Northeastern Minnesota Mountain Biking

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Northeastern Minnesota has the Sawtooth Mountains along the North Shore of Lake Superior, ski hills at Lutsen and Giant’s Ridge, the deep forests of the Superior and Chippewa National Forests, the 135-mile Arrowhead State Trail, and the pristine beauty of some of the state’s most beautiful state parks. Local trail organizations have taken advantage of their natural surroundings to build a comprehensive trail system for the advanced and beginner to enjoy. See our events page.


Giants Ridge, Biwabik 25 miles  
Maintained mountainside trails that consist of single track, cross country ski trails, snowmobile trails, and abandoned logging roads. 

Jay Cooke State Park, Carlton 13 miles 
Trail is a mixture of grass, dirt and pavement with spectacular views.

Hidden Valley Trails, Ely 12 miles 
This area offers twelve miles of hilly, wooded loop trails on the outskirts of Ely. The system consists of one large loop around the perimeter and several smaller loops weaving through the center of the area.

Fernberg Tower Area, Ely varied mileage
This area is located along the Fernberg Road east of Ely. Several county and forest roads intersect giving an opportunity to explore the Superior National Forest, visit the hill that once held the Fernberg Lookout Tower and visit several lakes. The route includes both gravel and natural surface trails.

Nickel Lake Area, Ely  varied mileage
This area provides rolling wooded hills, grassy bogs and beaver dams. There is access to several isolated lakes and an abandoned granite quarry that last operated in the 30′s.

Fenske Lake Area, Ely varied mileage
This area is located on the Echo Trail north of Ely. There are three routes in this area. The first one follows Forest Road 459 and leads 4.3 miles to Forest Road 457. It continues north beyond Picket Creek and continues to the edge of the wilderness area. Along the way there are many spur roads to explore. The second route follows an old forest road from the Echo Trail to Hanson Lake and beyond. The third route is an opportunity to explore a small network of old and new logging roads just north of County Road 644. Trails cross over rolling hills and pass through spruce forests.

Maple or Eliason Tower Loop, Grand Marais 12 miles
A 12-mile loop along back forest and county roads. Moose have been spotted at dawn and dusk along this trail. 

Sugar Hills, Grand Rapids 20 miles 
Enjoy the solitude on this mixture of singletrack and fire roads.Intermediate to expert trail on hilly terrain through hardwood forest. Thunder Peak provides excellent panoramic views.

Legion Trails Grand Rapids 6 miles
Hand-built singletrack trail ranging from fast and flowing to tight, twisty and technical. Near Grand Rapids High School.

Forest History Center Trails, Grand Rapids 5 miles
Explore the Forest History Center by bike. Beginner trail through 1900s logging camp and virgin timber forest.     

Taconite State Trail, Grand Rapids - Ely 165 miles 
Popular multipurpose trail that moves through out-of-the-way forests and lakes and stretches 165 miles from Grand Rapids to Ely and intersects with the Arrowhead State Trail just west of Lake Vermillion. Some areas are impassable during summer. Passes through Bear Head Lake State Park

Saint Croix State Park, Hinckley 21 miles 

Wide grassy trail in the woods with some dirt sections on the Matthew Lourey State Trail.

Savanna Portage State Park, McGregor 10 miles 
Mixture of grass and dirt doubletrack. The trail offers varied topography in its several loops with a challenging climb up the Continental Divide with an awesome view as a reward.

McCarthy Beach State Park, Side Lake 17 miles 
A choice of nice rides is available on the park trails and the low maintenance St. Louis County roads inside the park boundary. Bikers can venture out of the park on the Taconite State Trail.

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Two Harbors 3 miles
Easy trail with a mix of dirt and grass shared with hikers. No singletrack. Stunning views of the Split Rock Lighthouse along Lake Superior. Can be combined with a return on the paved Gitchi Gami Trail for a 6 mile loop. The park grooms this loop and an additional 3 miles for fat biking in the winter.

Arrowhead State TrailTower to International Falls 135 miles  

Approximately 69 miles of the trail are suitable for mountain biking in the summer; however, there may be wet areas. Intersects with the Taconite State Trail. Mountain bikers should call the nearest Parks and Trails Area office before leaving for their destination to inquire about local trail conditions and amenities. This is a multi-use trail, including horseback riding.

Big Aspen Trail, Virginia 20 miles 
The Big Aspen Trail is 21 miles in the Superior National Forest with many loop opportunities and beautiful scenic vistas. The trail is part of old logging roads and abandoned railroad grades from the Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Company. It is a multi-use trail, allowing mountain bikes, ATVs, horses, and in the winter, cross-country skiers.

Lookout Mountain, Virginia 11 miles
The trail system features 5 miles of dedicated mountain bike singletrack full of challenging berms and rollers, and over 6 miles of easy multi-use rideable ski trail in the Chippewa National Forest. The trails are two-way, look out for oncoming bikes and hikers.

 

Cook County Mountain Bike Routes  

Cook County has fantastic single track and gravel routes ranging from family-friendly to expert backcountry trails. For more information and current conditions call the Cook County Visitors Bureau. 

1) Heartbreak Hill Loop  18 miles Description: Over the river and through the woods is the best way to summarize this trail. In the first few miles you gain a good deal of elevation. This scenic loop crosses the Temperance River multiple times. Park the bike and take a short hike along the river. This ride blends gravel road adventure with a taste of the Gitchi Gami paved bike trail. Be aware that the Sawbill Trail is a well-traveled road.

2) Onion River Road 7 miles round trip. Easy, family-friendly ride with several fun side-trip opportunities. Several hiking, cross-country ski, and snowmobile trails cross through the area. This light traffic gravel road is a gradual climb through a mixed and scenic forest. Please remember riding on the Superior Hiking trail is not allowed.

3) Pancore Lake Loop Tofte 17-19 miles
Trail is a two-track service road through the Superior National Forest with gravel and dirt. Not a lot of technical aspects, but an adventure nonetheless. Secluded ride near the Poplar and Temperance Rivers.

4) Pike Lake Loop 22 miles
There are many spur trails and roads, pay close attention to remain on the main trail. Excellent wildlife viewing. Gravel and primitive minimum maintenance road.

5) Devil Track Loop and Bally Creek Area Trails Grand Marais 25 miles  
Ride some back roads on hard-packed gravel all the way down to Grand Marais. Start at Eagle Mountain, Devil Track Lake Campground or the picnic site on the Cascade River. Remote trail is perfect for adventurous mountain bikers. Beautiful 150-year-old white pines line the way. Some logging traffic.

6) Pine Mountain Road 16 miles round trip (out and back trail)
The gravel forest service road has little traffic and travels past spruce bogs, multiple streams, and towering pines. Great moose habitat.

7) Fire Box Loop 16.7 miles
Scenic hilly terrain that is very remote with little to no vehicle traffic on gravel and forest service roads as well as portions of multiuse trails.  Bring a map and pay attention to the signs, there are numerous spur trails along this route. Ride can be done in either direction.

8) Lima Grade 26.2 miles (out and back trail)
A great family ride on gravel road with minimal traffic. Elevation climbs very gradually over rivers and through low areas of pine forest. BWCAW borders the trail. Multiple starting points allow for variable distance rides.

9) Central Gunflint Trails  60+ miles  
Very remote hilly terrain with little to no road traffic. Primarily cross country ski trails and private gravel roads near the BWCAW. Map and navigational tools recommended as there are multiple spur trails along the route. Consult either Golden Eagle Lodge or Bearskin Lodge for maps and information.

10) Old Gunflint Trail 9 miles round trip (out and back trail)
Gravel road with minimal traffic. Old Gunflint Trail is County Road 92, a fairly flat trail that passes through a healthy black spruce forest. Part of the trail runs through the Ham Lake fire recovery zone.

11) Grand Portage Trails
Several trails are available in the Grand Portage area. Please call 1-800-543-1384 for trail maps and more information.

12) Pincushion Mountain Grand Marais 16 miles
There are about 6 miles of singletrack mountain bike trails starting from the trailhead at Pincushion.  Watch for the occasional hiker. The trail intersects the Pincushion XC ski trail system. In dry conditions, some ski trails may be used by bikes, but they are not designed for bicycles. If you see that the ski trail surface is too soft, please use only the bike trails. The mountain bike trail maps do not show the entire ski trail system, and it is very easy to lose your way on the ski trails.

13) Britton Peak Trail Tofte 5.5 miles
Britton Peak Trail goes through the Superior National Forest and is mainly singletrack. This is a multi-use trail.

14) Sugarbush Trail Tofte 5.5 miles 
Sugarbush Trail is 5.5 miles through the Superior National Forest. It is a singletrack that winds in a mostly maple forest with routes for all skill levels.

 

Duluth Area Mountain Bike Trails

Duluth has been named Gold Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA), one of six such destinations in the world. The Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS) maintain and develop Duluth's extensive trail system.

1) Lester Park, 5.5 miles, intermediate. Beautiful views of the river valley and smooth, flowing single track. There are some rocky or rooty sections, but overall the trail is non-technical and the best option in the Duluth area if you are newer to mountain biking. 

2) Piedmont Trails, 9 miles of intermediate to advanced Challenging trails with bridges and features. Significant elevation changes with large rocky bluffs.

3) Pokegama Trail, 7 miles  A purpose built mountain bike trail, built to present a technically ride. Tight and twisting single-track trail with with drops, boardwalks and short, steep climbs through beautiful stands of white pine, cedars and paper birch. Views of the bay are few, but are made more stunning by the shoreline stands of birch.

4) Mission Creek, 12 miles Beginner to intermediate. Fast and flowing singletrack with many bridges, berms, and rollers.  This trail network traverses a dramatic, heavily forested landscape with spectacular views of the St. Louis River Valley and Jay Cooke State Park

5) Spirit Mountain Bike Park,  
Outstanding views of Lake Superior are the norm at Spirit Mountain. The terrain is demanding, but is sure to reward with amazing vistas. Lift-served downhill mountain biking and winter fat biking.

6) Mont du Lac, 4 miles of intermediate single track and advanced level downhill trails.

 

 

Sources: MNDNR, COGGS, Visit Cook County, GRIMBA, IROC, MORC, National Forest Service

 

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TRAIL SERVICE DIRECTORY

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