Trail Conditions: Fair
Snow Cover: Snow Depth – 4-16” inches
Date of Report: December 30, 2020
GENERAL INFORMATION: A large part of the trail system will get an initial groom over the next couple days, there is quite a bit more snow in the woods, and the swamps have built quite a bit of ice. After the initial groom, grooming will likely not take place again until we get more snow. Currently, the snow is only thick enough in places to pan the trail and not cut it with the drag.
Portions of trail remain ungroomed where ice in swamps is still too thin for grooming equipment. Crews continue to pack swamps/wetlands to help the ice freeze thick enough to support grooming equipment. Please use caution on the trails and travel at your own risk.
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.
No trails around Ely are groomed. Crews will be packing some of the swamps and checking for good freeze-up on Thursday, 12/31. There is about 8″ to 10″ of ice on area lakes and some more of the lakes will be staked by the weekend. Fall Lake is staked and Shagawa will be staked on Wednesday, 12/30. There is slush in some spots. Watch for pressure ridges as they are starting to form. Grooming will likely begin next week if we get more snow.
Arrowhead State Trail
The Arrowhead State trail is the backbone to an extensive Grant-in-Aid trail system that travels through remote areas.
Snowmobiling: Condition-Poor to Fair Trail – Partially Groomed; Base – 0-1”
The Arrowhead trail portions will be groomed by New Year’s weekend. Entire portion from 3K trails (Kabetogama) south to Elephant Lake trail shelter (just south of Elephant Lake and Melgeorges), Orr South GIA trail south to Vermilion Houseboats trail (Lost Lake swamp). The remaining trail portions are ungroomed due to thin ice or open water in swamps.
Bearhead Lake State Park
Snowmobiling: Condition – Good; Trails – Groomed; Base 2”
TRAIL CONDITIONS: The Taconite Trail in Bear Head Lake State Park was groomed on December 24, and is in good condition with some areas of debris under the large pines. Ski trails have not been set yet.
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.
Lake Vermilion – Soudan Underground Mine State Park
Snowmobiling: Condition – Poor Trails – Not Groomed; Base – 0”
TRAIL CONDITIONS: The park trails are open, but snowmobile travel is no recommended. Very little snow is on the trails or in the woods, and ice in swamps is inconsistent with 5-8” in some spots and only 1-2” in others. The trail crew is making a final pass clearing deadfall from trails, and we are also packing swamps/wetlands where possible to knock down grass and cattails, to help the ice freeze thick enough to support grooming equipment. Trail use is not recommended; please use extreme caution and travel at your own risk. Soudan Underground Mine and Lake Vermilion State Park Trails will get a first groom before New Year’s weekend.
The park has 5 miles of snowmobile trails that connects 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.
Putnam/Fishing Lakes – Bear Island State Forest
Snowmobiling: Condition – Poor to Fair; Trails –Partially Groomed; Base 0-1”
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: Trails are open but ungroomed due to impassable swamps (thin ice) and insufficient snow (this trail needs more snow to initially due to rocks and topography). Snowmobile travel is not recommended. Please use extreme caution and travel at your own risk.
Taconite State Trail
Snowmobiling: Condition – Poor to Fair Trails –Partially Groomed; Base 0-1”
Taconite State Trail stretches one hundred sixty-five miles from Grand Rapids to Ely through many scenic vistas of rolling hillsides, lakes, rivers and forest.
TRAIL CONDITIONS: Taconite trail portions between Ely and Side Lake will be groomed by New Year’s weekend: Ely to the Pike River trail bridge (10 miles west of Tower, just before Arrowhead jct), Entire trail portion of Wolftrack Grant-in-Aid (GIA) trail west to Side Lake. The remaining trail portions are ungroomed due to thin ice or open water in swamps.
Taconite Spur West – Not groomed
Taconite Spur North – Not groomed
Stony Spur East – Not groomed