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 …
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.