Things To Do in Crosby, MN

Welcome To Beautiful Crosby, MN!

We’re so excited to share with you what this quant, little town and surrounding area has to offer. It’s truly an outdoor enthusiasts’ paradise, built up and brought together by a thriving community that loves to Mountain Bike.

Most people know about Brainerd, but haven’t quite gotten to know Crosby, MN…yet. Whether we want it to or not, word is slowly getting out about Crosby and we’ve recently been featured in National News. Outside Magazine and Cosmopolitan have raved about the area, calling it “The Most Luxurious Staycation Destinations in MN” and “America’s Best New MBT (Mountain Bike) Trails!”.

From the hundreds of lakes to canoe, kayak, paddle board, swim, to the famous Cuyuna Mountain Bike/hiking trails to winter snowshoeing and cross country skiing, this place truly has it all.

Screen Shot 2019-02-23 at 2.22.01 PM
Photo by Cuyuna.com

Brief History of Crosby, MN

Crosby was built in the early 1900s as a mining town, named after George H. Crosby. Crosby was a bigwig in the industry of mining, and he wanted to increase his fortune and further spread the trade of mining itself, and the town of Crosby was born.

However, on February 5, 1924, disaster struck. A series of unfortunate events resulted in the biggest tragedy Crosby had ever, and has ever since, seen. The Milford Mine, a manganese mine shaft, was a profitable and successful mining area that had been in use since 1917.

But on this day, the culmination of use, weathering, and nature resulted in the water from the nearby Foley Lake, a full two miles north of the town, flooding the mine while almost 50 miners were deep in the trenches. 41 were killed and only seven were able to make it to safety. The mine eventually closed due to the decline of steel in 1932, but it was never the same after the disaster, anyway.

But the city’s interesting gossip doesn’t end there. In 1932, the same year the mine closed, the local citizens of Crosby elected Karl Emil Nygard to be president of their Village Council. This was a huge national event, since Nygard was now the first Communist mayor in the entire country.

Crosby also has made a name for itself in space exploration. In 1957, Dr. David G. Simons proved that people could survive high in the sky when, as part of Project Manhigh, he flew to almost 102,000 feet from the Portsmouth Mine Pit Lake in Crosby. This launched the future of space exploration as we know it currently.

Today, Crosby and the city of Ironton combine to create an area famous for crystal clear lakes, IMBA certified mountain bike trails, and iron ranges as found on the Minnesota iron range map.

To Watch an Amazing Video about the birth of Mountain Biking in Crosby, CLICK HERE

Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 1.20.15 PM

But First, Where to Eat in Crosby, MN?

Red Raven:

This is a biker’s paradise and a local’s favorite. Red Raven has a beautiful aesthetic inside and a lovely patio for the spring, summer and fall. Enjoy a coffee, espresso, tea, wine or beer for a beverage after your energy is exhausted out on the trails. They also serve great sandwiches and salads. Red Raven is a great meeting spot, bike rental shop (see more info below) and overall place to relax and unwind.

(218) 833-2788

2 3rd Ave SW, Crosby, MN 56441

Photo Below: Inside of Red Raven

Screen Shot 2019-02-23 at 1.05.12 PM

Croft Pub and Grub

Located just off main street, this local spot serves up just what you need for a filling meal. Burgers, fried pickles, nachos, giant pretzels. Bar food, pool and darts to keep you busy with Happy Hour every day from 4pm-6pm and again at 10:30pm-11:30pm. Also, stop in to try their new game called A-Hole. We have yet to try it.. Let us know what you think! 🙂

(218) 546-6575

7 1st Ave NW, Crosby, MN

Iron Range Eatery:

Located on Mainstreet, you can walk from our home to Iron Range. It’s packed on Friday and Saturday evenings so get in and get your spot! Their menu is eclectic and offers items ranging from beer, burgers, specialty cocktails, homemade pizza to delicious poutine, tacos and even an upscale style hotdish. Amazing outdoor patio in the Spring, Summer and Fall! You can call to make a reservation.   (218) 545-5444    6 Main Street Crosby, MN

Mixed Company- A Kava House

Located on Main Street, you could easily stroll by and miss this cute little local spot! It has great coffee, cozy atmosphere and delicious homemade desserts! Definitely worth stopping in!

(218) 545-1010

128 W Main St, Crosby, MN

North Country Cafe

If you wake up craving breakfast, this is your place! Recently remodeled, it is a locals and visitors favorite. Only open from 5am-3pm, so get up and get in to beat the rush on weekends. Serving all your favorite traditional American breakfast choices in large quantities and a fair price.

(218) 545-9908

12 W Main St, Crosby, MN

Cuyuna Brewing Company

We’re so lucky to have an epic brewery right here in tiny Crosby, MN! Cuyuna Brewery brews up and serves some of the most unique and delicious beers, ciders and kombucha in the area. Bring your crew, your family, your dog…all are welcome. Games are fully stocked here for you and there is even a foosball table! Located directly across from Iron Range Eatery.

(218) 866-0914

1 E Main St, Crosby, MN

A biker’s favorite pitstop! Cuyuna Brewing Company is hopping all year long!

Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 1.22.35 PM.png

Grocery Store In Crosby, MN

Super One Foods:

Great local grocery store. You should be able to find everything you need here.

(218) 546-6020

101 E Main St, Crosby, MN

Liquor Store In Crosby, MN

Barstock Liquors:

Great liquor store across the street from the Grocery Store

(218) 545-3004

31 E Main St, Crosby, MN

Crosby Bar:

Crosby Bar is yes, a bar. But it also has a liquor store attached to it. Across the street from Red Raven on the West side of Main street.

(218) 546-5465

212 W Main St, Crosby, MN

Screen Shot 2019-02-23 at 12.06.02 PM.png

MTB Rentals and Bike Repair Shops in Crosby, MN

Stop in at Red Raven (see address above) to get help with any parts or repairs you need, or if you only need to fill your tires with air, there is an Air Station next to Iron Range Eatery downtown off Main street. It also serves as a dog area and farmer’s market in the summer.

Red Raven: Bike Rentals, Snowshoe Rentals and repair shop/coffee shop.

Cycle Path and Paddle: Bike Rentals, ski rentals, kayaks, stand up paddle boards (SUP). Located across from the Holiday Gas Station near Red Raven.

(218) 545-4545

115 3rd Ave SW, Crosby, MN

Mountain Biking Routes in Cuyuna & Outdoor Maps

If you want in-person help with routes, stop into one of the bike rental shops, Red Raven or Cycle Path and Paddle. They are incredibly helpful and have large, descriptive maps pinned up for beginners who are new to the area. They can easily guide you on what route to take and where to go to get to the start of the trail head.

For more trail information, the best place to go is https://www.cuyuna.com/

Once you are at the website, click on the ‘Adventure Tab’ for details on specific routes.

Also, there is a great ‘Virtual Tour’ option and you can experience EVERY trail to which route you want to take! It’s really cool! 

Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 1.39.16 PM.png

Gym/Pool/Sauna In Crosby, MN

If you are here on a rainy day or just want to use the sauna and pool, head on over and buy a day pass to The Hallett Community Center. It’s a great place to go after biking if you need a shower or just relax in the sauna. If you have the kids along there is a water slide with a kid pool next to a lap pool. All of the gym equipment is brand new as of 2018! Bright, clean and welcoming. We work out here and love it! (218) 546-2616

470 8th St NE, Crosby, MN

Day Pass: $10/adult; $30 family of 5 ($5 per additional person); youth 4–17, $5 (must be accompanied by adult); under 3 years, free.

Shower only: $3/time; towel rental: $1/time.

Summer hours: May 1–Sept. 30. Mon–Fri: 5a–8p; Sat: 7a–4p. Closed Sunday.

Winter hours: Oct. 1–April 30. Mon–Fri: 5a–9p; Sat: 7a–7p. Sunday 11a–7p.

Beaches & Playgrounds In Crosby, MN

Crosby Memorial Park Beach and Playground:

The park is an experience in itself. It features a playground, beach, skateboard park, baseball field, basketball court, pavilion, band shell (Music in the Park is held Thursday evenings in the summer), and boat access.

The park’s “Cook Shack” can be rented for gatherings and has both indoor and outdoor amenities—including stove, microwave, and refrigerator. (For Cook Shack reservations, visit: crosbymn.govoffice3.com

Also, the park is home to Kanabec, a giant, colorful, serpent statue that was installed lakeside in June 1977 and stands 20 feet tall and weighs 2,500 pounds.

Farmer’s Market In Crosby, MN

The park is a comfortable venue for the farmers market and features a massive mural highlighting mountain biking, kayaking, and mining. It also has a large pergola, tables, and benches, as well as a bike repair station and bike parking. Approximately 8–10 vendors bring a variety of farm-fresh foods and locally crafted items. Check out the local wildflowers—they are Cuyuna through and through.

Held on Saturdays, June–October, from 9a-noon. Learn More: facebook.com/cuyunarangefarmersmarket/

Screen Shot 2019-02-23 at 1.57.05 PM
Photo by Cuyuna.com

History of Cuyuna/Crosby Minnesota

When most people think of Minnesota, they picture…well, cold.  Frigid winters, hot dishes, snowmobiling and a funny accent are commonly associated with this lesser-known state. But there are tiny little cities in Minnesota, like Crosby and Ironton, that are full of culture, stunning scenery, nationally ranked outdoor activities and a diverse history that may easily be overlooked.

Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 1.20.05 PM

Crosby/Ironton, MN

Crosby, Minnesota, located in Crow Wing County, has a tragic backstory behind it, leading to a “rising from the ashes” type of bittersweet success. Crosby was built in the early 1900s as a mining town, named after George H. Crosby. Crosby was a bigwig in the industry of mining, and he wanted to increase his fortune and further spread the trade of mining itself, and the town of Crosby was born.
However, on February 5, 1924, disaster struck. A series of unfortunate events resulted in the biggest tragedy Crosby had ever, and has ever since, seen. The Milford Mine, a manganese mine shaft, was a profitable and successful mining area that had been in use since 1917.
But on this day, the culmination of use, weathering, and nature resulted in the water from the nearby Foley Lake, a full two miles north of the town, flooding the mine while almost 50 miners were deep in the trenches. 41 were killed and only seven were able to make it to safety. The mine eventually closed due to the decline of steel in 1932, but it was never the same after the disaster, anyway.
But the city’s interesting gossip doesn’t end there. In 1932, the same year the mine closed, the local citizens of Crosby elected Karl Emil Nygard to be president of their Village Council. This was a huge national event, since Nygard was now the first Communist mayor in the entire country.
Crosby also has made a name for itself in space exploration. In 1957, Dr. David G. Simons proved that people could survive high in the sky when, as part of Project Manhigh, he flew to almost 102,000 feet from the Portsmouth Mine Pit Lake in Crosby. This launched the future of space exploration as we know it currently.
Today, Crosby and the city of Ironton combine to create an area famous for crystal clear lakes, IMBA certified mountain bike trails, and iron ranges as found on the Minnesota iron range map.

Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 1.21.11 PM

Deerwood, MN

Also part of Crow Wing County, Deerwood, Minnesota is situated deep in the heart of the Cuyuna Range, surrounded by lakes and forests. This quaint village has a rural charm and a small population of 532 residents, but the recreational opportunities bring people from all over the country to the area.
Deerwood’s history is not quite as dramatic as that of Crosby/Ironton, but it paints a picture of the real story behind Manifest Destiny and Westward Expansion of the United States.
Deerwood, aptly named for the abundance of whitetail deer in the area, was founded in 1881 when it changed from Withington to its current name. To entice settlers to the village, the government used the Railroad Act Bill of 1857 and the Homestead Act of 1862 to give new settlers 160 acres of land if they agreed to live on it and farm it for five years.
With this incentive, the area grew, and then the Northern Pacific Railroad came through, making it even more popular. Eventually, enough settlers were living in the area that the Cuyuna Range was established. Businesses were encouraged and families flourished.
The mining boom was initiated by Cuyler Adams of Deerwood, cementing the seeds that would make Deerwood a city instead of a village, and in 1909 Deerwood was now considered an organized city.
While Deerwood still holds its old-world atmosphere and small village charm, it now provides hundreds of businesses that fill the needs of its citizens and the ever-growing number of tourists that come to the area.
With all of the trails and water surrounding the city, it has become a popular destination for those looking for water recreation sports like canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and trout fishing. The trails make it one of the most famous in the country for winter sports recreation in the form of snowmobiling, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing, and it’s a top destination for serious mountain bikers and hikers.

Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 1.20.15 PM

Cuyuna, MN

The Cuyana Range in Crow Wing County also includes one of the newest cities in its cluster, Cuyuna, Minnesota. Established back when one-room schoolhouses were the norm and most parents participated in the PTA, Cuyuna was originally full of nothing but wide dirt streets and a basic well and sewer system.
In 1908, a small school was built and in 1909 The First State Bank of Cuyuna was established. From there, the village began to grow. People who were attracted to the area because of George Crosby’s investment in mining flocked to Cuyuna and chose the village as near enough to Crosby/Ironton.
By 1911, Cuyuna had made a name of its own with a hospital, a doctor, a barber shop, and even restaurants and hotels. A high school was built and a baseball team was organized.
When it was clear that Cuyuna could hold its own as a prosperous city, the Rogers, Brown Mining Company began building houses to attract stable, married, family men. Electricity was eventually added.
Between the reasonable housing, free entertainment, and other benefits, Cuyuna became the place to live if you were a family man looking to take care of your wife and children.
Now, Cuyuna has a place on the map for those looking in the Cuyuna country state recreation area. The Cuyuna trail map is used by mountain bikers and hikers and the Cuyuna Lakes State Trail is a famous Minnesota tourist attraction.
The Cuyuna Iron Range is mostly in Crow Wing County, part of a 68-mile long line stretching from the city of Brainerd to Aitken, Minnesota.

Explore the Real Minnesota

If you are looking for places to explore in MN, the Cuyuna Range, encompassing Crosby/Ironton, Deerwood, and Cuyuna, is a must-see for your travel plans. This area is recommended by those who enjoy Minnesota winter tourism, is considered a Minnesota state tourist attraction, and is firmly situated as a recommendation in the Minnesota tourism office.

When you are ready to visit Minnesota, the Cuyuna lakes mountain bike trails, Crosby historical society, Cuyuna Country State Park, and other historical and natural landmarks are the real Minnesota tourist attractions.

Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 1.22.35 PM

Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 1.25.05 PM