New to Road Scholar? Sign up
for our e-newsletter.
Activity note: Hotel check in from 3:00 p.m.
Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. Please remember to bring your name tag sent with this packet to the program. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet at the front desk when you check in. Orientation: Following registration, our Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Please return the Bicycle Information Form included in this packet for bicycle fitting. The bicycles available for use are Trek FX2 Hybrids. Please note that a mountain bike would not be a suitable option for this program. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Dinner: Weather permitting, we will enjoy an outdoor welcome dinner with our fellow Road Scholars by the Mississippi River, catered by a local restaurant. Coffee, tea, water included. Dinner will be indoors if weather is not accommodating.
Evening: We will get fitted for our bicycles for the week ahead.
Activity note: Biking 8 miles in city bicycle lanes with frequent stops, about 3 hours total. Getting on/off van, driving for about 4 hours with two rest stops.
Breakfast: At the hotel, we will choose from a wide buffet selection. Coffee, tea, water, juices available.
Morning: We will set out to explore Minneapolis’ unique history by bicycle, with sites including the Mississippi River, islands, and downtown. We will stop every few blocks in the city to see some of Minneapolis’ attractions, such as the Walker Art Center Sculpture Gardens, the “crown jewel” of the Minneapolis park system. Open since 1988, the garden is home to over 40 works of art.
Lunch: In downtown Minneapolis, we will enjoy a boxed lunch. Coffee, water, and sodas included.
Afternoon: We will travel to Itasca State Park in Park Rapids by van. There will be a long rest stop half way. Upon arrival, we will get acquainted with the park in a naturalist-led walk. We will then check into our next accommodations.
Dinner: We will enjoy a private, plated dinner in a historic lodge at Itasca State Park. Water, iced tea available; alcoholic beverages available at additional cost.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Biking 20 miles on the Wilderness Trail. The first 5 miles of this route are on bike trail, while the next 12 miles are on a one-way paved road with automobile traffic and rolling hills. Walking 0.5 miles, climbing 100 steps up and down a fire tower. Driving 5 miles in vans. Getting on/off paddleboat.
Breakfast: In a private dining area at the historic lodge, we will enjoy a plated breakfast, with 2 – 3 options to choose from and water, juice, tea, coffee included.
Morning: We will set out on bikes for the 20-mile Wilderness Trail State Park Paved and Scenic Wilderness Loop. Led by an expert, we will stop to see Minnesota’s tallest red and white oak trees, a 100-foot fire tower, and pass numerous lakes to look for native wildlife. We’ll then return to the lodge to freshen up, and then head to Lake Itasca for a paddleboat ride.
Lunch: Boxed lunches will be provided aboard the paddleboat on Lake Itasca.
Afternoon: We’ll see more of Lake Itasca's wilderness aboard the Chester Charles, a historic paddleboat, and learn about how Ozawindib and Schoolcraft discovered the headwaters of the Mississippi along this very route, as well as the Ojibwe people and logging history. A naturalist will also teach us about bald eagles and common loons. After the boat ride, we will return to our lodge.
Dinner: At a local restaurant, we will enjoy a private meal, with coffee, tea, water included.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Biking 37 miles from Itasca State Park to Bemiji. The first 5 miles are bicycle trail, followed by 32 miles on paved road with small shoulder and low traffic. This is a rolling country road with low to moderate hills, no major inclines.
Breakfast: We will enjoy an outdoor breakfast picnic offering yogurt, fruit, granola, bagels, cream cheese, and boiled eggs. Coffee, tea, water, juices included.
Morning: We will check out and leave Itasca State Park on 5 miles of bicycle trail, continuing onto the Great River Road through farmland and forest. We’ll enjoy a rest stop at Minnesota’s newest State Park, Lake LaSalle. Our ride will take us all the way to our next destination, Bemidji, known as the first city on the Mississippi, due to its location on the shores of the northernmost lake feeding the river, Lake Bemidji. We will end our ride at the feet of the famed Paul Bunyan statue, one of Bemidji’s main tourist attractions.
Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
Afternoon: After checking into our next accommodation, we’ll set out on an expert-led exploration of the Beltrami County Historical Depot and Museum. Exhibits feature photographs, Ojibwe history and artifacts, the changing landscape of Beltrami County, and the impact of the railroad that has shaped the area.
Dinner: At the Beltrami County Historical Depot and Museum, we will enjoy a private, catered buffet dinner with water and iced tea.
Evening: At leisure. Enjoy a swim in Lake Bemidji just outside the hotel!
Activity note: Getting on/off canoe. Canoeing 7 miles on calm downstream stretch of river. Elective 17-mile bike ride on flat, paved terrain with low automobile traffic in some stretches. Dress for 4 hours on the water, with layers, a large brimmed hat, shoes that attach and can get wet, and clothing that can get wet and dry quickly. Today is a good day to bring binoculars!
Breakfast: In the hotel lobby, we will enjoy a breakfast buffet including a variety of hot and cold dishes. Coffee, tea, water included.
Morning: After checkout, we will begin our day with a 7-mile canoe journey on the Mississippi River. There will be three people to a canoe, so boats are welcome to switch up paddling at lunch time. We’ll have the chance to see birds, fish, cranberries, blueberries, hazelnuts, and wild rice alongside a local naturalist.
Lunch: We’ll take a break from paddling to enjoy a boxed lunch on a sandy shore including water and sodas.
Afternoon: We will have the opportunity to participate in a 17-mile loop bike ride with our experts around the Lake Bemidji, enjoying the lake all the way around while seeing Bemidji State Park, resorts, Bemidji State University, and downtown Bemidji. Participants may also opt out for an afternoon at leisure. We will then check into our next hotel.
Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Van will be available for those that want rides, but downtown is about 6 blocks away.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Biking from Bemidji to Walker on the Paul Bunyan Trail; 32 miles on flat, paved terrain.
Breakfast: At our hotel’s breakfast buffet, we will choose from a wide selection of hot and cold dishes; coffee, tea, water included.
Morning: After checking out, we will bike from Bemidji to Walker via the peaceful and flat Paul Bunyan Trail. We’ll wind through small towns and enjoy the privacy of the Paul Bunyan Trail, which is for walkers and bikers only, stopping for a break in the small town of Guthrie.
Lunch: Upon arrival in Walker, we’ll enjoy a boxed lunch in Walker City Park.
Afternoon: After checking into our next hotel, we’ll get a taste of rural Minnesota and enjoy the town of Walker. Free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Sit on the beach, explore downtown, or rent a pontoon to see the lake or a boat to go fishing.
Dinner: We’ll enjoy dinner on our own with a dinner voucher to a local restaurant.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Driving in a van for about 1.5 hours throughout the day with stops. Walking about 0.5 miles on a flat, sandy trail. Elective 18-mile bike ride on out-and-back, paved, rolling bicycle trail.
Breakfast: At the pavilion at City Park two block away from our hotel, we will enjoy a wide selection from a buffet with views of the lake. Coffee, tea, water included.
Morning: We will check out and then travel by van for 40 minutes to Schoolcraft State Park with an expert. This is the site that served as the camp for geographer Henry Schoolcraft and his exploring team in 1832, as they set out to find the headwaters of the Mississippi River. We’ll enjoy a leisurely walk here. We will then visit the Forest History Center, a lumber camp from 1900. On this walking field trip, we can see a reenactment of a real lumber camp, complete with historical reenactors utilizing the camp’s bunks, blacksmith shop, dining hall, stable, and saw-sharpening buildings to bring history to life.
Lunch: At the Forest History Center, we will enjoy a boxed lunch.
Afternoon: After checking into our next hotel, we will have the opportunity to participate in an 18-mile bicycle ride along the Mesabi Trail, an out-and-back ride on paved, rolling bicycle trail built through Minnesota mining area. Participants may also opt out for an afternoon at leisure.
Dinner: At a local restaurant, we will enjoy a traditional Minnesota dining experience, choosing between 2 – 3 menu items, with water and iced tea included. Alcoholic beverages available at an additional cost.
Evening: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a slide show of pictures from the week.
Activity note: Hotel check-out by 9:00 a.m.; driving 3 hours to return to Minneapolis.
Breakfast: At the hotel, we will enjoy a breakfast picnic with a wide selection; coffee, tea, water included.
Morning: Our group will depart for the three-hour drive to Minneapolis, returning to our first hotel for departures. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!