Tag Archives: Mesabi trail

From Giants Ridge, the Mesabi Trail Towns offers history and great biking adventures.

Many bicycle adventures await your visit to the Mesabi Trail Towns

by Andrew Ellis

The Mesabi Trail Towns, on Northeast Minnesota’s Iron Range hosts several gems of the state’s history and great biking adventures. It’s not a mountain range, but a group of small mining communities along this well-known trail system. The Measbi Trail serves as an easy way to travel from town to town by bike. From Grand Rapids on the western end to Embarass, 120 miles to the east, there is a lot to see along the way. For the mountain biker’s this mining range has left a lot of deposits to perfect your skills. The area even boasts some of Minnesota’s best scenic road touring routes, with loop options that tie back to the Mesabi Trail.

Mesabi bike trail near Hibbing

Mesabi bike trail near Hibbing.

More About the Bike-Friendly Mesabi Trail Towns

The area is vast and the Mesabi Trail Towns string through the Iron Range covering 11 different mining towns including: Meadowlands, Hibbing, Chisholm, Mt. Iron, Virginia, Eveleth, Gilbert, Biwabik, Aurora, Hoyt Lakes, Embarass. Along the way there is no shortage of walk-through tours. You can visit Bob Dylan’s childhood home, the Hull Rust Mine overlook and Greyhound Museum in Hibbing. You can look into the history of the Range’s “Queen City” at the Virginia Heritage Museum. Take a walk around the US Hockey Hall of Fame, in Eveleth. To enjoying the scenic thrills of mountain biking Giant Ridge, near Biwabik. There are also plenty of lakes to drop a line, beaches to relax on, and more.

The area may cover a lot of ground, but it’s all very accessible – especially if you’re using your bike. The Mesabi Trail makes for a convenient connecting point for all the communities. So it’s easy to travel around to all the unique stores, eateries, and more pedaling on two wheels.

Mesabi bike trail near Virginia.

Mesabi bike trail near Virginia.

Biking Opportunities in the Iron Range

There are several opportunities biking in the Iron Range. If you’re into mountain biking it’s just a matter of where you want to go first with four different systems to choose from. You can also extend your adventure using the Mesabi Trail to connect to various forest and mining roads.

The Mesabi Trail

Besides mining, bicycle tourism is the other attraction that connects the communities. An amazing adventure in its own right, the trail takes you through the beautiful northern Minnesota trees, hills, wildlife, and more. With so many scenic views there’s no doubt you’ll be stopping to take a picture to add to your memories.

And don’t forget the Great River Energy Mesabi Trail Tour ’18. Ride for the fun or ride for the challenge. Either way mark your calendar for Saturday, August 4, 2018 for the most fun you can have on two wheels!

With several mountain bike parks there is something for every skill level.

With several mountain bike parks there is something for every skill level.

Mountain Biking

The Iron Range may not have mountains, but there are plenty of trails and loops for mountain bikers to battle down. Giants Ridge offers over 24 miles of trails and loops that will challenge you and offer up great scenery. Big Aspen offers a whopping 21 miles of trails on old logging roads and abandoned railroad grades. The sections vary in difficulty with many loop opportunities that offer many scenic vistas.

You can also check out Britton Peak which offers a 3-trail system that takes you through Superior National Forest and includes one for the three main skills levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. There’s also Lookout Mountain, thanks to the hard work of the Iron Range off-Road Cyclists, that has over five miles of single-track and over six miles of multi-use rideable ski trail.

Road Biking Options

While the Mesabi Trail connects helps connect the towns of the Iron Range, each town has its own road system that allows for easy bike travel and loop options. These roads allow you to navigate from place to place and let you explore each town as in depth as you wish. The Superior National Forest, on the east end, also has plenty of roads you can use to explore the area.

See more at At-A-Glance Mesabi Trail.

Here this cyclist is enjoying Minnesota's peak riding time on the Paul Bunyan Trail.

Minnesota’s Peak Riding Time Is Fall: Part One

Autumn Is Minnesota’s Peak Riding Time: Northern Minnesota

With the summer season officially off the calendar, fall is a great time to extend your bike riding adventures here in Minnesota. As the trees change colors along the miles of paved and mountain bike trails, cyclists will find a kaleidoscope of colors along the way. With the abundant rainfall this year, colors are predicted to be spectacular. If the weather remains mostly sunny during the day and cool at night, conditions will favor a stunning ride while exploring Minnesota. It’s no surprise that Minnesota’s peak riding time is fall.

Each year the fall color peak normally arrives in the northern one-third of the state in mid-September to early October. Granted, there is an exception to that rule if you are looking at biking in the Arrowhead region along Lake Superior. If you are, then the peak fall colors normally arrive about a week later than inland areas due to the warming effect of the lake. In the central one-third of the state, wooded areas become colorful between late September and early October. For the southern-third of Minnesota, colors peak early to mid-October. This year the peak cycle, statewide, is running a week or so later than normal due to ideal summer conditions – so enjoy!

To get a more accurate gauge to the change in colors in areas of Minnesota that you would like to visit, a color report is available online or through a weekly e-newsletter from Explore Minnesota Tourism each Thursday afternoon during the fall season.

This section is part one of a three part series.

Northern Minnesota Trails To Enjoy Peak Colors 

Northeastern Minnesota

Gitchi-Gami: This trail along the North Shore now has a 29 mile segment. This segment goes from Gooseberry Falls State Park through Split Rock Lighthouse State Park to Beaver Bay. For more information on visiting the area see Heart of the Northshore Tourism Association.

Mesabi: This is one the most interesting trails in the state with 120 miles completed so far between Grand Rapids and Virginia/Biwabik. Built only partly on old rail lines, it dips and climbs around bogs and mine-pit lakes. Then, it continues around slag heaps and natural lakes highlighted by aspen and pines. See more at Grand Rapids Tourism on the west end and the IronTrail Tourism for the east end of the trail.

Willard Munger: This 75 mile trail between Hinckley and Duluth is one of the oldest and longest paved trails in the nation. The trail starts in Hinckley, Minnesota 61 and then goes to Carlton. For more information on the south end of the trail see: Hinckley Tourism and at the northern end. For near Jay Cook State Park, see Carlton Tourism.

Sunrise Prairie/Hardwood Creek: These county trails, just north of the Twin Cities and parallel of Interstate 35W, starts from Washington County’s Hardwood Creek Regional Trail at Forest Lake. Then, the trail changes to Sunrise Prairie Trail at Stacy for another 16 miles up to North Branch. See more information at Sunrise Trail Prairie Trail or Hardwood Creek Trail.

Northwestern Minnesota

Paul Bunyan: This 120 mile trail winds through lake country from Brainerd/Baxter to Bemidji. The southern trailhead is in Baxter, off Minnesota 371 at Excelsior Road (parking is near Northland Arboretum). The trail takes you up through the Chippewa National Forest then to Akeley (7¾ miles to Walker on the Heartland Trail). Afterwards, the trails continues onto Bemidji. Then, it goes to Bemidji State Park. See more information on the south end of the trail at Brainerd/Baxter/Nisswa Tourism and Bemidji Tourism at the north trailhead.

Heartland: There are lots of towns to explore on this 49 mile ride. The trail takes you between Park Rapids to Cass Lake, through Walker and connects to the Paul Bunyan Trail. For At-a-Glance Tips see: Leech Lake Tourism on the east end and Park Rapids Tourism at the west end of this trail.

Migizi: This scenic U.S. Forest Service loop ride around Pike Bay is 17 miles if you count the spur to-and-from Norway Beach Recreation Area on Cass Lake, streets in the town of Cass Lake, and the three miles that run south of Cass Lake along Minnesota 371. See Cass Lake Tourism for more information.

 

Trip Tips: To Enjoy Minnesota’s Peak Riding Times by Bike

Before you go:

  • Always check the MnDNR website for a trail map or to see if road construction or flooding has closed a portion of that area.
  • Also, each Thursday afternoon during the fall season a color report is available online. You can also receive it through a weekly e-newsletter at Explore Minnesota Tourism.

Staying safe:

Even on off-road trails, bicyclists need to wear helmets. Since you are much more likely to fall on your head by locking wheels with another bike or by stopping suddenly than you are to be hit by a vehicle, make sure to wear helmet.

Don’t forget to stop at stop signs on the trail, even if it’s just a driveway or gravel road.

Also, ride with a buddy, especially on isolated stretches.

Have Fun and check back this Thursday for part two of Minnesota’s Peak Riding Time!

Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide dedicated to all fathers, next Sunday

Summer Minnesota bike guide is live!

Now available quarterly, the 2016 summer edition of the Minnesota Bike/Hike guide is now digitally available and dedicated to all those fathers, nexy Sunday!

Here is a shot of the e-version of the Summer Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide, now live.

Here is a shot of the e-version of the Summer Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide, now live – enjoy and have fun!.

In our 7th year of printing this handy pocket sized book full of bike travel ideas, HaveFunBiking.com (HFB) has now updated the printed version into a Minnesota e-edition, so check it out. With our new digital platform we are now able to update information on bike travel and tips regularly to help you find your next adventure. Plus, we will be adding additional maps of destinations you may want to explore in the future.

Please take a look at the most recent MN Bike/Hike Guide and bookmark it to your hand held devices for use when on the go. Formatted to fit your mobile phone and note pad the updated e-version offers bike events recently posted and more bike friendly maps, with links, then what is in our print edition. On each map you will find a QR code and link to the HFB Destination landing pages for easy At-A-Glance information when on the go.

From Mankato, over to Stillwater or up to Bemidji, we have highlighted many special landing pages offering you At-A-Glance information when on the go. All offering helpful links while visiting communities you are planning to ride that include: where to eat, where to sleep and other pertinent information that correlates with the maps to help you make your next adventure  fun.

After reviewing the latest edition please share the link of the 2016 MN Bike/Hike Guide with your friends. Give them a chance to find their next bike adventure too. Maybe you will ride together or share your escapades the next time you get together. Either way, the guide opens up many opportunities for bike travel and memories that will last a lifetime!

Bike Pic Jan. 7, Fall colors on the Mesabi Trail

Here in this bike pic photo, cyclists enjoy the Fall colors while riding the Mesabi Trail, in Northeastern Minnesota. For more information on where bike, eat and stay on the Mesabi Iron Range see the HFB At-a-Glance Article.

#FindYourNextAdventure

Thanks for viewing the Bike Pic of the Day here at HaveFunBiking (HFB). 

Now, rolling into our 10th year as a bicycle media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike, while showcasing unforgettable places to ride. As we search and present more fun photos worth a grin, scroll through the information and stories we have posted to help you find your next adventure. Then, while out there if you see us along a paved or mountain bike trail, next to the route you regularly commute on, or at an event you plan to attend with your bike, be prepared to smile. You never know where our camera’s will be and what we will post next!

Do you have a fun photo of yourself or someone you know that you would like to see us publish? If so, please send it our way and we may use it. Send your picture(s) to [email protected] with a brief caption (of each), including who is in the photo (if you know?) and where it was taken. Photo(s) should be at least 620 pixels wide for us to use them. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and an acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As HaveFunBiking continues to encourage more people to ride, please reference our blog and the annual print and quarterly digital Bike/Hike Guide to find your next adventure. We are proud of the updated – At-a-Glance information and maps we are known for in the HFB Destination section on our website and in the guide. Now, as the Bike/Hike Guide goes into its seventh year of production, we are adding a whole new dimension of bicycle tourism information available for mobile devices where you may see some additional bike pics – maybe of yourself so.

Bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure – we may capture you in one of the next photos we post.

Have a great day!

Bike Pic Dec. 21, fun in Grand Rapids, MN

Here, with dad at her side, these two cyclists enjoy riding their bikes on the bike friendly streets of Grand Rapids, MN, on their way to the Mesabi Trail-head, on the north side of town.

Thanks for viewing the Bike Pic of the Day here at HaveFunBiking (HFB). 

Now, rolling into our 10th year as a bicycle media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike, while showcasing unforgettable places to ride. As we search and present more fun photos worth a grin, scroll through the information and stories we have posted to help you find your next adventure. Then, while out there if you see us along a paved or mountain bike trail, next to the route you regularly commute on, or at an event you plan to attend with your bike, be prepared to smile. You never know where our camera’s will be and what we will post next!

Do you have a fun photo of yourself or someone you know that you would like to see us publish? If so, please send it our way and we may use it. Send your picture(s) to [email protected] with a brief caption (of each), including who is in the photo (if you know?) and where it was taken. Photo(s) should be at least 620 pixels wide for us to use them. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and an acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As HaveFunBiking continues to encourage more people to ride, please reference our blog and the annual print and quarterly digital Bike/Hike Guide to find your next adventure. We are proud of the updated – At-a-Glance information and maps we are known for in the HFB Destination section on our website and in the guide. Now, as the Bike/Hike Guide goes into its seventh year of production, we are adding a whole new dimension of bicycle tourism information available for mobile devices where you may see some additional bike pics – maybe of yourself so.

Bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure – we may capture you in one of the next photos we post.

Have a great day!

#FindYourNextAdventure

Bike Pic Dec. 8, family mountain bike fun

Here in this photo above mom follows the kids down a mountain bike trail as junior pops a wheelie out in front, here near Grand Rapids. Along the MRT (Mississippi River Trail), this bike friendly community is the Gateway to the paved Mesabi Trail System and also offers miles of quiet, scenic Northern Minnesota county roads for bike touring fun. See more biking here at At-a-glance Grand Rapids.

Thanks for viewing the Bike Pic of the Day here at HaveFunBiking (HFB). 

Now, rolling into our 10th year as a bicycle media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike, while showcasing unforgettable places to ride. As we search and present more fun photos worth a grin, scroll through the information and stories we have posted to help you find your next adventure. Then, while out there if you see us along a paved or mountain bike trail, next to the route you regularly commute on, or at an event you plan to attend with your bike, be prepared to smile. You never know where our camera’s will be and what we will post next!

Do you have a fun photo of yourself or someone you know that you would like to see us publish? If so, please send it our way and we may use it. Send your picture(s) to [email protected] with a brief caption (of each), including who is in the photo (if you know?) and where it was taken. Photo(s) should be at least 620 pixels wide for us to use them. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and an acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As HaveFunBiking continues to encourage more people to ride, please reference our blog and the annual print and quarterly digital Bike/Hike Guide to find your next adventure. We are proud of the updated – At-a-Glance information and maps we are known for in the HFB Destination section on our website and in the guide. Now, as the Bike/Hike Guide goes into its seventh year of production, we are adding a whole new dimension of bicycle tourism information available for mobile devices where you may see some additional bike pics – maybe of yourself so.

Bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure – we may capture you in one of the next photos we post.

Have a great day!

#FindYourNextAdventure

Bike Pic – Oct. 10, Colorful, Though Chilly

A bit chilly today, though colorful! Photo above shows the beautiful fall scenery as this cyclist is bundled for cool weather riding on the Mesabi Trail, east of Grand Rapids, MN.

For Fall color riding in Minnesota this weekend see the Explore MN Color Guide.

Thanks for viewing the Bike Pic of the Day here at HaveFunBiking, hope you enjoyed the photo?

Now, rolling into our 10th year as a bicycle media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike, while showcasing unforgettable places to ride. As we search and post more fun photos worth a grin, scroll through the information and stories we have posted to help you find your next adventure. Then, if you see us along a paved or mountain bike trail, next to the route you regularly commute, or at an event you plan to attend with your bike, be prepared to smile. You never know where camera will be and what we will posted next!

Do you have a fun photo of yourself or someone you know that you would like to see us publish? If so, please send it our way and we may use it. Send your picture(s) to [email protected] with a brief caption (of each), including who is in the photo (if you know) and where it was taken. Photo(s) should be at least 620 pixels wide for us to post. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and an acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As HaveFunBiking continues to encourage more people to ride, please reference our blog and the annual bike guide to find your next adventure. We are proud of the updated, at-a-glance information, and maps we are known for in the Destination section of our website. Now, as the Bike/Hike Guide goes into its seventh year of production, we are adding a whole new dimension of bicycle tourism information available for mobile device. Plus, beginning September 2015, this year’s e-version of the Guide will move to quarterly editions where you may see some additional bike pics posted.

 Bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure – we may capture you in a pic to post!

A 2013 Great River Energy Mesabi Trail Tour Recap

Ardy Nurmi-Wilberg. Great River Energy Mesabi Trail Tour Director 
It was a perfect day to ride a bike on the Mesabi Trail.  Perfect temperature, lots of sunshine, even the wind cooperated giving everyone a little help from behind.

GRE -Floating Bridge _2Held on the first Saturday in August, last year the Great River Energy Mesabi Trail Tour traveled from Grand Rapids to Virginia with nearly 700 riders from all over the upper mid-west participating. And the proceeds benefited Ampers (Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities) and the Mesabi Trail.

GRE- 100_3081Designed for both the serious rider and families with children, all riding is exclusively on the Mesabi Trail passing through many of the unique towns & cities of Northeast Minnesota. Each year this unique linear route ride starts & ends in two different locations offering four routes, a 12, 33, 53 or 69-mile option.  Along the way you will find food & music at six rest stops and a picnic dinner & concert at the finish – with a complimentary t-shirt and bike water bottle to take home. This fully supported ride also provides transportation for riders and their bikes.

GRE-100_3087Each routes gives riders a taste of history and culture along the trail as the tour stops at places like the Greyhound Bus Museum, in Hibbing and at the Hill Annex Mine State Park, in Calumet, or the Hull Rust Mine, in Hibbing. Just a mile off the tour this is the world’s largest active open pit mine – often referred to as the Grand Canyon of the north. Whatever section you choose to ride the Mesabi Trail offers ride participants an up close look at the northland forest, passing by lakes and rivers and the majestic water filled iron mines.

From our 2013 ride, we would like to extend gratitude to the 128 volunteers who donated almost 1,500 hours of their time. Also a  special thank you to our sponsors: Great River Energy, Mesabi Trail, MediaCom, Villas at Giants Ridge, Itasca Trails Task Force, UCare, Century Link, Amper’s, Frandsen Bank & Trust, Idea Drilling, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Mesabi Masonry, NE Technical Services, Iron Mining Association, Mining Minnesota, Range 11 TV, Mesabi Daily News, Hibbing Daily Tribune, Grand Rapids Herald, Hometown Focus. We couldn’t do it without you!

GRE -Mesabi TrailHere are some of our rider comments from the 2013 Tour:
• “Love this event – it gets better every year.  Your volunteers are the best on the planet!”
• “This is one of funnest and best organized rides I’ve been on.  We’ll be back!”
• “The ride is extremely well organized.  Snack food at rest stops was a great variety. The musicians were fantastic. Overall a great experience!”
• “Solid, I’d do it again!”

GRE- Finish Line (credit Birdie Oddo)In our 10th year, the 2014 Great River Energy Mesabi Trail Tour is Saturday, August 2, on the Mesabi Trail in Northeast Minnesota. This year the ride is going in reverse of the 2013 route, traveling west from Fayal Township (near Eveleth) to Coleraine (near Grand Rapids). For more information on riding the Mesabi Trail or to register for the Bike Tour, click here.