Trail: Sakatah Singing Hills Trail in Minnesota
Start: Faribault Trailhead at Hwy 21.
Route: Ride west just past Elysian and back.
Distance 52 miles round trip.
Weather: Mostly Sunny. Temp: 60-85 degrees.
Low Elev 990, Hi Elev 1115. Feet Ascended: 730
Trail Material: Asphalt.
Rating: Thumbs Down.
Had planned on getting a motel in Minneapolis but after being assigned a room with black mold covering the wall behind the toilet, a room with no internal lock on the door, no shower nozzle, no towels, and an air conditioner that was blowing out heat making the room too hot to sleep in, and other motels were booked solid, I drove south to Faribault to get a motel. My fault for not getting a reservation on a Friday Night. The good news was there was a bike trail starting in Faribault.
I liked the Sakatah trail between Faribault and Watertown because of the smooth asphalt and varying scenery. Marshes, woodlands, dense canopy, open canopy, farmlands, and lakes.
The reason for the thumbs down rating is the trail west of Waterville gets very bumpy. When I say bumpy, the bumps (frequent cracks in the asphalt) were rough enough that it was hurting my butt making the ride so miserable that I cut the ride short and turned around. A trail has to be pretty rough to make me turn around. No way I wanted to ride a bumpy trail any further knowing I had to turn around and ride over the same bumps again on the return trip. One area of the trail was so bumpy that a "Caution" sign was posted. Someone later said the Sakatah Trail was the first paved bike trail in Minnesota and it was scheduled to be repaved next year.
The other bad thing about this trail causing the thumbs down rating was all the bridge crossings. The wood used to build the bridges was treated with some chemical that smelled so bad that it was nauseating to spend any time near the bridges due to the noxious fumes.
Highlights of this trip: The overhead canopy gets dense in places which is nice on a hot sunny day. Unfortunately, the minute I stopped to take photos or to take break the mosquitos were out for blood. Seeing the lakes was nice but I would not ride this trail again unless it gets repaved.