Friday, June 6, 2014

Variety of trails available in Ely, Minn., area

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near Ely, Minn.
Photo courtesy City of Ely.
Classic Northwoods lakes, beautiful wildflowers, and seemingly endless stands of pines await day hikers in the Ely, Minn., area.

Surrounded by the Superior National Forest and several other state forests and parks, Ely offers a plethora of trails. Some are right in town while others can be found in the remote wilderness.

Among the many Ely-area trails are:
g Angleworm Trail segment – The first mile (2-miles round trip) of this Superior National Forest trail heads through red and white pine stands; in spring, look for blossoming pink ladyslippers. Parking and trailhead are in a turnaround off of Echo Trail (aka Ely-Buycks Road) about 14 miles north of Ely.
g Bass Lake Trail – This 5.6-mile rail loops around Bass Lake in Superior National Forest. The trailhead and parking lot is off of County Road 116 some six miles north of Ely.
g Burntside Lake North Arm Trail – A number of trails connect Burntside State Forest to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Chippewa National Forest, including this 2-mile loop from North Arm to Slim Lake. To reach the trailhead, take County Road 644 to the parking lot near the highway’s end along the North Arm of Burntside Lake.
g Hidden Valley Trail – Several day hiking trails ramble across rolling, forested hills at the Hidden Valley Recreation Area immediately east of Ely. One of those trails – the Bambas Loop – runs 2.1 miles through the rec area’s heart. Parking and the trailhead is at the chalet area on Hidden Valley Road east of Minn. Hwy. 169/East Sheridan Street.
g Kawishiwi Falls Trail – Day hikers can see a 70-foot waterfall on the 1.6-mile round trip Kawishiwi Falls Trail in the Superior National Forest. From Ely, take Fernberg Road/County Hwy. 18 for about five miles; watch for signage marking the parking lot and trailhead.
g Milt Stenlund Trail – The bike path for the unfinished Mesabi State Trail, which would stretch from Grand Rapids to Ely with various spurs, locally runs about 1.25 miles one-way (2.5 miles round trip) between the International Wolf Center (on East Sheridan Street) and North Savoy Road through a wooded area past a pond.
g Taconite State Trail segment – The lengthy 165-mile snowmobile trail runs from Grand Rapids to Ely but can be day hiked in the summer. A good segment to walk heads just a bit under a mile one-way from a dirt lot off of South Second Avenue from Ely Hospital to the shores of the Pioneer Tailings Basin in the Superior National Forest.
g Tomahawk State Trail segment – The 85.5-mile snowmobile trail connects the Taconite State Trail east of Ely to the C.J. Ramstad/North Shore State Trail near Split Rock River. A good segment to walk heads just a bit over a mile one-way between Minn. Hwy. 169 and Section Thirty Road and in the Superior National Forest.
g Trezona Ski Trail – This 4-mile (one-way) trail heads around Miners Lake, which used to be an open pit iron ore mine. Hikers can use the route in summer. Parking and the trailhead is off of Miners Drive East less than a block east of Pioneer Drive in Ely.
g Tri-Lake Loop Trail – This combination of trails runs past three glacial lakes in the heart of scenic Bear Head Lake State Park. Begin the 2.8-mile loop at the Norberg Lake parking lot off of County Road 128.

Read about Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness day hikes close to Ely in Saturday’s blog entry!

Read more about day hiking Northeast Minnesota in my Headin’ to the Cabin: Day Hiking Trails of Northeast Minnesota guidebook.