Sunday, September 14, 2014

Great day hikes await on Mesabi Trail

Mesabi State Trail. Photo courtesy of Minnesota Dept. of Tourism.
Northwoods forests, turquoise lakes, and intriguing rock outcroppings await day hikers on several segments of the Mesabi State Trail in Minnesota’s St. Louis County.

The unfinished bicycle/walking trail runs from Grand Rapids to Ely. When completed, the paved path, including its stem trails, will stretch 115 miles. The trail can be divided into several smaller day hikes that are easy for families with children to handle.

In St. Louis County, the trail rambles through several communities, stretching from Hibbing and Virginia north to Tower and Ely. Day hike segments that are heavy on nature, from west to east, include:
g Greyhound Bus Museum to Morton Road segment – In Hibbing, the trail runs 5.2-miles round trip past three ponds. Park at the Greyhound Bus Museum, head west on the trail, and turn back at Morton Road.
g Carver Road to County Road 125 segment – In Buhl, head east from the parking lot off County Road 582 north of Culver Avenue to County Road 125 for a 2-mile round trip. The trail heads alongside a lake through a wooded area.
g County Road 25 to Whiteside Road segment – South of Kinney, walk west from the parking lot off of County Road 25 north of U.S. Hwy. 169, turning around at Whiteside Road. The trail runs past two ponds for a 3-mile round trip.
g Mountain Iron east segment – In Mountain Iron, park in the lot off of County Road 582 (aka Main Street) near the County Road 102 (aka Maple Avenue) intersection and head southeast between two ponds. When the trail turns northeast, turn back for a 1.2-mile round trip.
g Virginia west segment – On Virginia’s west side, take the trail just south of the Third Street (aka County Road 109) and Third Avenue (aka Parkville Street) for a 3.6-miles round trip through pine forest to the end of the Mountain Iron east segment. Parking for a couple of vehicles is available at the Third Street and Third Avenue intersection.
g Gilbert south segment – In Gilbert, take the trail southwest near the shores of Lake Ore-Be-Gone then through a pine forest, turning back at County Road 97 for an 3.4-mile round trip. Park in the lot off of Wisconsin Avenue southeast of the Kansas Avenue intersection.
g Embarrass Lake to Giants Ridge segment – A 3.6-miles round trip walk through a thick forest alongside the Embarrass River runs from Embarrass Lake to Giants Ridge Road in Biwabek. A parking lot is off of County Road 135 on the north shore of Embarrass Lake with an underpass to get north of the highway.
g Tower Civic Center to Lake Vermillion segment – In Tower, the trail parallels and twice crosses the East Two River. Park at the Civic Center and hike the trail northwest about a mile to Tower Park on Lake Vermilion.
g Downtown Soudan to McKinley Park Road segment – In Soudan, a spur to the main trail curves north of town through pines along the edge of Soudan Underground Mine State Park. Park at the trailhead off of Main Street between First Avenue and Church Street; turn back at County Road 4596/McKinley Park Road for a 1.2-mile round trip.
g Milt Stenlund Trail – In Ely, the trail reaches its eastern end after running about 1.25 miles one-way (2.5 miles round trip) through a wooded area past a pond from North Savoy Road to the International Wolf Center (on East Sheridan Street); park the center. Those wishing to extend the hike can head alongside the southshore of Miner’s Lake.

Related article:
g Day hiking the Mesabi State Trail in Itasca County

Find out about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.