
Summary: I'm surprised there haven't been any reviews for this place in the last 7 years. They had their annual race here last weekend and the trail conditions right now are pretty much perfect. I was out here in the spring and there were still some wet, muddy, leaf-covered sections and the Twin Lakes single track part of the trail wasn't open yet, so it was nice to make it out here again with the trail in great shape. I followed the signs indicating the advanced part of the trail, and there are definitely sections where they mean it. Tight, twisty, short and steep descents and climbs with plenty of rocks and enough roots to have me thinking of that crappy Sepultura album. Obviously, there aren't any 1000 ft climbs, but for Minnesota there's a good amount of up and down. The newer Twin Lakes singletrack was especially fun, with some very fast sections. There are a couple short descents right by the lake that turn back up the hillside and if you're not careful, you, your bike and whatever kind of electronic gadgetry you're carrying could end up in the lake and you'll feel pretty dumb. Several places on the trail will test your handling skills and your pedal timing. Came up to a spot toward the end of the ride where there's a sign that says "Stairs." Stairs? Yep. Rad. The folks out here have obviously put quite a bit of work into these trails. They should be proud.
Only saw one other rider and she looked like she had just finished up, so it was nice and quiet.
Aerobic difficulty is relative to the rider, weather and whatnot. It was pretty humid and I had to stop to catch my breath a couple times. Technical is a relative term too. There are spots that will offer a challenge to even experienced riders, but it's not exactly an "extreme" course.
Recommended Route: Follow the signs. Nothing too complicated, but I'm still not sure if there's an official trailhead or what. Starts out in mowed grass before you get to the cool part. There's also a little dirt jump area that I've heard they're talking about expanding.
I recommend getting out there in the morning. It can get real humid and gross if it heats up in the afternoon.
Other recommended trails in the same area: I'm not aware of anything that holds a candle to this place in the immediate area.
Summary: We rode this past weekend at premium fall colors time. Temps were in the low 70s and clear blue skies - absolutely perfect! The racecourse for Laddie's Loppet was still fairly well marked from 2 weeks prior, but there were several missteps when the caution tape was down, or arrows were missing. It would be pretty easy to get "lost", but luckily all XC ski trails are signed with directions back to the lodge.
More singletrack has been added, so I would say that about 70% or more of the nearly 6 miles of racecourse was singletrack. As previous reviewers said, most of this is very tight and twisty, over many roots and rocks. I think the trail is laid out pretty well, in a counter-clockwise direction, but I feel that despite the very fun short drops, all of the trail sections that drop quickly to the lake are not the best in terms of sustainable design. They lie along direct fall lines so any water ends up rutting them, as do skidding rear tires. The only way to ride them without skidding is if you have a lot of experience with this trail type or are very familiar with this particular trail. I’d like to see these section rerouted to keep the working for years to come.
Otherwise, this is an aerobic challenge, as there are not many spots that the trail levels off or gives the rider a break. By combining some more XC trail, one could easily create a lower-intensity but longer ride. I tried taking my boys (then 9 and 15) on this last summer and they had to bail after less than a mile – just too technically demanding. I have tried it on a hardtail (preferred), a suspended singlespeed (very very hard), and this last time on a dually. The incessant rocks and roots really make a dually the best choice, but speeds cannot be generated enough to really require it.
The trail runs along a few lake edges (singletrack) and takes advantage of the contours for the ups & downs, and the XC trails run through the low hills away from the lakes. Max vertical is in the neighborhood of 50’, but anyone who knows MN or WI woods riding will realize this is more than enough if used properly. Fall colors are spectacular, with many hardwoods mixed with pines for a blast of color. Summer is sticky and buggy – bring the repellant. I would like to ride this in late fall maybe after the first snow – I bet it’s amazing. If you stop, make sure you call ahead and let them know you are coming, as the resort is used nearly all year round and the owners/trailbuilders not only built the trail systems but maintain it and live there. Its currently free and they deserve thanks.
Recommended Route: Go to the Maplelag website for directions to the resort and also check the trails page for the XC ski map and bike course map.
Summary: Maplelag is a great place to check out if you live near Fargo/DL. It's a difficult course the first time you go through it.
Even though you have to go slow at times, maintaining momentum is a must due to some of the steep hills at near the lake.
Recommended Route: Follow the cross country ski trails and look for a small singletrack. I think there are two singletrack courses there.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Dunton Locks
Review Date June 12, 2003
Overall Rating 4 of 5
Ridden Trail: Every few months
Reviewed by: Craig
, from Eastern Dakota
Summary: I rode this trail in early summer of 2003. When I arrived at the ski resort, there was a low pressure system circulating around the Red River Valley, and as I wished it wouldn't, it started to drizzle. I rode for a couple of hours and by the time I headed out the rain was a steady downpour. This trail is technical to say the very least. Rocky, rooty, twisty, & steep in several sections, but still a great piece of singletrack. I think there are about three or four pieces singletrack which wind through the woods and these section are connected by cross-country ski trails. This trail requires riders attention at all times. There are several areas where tight trees, and rocks are begging you to make the wrong move. I found it challenging to get a steady rhythmn on the trail, which was increasingly challenging due to the rain. In order to allow the trail users to experience the nearby lakeshore, the trail takes several abrupt drops down to the lake. While these drops are fun to ride, they are very steep and nearly impossible to ride in reverse. On several of these descents I could feel my Marzocchi compressing down as I leaned to the back of my bike & my rear tire barely skimmed the soil. In addition to the plentiful rocks and steep descents, there are plenty of roots to hop over. I especially like the diagnol roots on the wet slippery climbs. Overall the trail doesn't seem very intimidating, but if you can ride this trail end to end without clipping out of you bike, that's impressive. If you are around the Alexandria, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls area, or if you live in Fargo or Grand Forks, Maplelag is certainly worth checking out. The owners of the resort are very responsive to the potential of more bikers, and it sounds like the area will continue to see trail improvements as the years roll by.
Recommended Route: Park near of the primary lodges and then head to the south towards the trailhead of the cross-country ski trails. Near this trail head you will see a small sign which calls out the beginning of the singletrack. If you have problems finding the singletrack, try to find Dave who will be more than happy to point you in the right direction. If you have further question or concerns give their website a buzz at www.maplelag.com