Howdy Friends and Registered 2019 Tour De Pines Riders,

We are getting ready for Saturday, August 17.  And we are so pleased you have signed up to ride with us!  Weather for Saturday in Itasca State Park should be near 80 degrees with sunshine.  You can’t beat that!

Pre-registration remains open until August 14th.  Here are a few early “fun facts:”

  • Route Sign-Ups:  20% / Short Route, 50% Mid-Routes 50/60/70, 30% Century Ride
  • Rider Age Range: 5-81 years
  • Average Rider Age: 49 years
  • Zip Codes Served: 75 so far
  • States: MN, ND, WI, OH, WY, MO…really cool!

Riders News: 2019 Tour De Pines / Itasca State Park

Here is our update for Ride-Day Saturday…designed to give you answers to most anything you may need to know.  Please read it carefully.

Welcome to our 11th annual Tour De Pines Bike Ride!  We offer great routes in an iconic Minnesota State Park, helpful volunteer support, and commonly good weather.  Whether this is your first or 11th year, you will find we are a very friendly event and feel honored by your participation.

Our rest stops will be stocked, water jugs filled, and volunteers ready to make this your favorite summer day in 2019.

The Morning of the Ride

Itasca State Park is 23 miles north of Park Rapids on Hwy 71. The bike ride starts and ends at the Mississippi Headwaters Hostel, located in the heart of Itasca State Park, across from the public boat landing on Lake Itasca.

Map us @ 27910 Forest Ln, Park Rapids, MN 56470

State Park Permit: If you have an annual MN state park permit, you are good to enter the park. If not, a daily car permit is required.  The $5 fee supports our great DNR state parks.  Don’t worry if they are closed when you enter the Park; we will have daily permits AVAILABLE for purchase at Ride Registration.

Rider Check-in & Day-of Registration (7:00–9:30 am) will take place on the Main Park Drive on the lawn across from the Lake Itasca Public Landing at the entrance to the hostel driveway. Our tent and tables will be clearly visible from the Main Park Drive. All riders must check in to pick up your wristband and route maps and a t-shirt (if you purchased one in advance).  If you changed your mind, and want to buy a t-shirt, we may have a few extras.  You can also pump up your tires and receive any last minute mechanical help, fill your water bottles, meet other riders and enjoy a breakfast of fruit, breads, and coffee.

Parking: Just past our registration area is the Park Maintenance Garage where the DNR asks you to park for the day.  It will be signed and staffed with volunteers to direct you if you drive to registration.  You are welcome to bike if you are lodging or camping nearby.

Thanks for Riding the
2019 Tour de Pines

HI Mississippi Headwaters Hostel

Stay With Us

Headquarters for the Tour de Pines is the HI Mississippi Headwaters Hostel.  Located in Itasca State Park, just a short distance from the headwaters of the Mississippi River, HI Mississippi Headwaters hostel is a beautifully restored log building. Constructed in 1923 as the park headquarters, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Itasca State Park recently rated one of the nation’s top 50 state parks by National Geographic, features some of Minnesota’s last remaining virgin pine forest.

Enjoy outdoor recreation year-round on over 30 miles of hiking and cross-country ski trails and 17 miles of paved bike trails right from the hostel’s doorstep. Bike and boat rentals and a swimming beach are across the road. The park offers summer naturalist programs and displays on Native American culture and early explorers.


Ride Day Schedule

  • 7:00am–9:30am: Ride Registration and Routes open – All riders register and begin riding their chosen route anytime between these hours. Bike Routes are officially open and supported.
  • 5:00 pm: We ask all riders to finish their routes by 5:00 pm.
  • Noon–5:00 pm: A Taco buffet will be served at the Mississippi Headwaters Hostel, just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Registration site (30-yards through the woods). Come anytime between these hours for a delicious meal–included with your registration. Also, please take advantage of the opportunity to tour the hostel with Sara, the hostel manager!

Route Options

We have a wonderful 15/25-mile route in & around Itasca State Park for those looking for a shorter option.  We offer 50, 60 & 70 – mile routes for those seeking longer options. None of the routes are exceptionally hilly, but they roll enough to get you familiar with various gears. Every route has its challenge and there is NO shame in walking up a hill.  All of the routes follow quiet, beautiful roads, however cyclists will be sharing the road with automobiles. Please pay attention.  Wind can be a challenge in the open areas of the longer routes.

ALL roads are paved.  No gravel on ANY of our routes…Unless we run into surprise construction (not expected).

  • The 15/25, 60 & 70, and Century Ride options include Itasca Parks Wilderness Drive (Sweet Road). The decision whether to ride 60 or 70 is made at the 30 mile mark (the Emmaville Store rest stop).
  • The 50-mile option heads South directly from the start and skips the Wilderness Drive.
  • In Lake George there is a great convenience store. Stop if needed. Here the 100 Route keeps going East while the other routes head South.

Rest Stops

The 15/25-mile route has rest stops at 8 and 12 miles.  Close together but they both offer bathrooms and the usual beverages and snacks.

50-mile riders have stops at 3, 22 & 33 miles.  The first one is the Visitor Center stop in the Park.  All offer snack food, fruit, water, and Gatorade.

60-mile riders have stops at 8, 12, 30 & 41 miles.  Nice stops and even nicer volunteers to greet you 🙂

70-mile rider stops are at 8,12, 30 & 53 miles.  The route maps will make it all clear. Be sure to take a break and visit with other riders at these locations.

100-mile riders stops are at 8, 12, 34, 56 & 78 miles. In LaPorte riders take the Paul Bunyan Trail—34 miles. Enjoy Akeley and Emmaville stops after that.

Century Rider Certificate:  A little something extra – go to and print out a Certificate of Completion for your 100-mile ride.

Route Signage

The Tour de Pines is not a bike race – it’s a bike tour. You can ride at your own pace. Itasca State Park is full of wonderful, scenic opportunities – that’s why we’re biking here!  Make sure to pause at the beautiful Headwaters. The maps include options for short hikes within the park. Check out the Visitor Centers. Please take your time and enjoy your ride. Or note the things you would like to see and return in the afternoon once you have finished your bike ride.

Along your chosen route, follow the bright yellow Minnesota Ironman Bike Ride signs. We recycled these signs from our former April ride. Refer to your route maps for mileage, more directions and other information. Ask the volunteers at the rest stops if you have any questions about the routes. If you are lost or need help, call the hostel – which is the ride hotline: (218) 266-3415. NOTE: cell coverage is spotty – especially within the park.

Sag Vans / Medics / Mechanics

Several support vans will be watching the routes.  Fast riders will see them less as we work to support slower riders most often.  We will make our presence clear by waving or slowing down to greet you along the road.  We have first aid kits in all vans and an ER medic on staff.  No mechanics are on the routes.  A great one is back in Itasca State Park.  Sam runs Itasca Sports and rents 100+ bikes.  He can fix anything.  If needed, we will try to bring you to him.  Bike pumps will be in ALL vans and at ALL rest stops. See Sam at registration if needed.

Welcome riders.  If you have friends or family that wish to ride, please invite them along.  We welcome Ride Day Registration.  Price goes up by only $10.

Thank You for Riding with Us!

We are honored you are sharing your precious summer weekend with us by riding the Tour De Pines. Your registration supports the Mississippi Headwaters Hostel. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, dedicated to promoting travel and cultural exchange.  Consider staying with us at other times in the year or visiting other hostels – there are 34 in the USA and over 4,000 worldwide. Ask Sara, hostel manager, about our rates for groups and families.  We have plenty of open dates in all seasons in this spectacular Park.  Thank you for supporting our organization.

Other ride details @  We look forward to welcoming you on Saturday, August 17th!

Warm Regards,

Tour De Pines Staff

Jon Ridge – Volunteer Ride Director, Former HI USA Regional Director

Sara Parthun – Hostel Manager and Assistant Ride Director


+ 20 Terrific HI USA volunteers

PS…Dress for being Up North 🙂 Our favorite saying, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”

Hostelling International USA: Inspiring a genuine understanding of people, places and cultures for a more tolerant world.


Enjoy the rest stop at the Emmaville Store.  Bicycle service available at Itasca Sports.

Emmaville Store
Emmaville Inn
Itasca Sports
Itasca Sports

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