Saturday, May 24, 2014

Forested trails alongside rivers await Babbitt, Minn.-area visitors

Several quality day hiking trails await visitors to Babbitt in the Minnesota Northwoods.

Located north of Duluth, forests surround Babbitt on two sides. The Superior National Forest sits a few miles to the east, and Bear Island State Forest is to the north. The trails run several miles long but can be shortened into day hiking routes.

Recommended Babbitt-area day hiking trails include:
g Iron Ore Trail segment – In nearby Embarrass, a 3.2-mile round trip segment of the old railbed heads north and south of town. Park at the trail access on the north side of County Road 21 near the Waisanen Road intersection; hike north, turning back at County Road 627/Sauna Road.
g Kelly Trail (aka Forest Road 178) segment – East of town, a segment of the jeep trail runs 2.3-miles round trip alongside Stony River in the Superior National Forest. Park at the intersection of Forest Roads 424 (aka New Tomahawk Road) and 178 then hike south, turning back upon reaching a creek flowing into the river.
g Mesabi State Trail segment – A 2.6-mile round-trip segment of the bicycle trail goes east of town along the Stony Spur ATV Trail. Park at the trail entrance off Scott Road just east of Plantation Road; the trail stops at Ely-Babbitt Road.
g Stony Spur II Trail segment – The trail runs 23 miles from Babbitt to just south of Bear Island State Forest, but segments of it can be done as short hikes. A 2.2-mile round trip section near the Dunka River southeast of Babbitt is perfect for such a hike; park off of Scott Road/County Road 623 a little more than a mile southeast of the Matilla Road junction.
g Taconite State Trail Spur segment – North of town, a 3-mile round trip segment of the spur trail rambles through Bear Island State Forest. Park at the trailhead on the north side of County Road 21, east of the electrical station; hike through the woods, turning back at the bridge over Birch River.

Read more about family friendly day hiking trails in my Headin' to the Cabin guidebooks.