Sibley State Park Side Trip

Sibley State Park Side Trip

Cyclists who want to bike more than the 12 miles of the Glacial Lakes Trail can add about 16 more miles by heading for Sibley State Park northwest of New London.

Most of the additional miles are along bike lanes of rural roads, but a two-mile long paved trail in the park adds another twist to the ride.

Here’s a route that takes you from one end of the park to the other, but can be shortened according to your desires.

At New London, on Hwy. 31, turn left (west) and ride .9 miles up a hill and past a cemetery to Main St. Turn right (north) and go .6 miles to Hwy. 148. Turn left (west) and bike up and down the hills, through farmland, 3.1 miles to Hwy. 71.

Cross the busy Hwy. 71 carefully and Hwy. 148 becomes Hwy. 48 at the eastern boundary of Sibley State Park.

Going 3 miles on Hwy. 48 will take you all the way to the northern boundary (Hwy. 9) of Sibley and give you some idea of what the park is like. Make sure you stop at the information center at

•M1.1 to find out what activities are going on in the park, as well as pay any fees that may be required.

•M3.0 When you get to that northern boundary (Hwy. 9), turn around and enjoy the downhill ride, but watch for a right turn (south) on Hwy. 38 at M3.6. 

•M3.6 Turn right on Hwy. 38 and go about .2 miles to the beginning of the park’s bike trail on the left.

A few words of caution here: The trail is narrower and more curvy than the usual bike trails you’ve been on, plus there are hikers and strollers as well as little tykes on trikes. So slow down, watch for other rail users and gear down to take in the scenery.

•M4.2 A boat ramp and outdoor toilets are on your right; follow a road on your left for about .2 miles where the bike trail resumes.

•M4.6 Here’s a nice rest stop, which is nearly the halfway point if you’re doing the whole Glacial Lakes-Sibley Park ride. There’s a beach (check swimming conditions), picnic area, volleyball court, indoor rest rooms, water and vending machines.

•M4.9 The trail dips into a forested area. Slow down and read the interpretive signs, as well as watch for hikers using the trail.

•M5.1 See the huge tree on your right? Is it a cottonwood? It has to be a real granddaddy.

•M5.2 You could shorten the ride and go right on 48, but the best part of the ride continues on the trail just on the other side of 48. The trail will be heavily forested. This biker almost hit two fawn and a doe near a pond, so watch for critters and animals as well as humans.

•M5.7 The trail comes out at the park’s interpretive center. It’s closed evenings, but during the day the center hosts programs and is another reststop with bathrooms. Several hiking trails branch off from here.

This is the end of the bike trail, so turn around and head back to Hwy. 48 and retrace your ride back to New London and Glacial Lakes Trail.


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