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Trail Report – : Ely, Minnesota – January 7, 2021

Ely, MN Chamber of Commerce

Reporter:Ely Chamber of Commerce/Explore MN Visitor Center
Trail Conditions: Fair
Snow Cover: 4-16"
Date of Report: January 7, 2021
Area Report:

GENERAL INFORMATION: Portions of both the Taconite and Arrowhead State Trails got their first groom over the weekend. Portions of the trail remain ungroomed where ice in swamps is still too thin for grooming equipment. Other than in the Lost Lake swamp on the Arrowhead, crews will not be able to groom again until there is more snow accumulation. 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.


Area Trails:

All the Ely Area lake trails have been staked except Mud lake between Burntside and Lake Vermilion. There is some slush on most lakes which causes rough sections with the frozen slush.  Ride with caution. With low snow and warm temperatures, the Tomahawk trail has not been groomed. More snow and colder temperatures are needed.


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”

With the exception of the trail portion from the Orr South GIA trail north to the Elephant Lake Rd/Novak Rd Jct., the Arrowhead has been groomed from the Taconite up to the 3K trails in Kabetogama. The remaining trail portions are ungroomed due to thin ice or open water in swamps. Depending on weather and snow conditions over the next few days, the Lost Lake swamp from Hwy 1 north to the Wakemup GIA Trail may get another groom before the weekend.


Bearhead Lake State Park

Snowmobiling: Condition – Fair; Trails – Groomed; Base 2”

TRAIL CONDITIONS: The Taconite Trail in Bear Head Lake State Park was groomed on December 24 and is in fair condition with some areas of debris under the large pines.  Ski trails may be set by Saturday, January 9. 


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:  Trails have been groomed once and will be groomed again when we get more snow. The park trails are open, but snowmobile travel is not recommended. 


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: Trial is 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: The entire Taconite between Ely and Side Lake has been groomed except for the trail portion between Lehtinen Creek (west of the Arrowhead/Taconite jct.) and the Wolf Track GIA trail.  


Taconite Spur West – Not groomed

Taconite Spur North – Not groomed

Stony Spur East – Not groomed

News and Reports:

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