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Mesabi Trail

Updated April 2020
The wonders of the Mesabi Iron Range are in a class by themselves. Via the Mesabi Trail, cyclists, walkers and hikers can enjoy over 135 miles of paved trail stretching from the Mississippi River (Grand Rapids) to the Boundary Waters (Ely), and connecting 28 communities.  When completed in 3 to 5 years, that mileage will expand to 155 miles.  The trail runs through a wide range of scenery, from dramatic views of mining operations, to secluded woods, a jungle of vegetation, mine lakes and reservoirs. Read more …
Mesabi Trail Map

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Near Grand Rapids on the southwestern end of the trail on the Mesabi Trail

Near Grand Rapids on the southwestern end of the trail

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Along the Trail

The trail traverses forest, meadows, rivers, streams and lakes in a region bound on the east end by the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and on the west by the Mississippi River. In between, the Mesabi Trail takes visitors past the edges of the open pit mines of the Iron Range and areas abundant with wildlife, nature and the rich heritage of hardy pioneers.

View of an overburden hill and mine lake near Grand Rapids on the Mesabi Trail

View of an overburden hill and mine lake near Grand Rapids

Currently, over 75 continuous miles stretch from Grand Rapids to McKinley. After a short diversion to the shoulder of Hwy 135, riders can re-connect with the trail again just outside of Biwabik, with another 15 miles taking them past Giant’s Ridge Recreation Area to Embarrass. This section includes a 3/4 mile long floating bridge across the Embarrass Wetland Complex and the Darwin Meyers Wildlife Management Area.

Kiosks and familiar yellow arches mark access points like this one in Coleraine on the Mesabi Trail

Kiosks and familiar yellow arches mark access points like this one in Coleraine

Spurs into communities like Chisholm, Eveleth and Aurora bring the current mileage up to 135. When complete, it will be over 155 miles long and connect 28 communities between Grand Rapids and Ely. The route runs through a wide range of scenery, from dramatic views of mining operations, to secluded woods, a jungle of vegetation, mine lakes and reservoirs.

Even on a drizzly day, a stop at one of the many overlooks is a must on the Mesabi trail

Even on a drizzly day, a stop at one of the many overlooks is a must

The landscape on the Mesabi trail is as varied as the communities it passes through

The landscape on the Mesabi trail is as varied as the communities it passes through

Communities along the trail display retired mining artifacts like this loader tire in Mountain Iron on the Mesabi trail

Communities along the trail display retired mining artifacts like this loader tire in Mountain Iron.

The Mesabi Trail crosses Minnesota’s tallest bridge just outside of Virginia. It spans 1,132 feet and crosses the Rouchleau mine lake 200 feet above the water’s surface for a spectacular view from your bike seat.

The Highway 53 bridge in Virginia carries traffic and Mesabi trail riders safely across the Rouchleau Mine

The Highway 53 bridge in Virginia carries traffic and Mesabi trail riders safely across the Rouchleau Mine

Many campgrounds and local parks are easily accessible from the trail, highways and nearby communities. Food, lodging, shopping, antiquing, golfing, fishing, camping and swimming are all in close proximity to segments of the trail, with communities and services available near all entry points.

Tent and RV camping is available at the Itasca County fair grounds in Grand Rapids on the Mesabi trail

Tent and RV camping is available at the Itasca County fair grounds in Grand Rapids

Photo ops are plentiful along the Mesabi trail

Photo ops are plentiful along the Mesabi trail

The Mesabi trail is well marked

The Mesabi trail is well marked

The Mesabi trail passes by the Greyhound Bus Museum in Hibbing

The trail passes by the Greyhound Bus Museum in Hibbing

Riders pose in front of the world's largest hockey stick in Eveleth. The US Hockey Hall of Fame is just a few blocks away

Riders pose in front of the world’s largest hockey stick in Eveleth. The US Hockey Hall of Fame is just a few blocks away

The Leonidas Mine Overlook is just a short road ride outside of Eveleth on the Mesabi trail

The Leonidas Mine Overlook is just a short road ride outside of Eveleth

The Iron Man memorial in Virginia commemorates generations of Iron Range miners on the Mesabi Trail

The Iron Man memorial in Virginia commemorates generations of Iron Range miners

Connections

The Mesabi Trail is a work in progress. Currently, over 75 continuous miles stretch from Grand Rapids to McKinley. After a short diversion to the shoulder of Hwy 135, riders can re-connect with the trail again just outside of Biwabik, with another 15 miles taking them past Giant’s Ridge Recreation Area to Embarrass. This section includes a 3/4 mile long floating bridge across the Embarrass Wetland Complex and the Darwin Meyers Wildlife Management Area. 
There are another ten miles around Tower/Soudan, including trail through the new Lake Vermilion Soudan Underground Mine State Park, and six miles near Eagles Nest Lakes off Hwy 169 on the way to Ely. There are additional spurs into communities like Chisholm and the Minnesota Discovery Center, Eveleth (with the world’s largest hockey stick), and Aurora. 
The goal is to connect all of these segments and create a 155-mile paved recreational trail, the longest in Minnesota.

The Mesabi Trail will one day be Minnesota's longest paved trail

The Mesabi Trail will one day be Minnesota’s longest paved trail

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