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Mesabi Trail

The wonders of the Mesabi Iron Range are in a class by themselves. Unlike a lot of paved trails in the state, the Mesabi Trail is created from old logging and mining roads, former roadways, some abandoned rail grade and new trail though the forest. Off the bike you can tour a mine, a logging camp, the Greyhound bus museum or visit the childhood homes of Judy Garland and Bob Dylan. 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

Bikers can ride over 75 continuous paved miles from Grand Rapids to McKinley, and from Biwabik past Giant’s Ridge Ski Resort for another 15 miles. There are another 5 miles in Tower/Soudan, including trail through the new Lake Vermilion Soudan Underground Mine State Park, and 6 miles near Eagles Nest Lakes off Hwy 169 on the way to Ely.

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, two large segments are complete: 75 miles between Grand Rapids and McKinley and 15 miles from Biwabik. On the northern end of the trail, a five-mile segment connects the towns of Tower and Soudan with Lake Vermilion Soudan Underground Mine State Park 6 miles near Eagles Nest Lakes off Hwy 169 on the way to Ely.
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

Mesabi Trail
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