Cycle the Glacial Lakes State Trail
To see central Minnesota’s lake country and charming small towns, bike the Glacial Lakes State Trail, which extends northeast of Willmar to the Kandiyohi County line, passing through Spicer, New London and Hawick. The trail’s 22 miles of asphalt paving run along a flat, former railroad bed. Any town along the route can serve as a starting or ending point, or a place to rest, explore or dine.
Heading northeast from Willmar, cyclists ride through farm fields, woods and native prairie. The land sculpted by glaciers (hence the trail name) is dotted with several lakes formed by melted ice, and cyclists on the trail cross a number of them on trestle bridges. While the trail is artificially flat, the surroundings feature picturesque hills and valleys.
In Spicer, cyclists should consider a stop at Green Lake’s Saulsbury Beach or Glacial Ridge Winery, which offers tours, tastings and music. Near New London, cyclists can follow a trail spur to Sibley State Park to enjoy the beach, hike to Mount Tom’s historic tower for 360-degree views, and stay overnight at a camper cabin or campground. If your trip starts or ends in Willmar, check out the town’s shops, museums and lakes.
Plan a bike trip during the Studio Hop in mid-June, when you can explore artists’ studios and wares in Willmar, Spicer and New London. Also in New London, catch the Music Fest in August and Little Crow Ski Show on Friday nights all summer long.