Taconite State Trail

A ride along the Taconite State Trail will take you on a ride through the history of iron-mining in northeastern Minnesota.  Its name comes from the taconite that is mined from the Mesabi Iron Range, near Hibbing.  When high-grade natural iron ore was plentiful in this region of Minnesota, taconite was considered waste rock.  But as supply of high-grade ore decreased, industry began to view taconite as a resource.  It is known for saving Minnesota’s iron ore mining industry and has since been mined, crushed, concentrated into pellets and shipped via Lake Superior around the world to be made into steel.

Winding through the birch, aspen and pine forests of northern Minnesota, this natural-surface trail stretches 165 miles from Grand Rapids to Ely, Minnesota.  It passes through the communities of Grand Rapids, Tower, Ely and Side Lake.  Camping is available along this section of trail at McCarthy Beach State Park, Pfeifer Lake National Forest, Bear Head Lake State Park and several rustic campsites along the way.  Portions of the trail surpass places that accumulate standing water in the warmer months, so those new to the trail are encouraged to seek more information online or call the local Trails Area office.

The Taconite State Trail intersects with the Arrowhead State Trail 10 miles south of Tower.  The Arrowhead State Trail then connects the town of Tower with Ericsburg near International Falls and the Canada border.  The trail passes through the communities of Tower, Cook, Orr and International falls – all of which offer parking, gas, food and lodging.  Because much of the Arrowhead State Trail navigates through wetlands, approximately 69 miles of the trail are suitable for use during non-frozen months.

For more information, maps and a list of amenities along the trail, visit our website at www.mndnr.gov/statetrails.

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Latitude: 47.236222 Longitude: -93.545529 Elevation: 1292 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Kacie Carlson, Minnesota State Parks and Trails

Trail Difficulty

Easy - Suggested for all riders

Trail Distance

165 miles

Trail Rules and Restrictions

This trail is open to hiking, biking, mountain biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and offers wheelchair accessible segments.

  • Share the trail with others.
  • Stay on designated trails.
  • Keep right so others can pass.
  • Keep all pets on leash.
  • Obey traffic signs and rules.
  • Pack out all garbage and litter.
  • Respect adjoining landowners rights and privacy.
  • Warn other trail users when passing by giving an audible signal.
  • Some horses may be spooked by quiet bikers or in-line skaters. Let them know you are passing.
  • Overnight camping and campfires are permitted only on designated campsites.
  • Do not leave campfires unattended.
  • Enjoy the beauty of wild plants & animals, but leave them undisturbed for all to enjoy.

Trailhead Access and Parking

For more information, maps and a list of amenities along the trail, visit our website at www.mndnr.gov/statetrails.

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