A Perfect Long Weekend Itinerary for Cuyuna Minnesota
Cuyuna is an absolute Minnesota gem and still largely under the radar which makes it the perfect time to visit. The town has a rich mining history and was resettled in the early 1900’s after surveyor Cuyler Adams found iron ores with the help of his dog Una (hence Cuyuna).
About 10 years ago, world class mountain biking routes were established on the old mining tracks. Natural springs fed old mining pits and today they’ve become gorgeous turquoise, crystal clear lakes perfect for recreation.
At just 2 hours from Minneapolis, Cuyuna is ideal for a long weekend getaway. From mountain biking to hiking to paddleboarding and swimming the gorgeous lakes, there are activities for everyone. The neighboring town of Crosby has restaurants, shops, a brewery and a cocktail lounge, making it a great destination.
Check out the complete 2-night itinerary below and then book your trip before the secret gets out! If you need more convincing, check out the top 5 reasons to visit Cuyuna here!
Day One: Twin Cities to Cuyuna
Start your 2-hour drive to Cuyuna. En route, consider checking out a berry farm to break up the drive and gather a delicious snack to enjoy all weekend long. JQ Fruit Farms & Orchard is a great farm and had plenty of blueberries when we visited mid-July.
Once arriving to neighboring Crosby where the Main Street of the region is located, grab a delicious Chai Latte or Coffee from Mixed Company and a sandwich.
Head to Red Raven to pick up inflatable paddleboard rentals. The rates are very reasonable and the owners are friendly and provide great service. The shop has only been open for about 3 years but they are seasoned pros when it comes to renting out gear!
Drive ~5 minutes to Miner’s Mountain Rally Center. You’ll need to pay $7 to park your vehicle inside the recreation area. We saw some bikers park just outside to avoid paying but 1) the walk would be too long with paddleboards and 2) its nice to support the maintenance of the beautiful park.
If you only have time to paddleboard one lake, I’d recommend Huntington Mine Lake. It’s stunning and we enjoyed paddling amongst loons and underneath eagles! The water is crystal clear so you can also snorkel and swim.
If you have additional time, you can paddle around the nearby Pennington Mine Lake. Also beautiful plus it’s connected to additional lakes by passing underneath a bridge!
After a relaxing afternoon paddling and swimming, check into your accommodation. I cannot recommend the new boutique cabins of Cuyuna Cove enough. The five cabins are beautiful, modern and Scandinavian influenced. They come complete with kitchens, luxurious bathrooms with high quality soaps, A/C and private patios with grills. The double beds are comfortable with soft sheets and beautiful Pendleton covers. The cabins are also right on the mountain bike trail system so you can literally ride in/out from your cabin and then store your bikes in the secured bike storage for your cabin overnight. We were able to walk to the town in 10 minutes from the cabin which was convenient.
Note: while we received a discounted stay as I’m covering our trip on Social Media/Blog, these are my honest opinions.
After settling in and rinsing off, head into town for dinner and drinks. Iron Range comes highly recommended (we were unable to enjoy as it was closed during our stay but it looks delicious!). Post-dinner, grab drinks at either Cuyuna Brewing or the new boutique cocktail lounge Hardwater Lounge.
Back at the cabin, make a fire and smores and enjoy relaxing on your private patio.
Day Two: Mountain Biking + Exploring town
After making coffee with the delicious organic beans and French press provided and enjoying a quiet morning, walk back to Red Raven to pick up your mountain bike rentals (if you don’t have bikes). We had forgotten our breakfast items at home so rather than making breakfast at the cabin, we happily enjoyed smoothies and breakfast sandwiches from Red Raven (which also has a café!). They were delicious and a healthy start to an active day!
From here, bike back to the Rally Center (this time, since you aren’t parking, you won’t need to pay). Since we are novices, we opted for the green Galloping Goose trail. However, Red Raven has great maps and can help you customize a bike tour for your skills and interests. If you too are riding Galloping Goose, I’d recommend starting with the beginner’s skills course just north of the rally center before proceeding on the one-way route in a clockwise direction (the skills area is marked on the map here). We didn’t see the skills course until the end but it would have built up our confidence earlier on!
If you don’t stop for pictures, the route will take you 1-2 hours. We opted for about 5-6 stops along the way so it took us 2.5 hours.
At this point, you can either tackle more trails or enjoy a swim in Huntingon Mine Lake to cool off. Then, bike back to Red Raven to drop the bikes off and grab some well-deserved lunch! We enjoyed lunch from North Country Café which is popular with the locals. After lunch, stop at specialty dairy shop Victual for ice cream. Every flavor we sampled was delicious – the most unique was their Honey Lavender Sunflower Seed! They also have amazing provisions to make charcuterie.
From here, head back to your cabin to shower and perhaps make dinner on your patio’s grill tonight.
After dinner, head back to the Miner Rally Center and hike up to Miner’s Point for sunset. It’s a gorgeous outlook of lakes around Cuyuna and while it faces more Southeast than West, you can enjoy lookout spots in the Western direction on your way up the hill.
After sunset, head back into town and enjoy a drink at either Cuyuna Brewing or Hardwater Café to toast to two great days in Cuyuna!