Hundreds of trails, loops, and options abound. Trail conditions range from loam, to packed dirt, to sandy soil (or pure sand), small rocky sections, rutted motorcycle (enduro riders) singletracks, overgrown doubletrack, fire roads, and deer trails. There are also many miles of power line trail that parallel Hwy. 64. The trails are continuosly re-discovered, opened and maintained by the motorcyclists, so if you see 'em, flag them down and THANK THEM FOR THEIR WORK!!!! Often the newest and best trail loops are marked by colored tape, as these are the enduro courses that the moto clubs are building and using as race courses.
The elevation gain can be as much as 100 feet (it doesn't sound like much, but the entire topography is extremely rolling- not much flat stuff here).
Lots of wildlife; eagles, some bear, moose, deer, owls, bats, ducks up the wazoo, and all the other forest critters. There is also a lot of continual loggin on the area, so respect the sites and equipment, and WATCH OUT FOR SPEEDING LOCALS on the blind fire roads. I'm not kidding -they FLY,and a mountain bike is no match for a logging truck or 4x4.
I have ridden Colorado, Utah, and Wisconsin trails, and I have to say this is the most fun riding by far without going a thousnad miles away. HAve FUN!!!
Highway 64 runs north/south, bisecting the forest. Any dirt road or forest road branching east or west from 64 will have trails branching from it. Beware private property towards the northern & southern ends of the forest. Please respect their privacy!! The main forest roads are Spurs 1 & 2, Steamboat, Gulch Trail, Thorpe Tower Road, Blue Trail Fire Road.
Take Hwy. 71 south, which turns into Hwy. 200 east. Turn south on Hwy. 64.
From Park Rapids:
Take Hwy. 34 east, through Nevis and Akeley, turn north on 64, and it's about 6-7 miles or so until you hit good trails.
Go east to Detroit Lakes. In DL, take Hwy. 34 east until Park Rapids, then follow the above directions.
see map link below
Summary: Definitely some of the best singletrack in the area. Pretty much anywhere you see "OHM Only" on the map that you can download from the MN DNR website is going to be mostly singletrack.
The terrain is fairly varied; you will run into plenty semi-packed dirt that is laced with roots, rocks, the occasional log, and mud (mostly after rain and during the spring). There are even some sand and gravel sections, but that is usually on the wider parts that at least used to be logging roads. The OHM trails are intended for motorized dirtbikes, so you will come across a significant amount of rutting in some spots. Its still all mostly ridable, depending on your skill. Some sections are pretty hilly and others can be flat for a long time. There are some tight and twisty sections but a lot of the corners are fairly wide, due to the speed and turning radius of the intended vehicle.
I recommend bringing a printout of the map I was talking about earlier, then picking loops to ride. You will come across new stuff that isn't on the map, so feel free to explore. Another thing that you absolutely need is going to be INSECT REPELLENT during the warmer months. The flies are numerous and vicious. Cover yourself from head to toe in the stuff... they will still harass you but shouldn't bite (at least until you sweat if off).
Recommended Route: Like I was saying, bring a map, pick a loop that is mostly OHM, and try it out. A lot of people seem to be recommending the trail down the road from the Martineau access but I haven't tried that one yet. It is still there, since I rode by it once recently.
Other recommended trails in the same area: You aren't going to find much in the Bemidji area for singletrack, and a lot of the decent hiking trails in the area are closed to bikes (a great example of this is Lake Bemidji State Park, but I "don't ride them" ;) ). Theres a few ski trails around you can try, but they are pretty much just an aerobic workout and not a lot of the true singletrack experience. But I guess they say "some dirt is better than no dirt", so I can't complain too much.
Summary: Terrain, terrain, terrain. I'm from Bemidji so it's only a short drive away. It's hilly and tight in some sections, but definately has potential.
Dirtbikes however tend to keep most of the hill climbs loose, so don't expect to roll over everything. You'll have to clip out and walk a few just because of the uprooting.
Alot of new logging, we probably got 5 miles into the enduro trail that starts at the trailhead, and we hit a huge logging strip that must have ran for miles. With no trail in sight. So we said f-it and went back to the trailhead to ride some other routes. But it was definately still worth the trip.
BRING A MAP AND A COMPASS, the trailhead doesn't always have stuff, this place is easy to get lost in... Make sure to know your orientation from the road, because you can always find the powerlines if you get lost. There's always logging and trailwork going, bring some tubes and bug dope, because you'll probably need them.
Sometimes it's wet because of the heavy vegitation, but it's not really a big issue in trail concern because the enduro doods tear it up pretty well. Looks like there's some new trails going in this year after my late season ride their last fall.
If you're coming up from the south, make sure to stop in at Park Rapids, at Northern Cycle, those doods know their stuff. Bunch a great guys.
I wouldn't make a specific trip for it, but if you're in the area biking, this is the place.
Recommended Route: Start at the trailhead, and bike down the logging road (it's pretty sandy), You'll see a singletrack trail off to the right, it's usually labeled (One of the only labeled trails really, ha!) That's the one we took before we hit the logging strip, but it was a hella good ride. Edgy at first, but it plays out into some smooth, rolling singletrack.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Bemidji State Park has some stuff, Chippewa National Forest... It's all decent for riding. Kinda gotta make your own paths due to the low mtn. biking interest up here. Find a section that's rideable and don't be a sissy. If you're in the area and need a guide or just someone to ride with. Message me.
Summary: i checked it out this weekend for the first time... just awesome!! the trails are endless. you do have to watch out for the random dirt bike or atv on the gravel roads, but how much time do you actually spend on them. lot of single track, with alot of rocks, stumps, and logs that add to the challenge. there are some great climbs and technical riding to go along with everything.
Recommended Route: anything.... there are a couple trails about 6 miles north of akeley. just about gravel road off of 64 leads to a trail. definetly going back, i just hit the tip of the iceburg!
Other recommended trails in the same area: ?
Review Date September 21, 2002
Overall Rating 4 of 5
Ridden Trail: Ridden Once
Visitors rate this review 5.00 of 5,
Reviewed by: eric heinen
, from saulk rapids mn usa