Trail Conditions: Fair
Snow Cover: 8-18"
Date of Report: February 25, 2021
GENERAL INFORMATION: With the warm weather, high snowmobile traffic, and little snowfall over the last week, the trail base has taken a hit. Also, due to the warm temperatures and thin base, grooming is suspended until we get more snow.
There is active logging happening on a number of spots throughout the Grant-in-Aid and State Trail system, especially as you go further north toward Orr and International Falls. Please slow down and give trucks and logging equipment space. No Motorized Vehicles other than snowmobiles are allowed on State Trails or Grant-in-Aid snowmobile trails.
There is also a section of the Arrowhead State Trail closed between Hwy 53 (SE of Ericsburg) and the Hagerman Grant-in-Aid trail while the Rat Root River bridge is being replaced, so watch for trail reroute.
Grooming on the Tomahawk trail is currently suspended due to warm weather. There is not enough base to groom, but the trail is still in fair shape and can be ridden with caution. Some spots are rough. The lake portages will still be groomed if the morning temps drop enough. More snow is needed before grooming operations resume.
Arrowhead State Trail: The Arrowhead State trail is the backbone to an extensive Grant-in-Aid trail system that travels through remote areas.
TRAIL CONDITIONS: Snowmobiling: Condition- Poor; Trail – Groomed; Base – 0-3”
TRAIL CLOSURE/REROUTE: Hwy 53 east to the Hagerman Grant-in-Aid trail is closed due to a trail bridge being replaced. This section of trail will remain closed until the project is completed. Please use the Hagerman and Slatinski Grant-in-Aid trails to route around the closed bridge. There is signage on both sides of the project directing riders on the reroute.
The Arrowhead State Trail is groomed and in poor condition. Caution, Groomer broke through shelf ice by Galvin line east of Blue Ox/Arrowhead junction; location is marked, and groomer operators will repair trail as snow allows.
Bearhead Lake State Park: Bearhead State Park trails provide rolling topography through birch and pine stands. You may see a variety of wildlife ranging from deer, wolves, ruffed grouse, and pine martens. You can snowshoe anywhere in Minnesota’s state parks and recreation areas, except on trails that are specifically groomed for another activity, such as snowmobiling or skiing.
TRAIL CONDITIONS: Snowmobiling: Condition – Fair; Trails – Groomed; Base 3-5”
The Taconite Trail in Bear Head Lake State Park was groomed and is in fair condition with some areas of debris and thin base under the large pines.
Lake Vermilion – Soudan Underground Mine State Park; The park has six miles of snowmobile trails that connect from the Taconite State Trail to the Lake Vermilion ice trail. The ride takes you through old growth pines and young aspen forests with large wetland complexes to view along the way. You can snowshoe anywhere in Minnesota’s state parks and recreation areas, except on trails that are specifically groomed for another activity, such as snowmobiling or skiing.
TRAIL CONDITIONS: Snowmobiling: Condition – Poor; Trails – Groomed; Base – 1-3”
Trails are in poor condition and will not be groomed before this coming weekend due to thin trail base. The trail continues to get rougher as more rocks are uncovered, especially in those areas with heavy tree cover.
Putnam/Fishing Lakes – Bear Island State Forest: The Putnam and Fishing Lakes Trails traverse forested, rolling topography through birch, ash, and pine stands. Several small lakes dot the landscape along these scenic trails.
TRAIL CONDITIONS: Snowmobiling: Condition – Fair; Trails –Groomed; Base 1-3”
Trail is not being groomed this week due to rocks and thin trail base and is in poor condition. The trail continues to get rougher as it sees more use and more rocks are uncovered.
Please use caution on the trails, travel at appropriate speeds, and stay to the right. There is active logging happening on a number of spots throughout the Grant-in-Aid and State Trail system. Please slow down and give trucks and logging equipment space. No Motorized Vehicles other than snowmobiles are allowed on State Trails or Grant-in-Aid snowmobile trails.
Taconite State Trail: Taconite State Trail stretches 165 miles from Grand Rapids to Ely through many scenic vistas of rolling hillsides, lakes, rivers and forest.
TRAIL CONDITIONS: Snowmobiling: Condition – Poor; Trails –Groomed; Base 0-3”
The entire Taconite between Ely and Side Lake has been groomed and is in poor condition. Trail base is thin in numerous areas throughout the trail, especially in the first ten miles west of Ely and the trail portion going west from Hwy 53.
News and Reports:
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The Ely area is northern Minnesota’s premier snowmobile hub with numerous on-trail facilities, accommodations for both large and small groups, and with plenty of food, entertainment and service centers. The Taconite Trail is the main thoroughfare in and out of Ely in the winter. Stretching 170 miles between Ely and Grand Rapids to the southwest, many spur routes will take you just about anywhere you want to go. The Tomahawk Trail, heading to the east, has 86 miles of varied terrain which the avid snowmobiler can use to connect up with hundreds of miles more of groomed trails.
If good snowmobiling gets you excited about winter, then try out the 170 mile long Taconite Trail and the 80 mile Tomahawk Trail. The Taconite Trail, or the “Mighty Taconite” as the locals call it, runs from Ely to Grand Rapids. It stretches across three state forests and the Superior National Forest. Smooth rides along this famous route are loaded with history and the Taconite’s many spurs and loops make for some quality modern day pioneering.
The Tomahawk Trail runs from Ely to the North Shore and Yukon Trails. The trail works closely with natural terrain and is one of the most scenic trails in the state. The tree cover that surrounds the trail edges, the lack of traffic and development allows you to have an uninhabited experience.
Many riders return to the Ely area each winter to enjoy its sheer beauty and varied terrain. It’s a region where people clearly love snowmobiling and they know how to make you feel welcome. Find out for yourself!