One of the best ways to see the Iron Range is to hop on a bike and pedal the scenic bike trails that crisscross Minnesota’s north woods. Multiple trail options give everyone a chance to experience the quiet forests, clear lakes and welcoming communities on the Range.
The Mesabi Trail is the Iron Range’s premier bike trail. This bike ride takes you to the top of scenic vistas, the deep quiet of the pine forests, and all the sunny open green spaces in between. It’s currently over 115 miles and when complete will reach 132 miles across northern Minnesota. The trails are paved, wide (10 to 14 feet across) and easy to find with 23 access points along the route. Get your Wheel Pass ($5.oo for a three-day pass) and you’re ready to ride.
Along the Mesabi Trail, find places to stay, eat and shop, or just enjoy the peaceful ride through the woods. At Giants Ridge Recreation Area, rent bicycles and consult Chris Johnson, manager of Mesabi Trail Shuttle Service, for trip plans including the best routes for your group plus lodging and dining recommendations. Shuttle service includes transportation for riders, bikes, gear and luggage, with bicycle repair options at the Giants Ridge Rental Shop.
The Mesabi Trail from the resort to points east and west takes hikers and cyclists past Wynne and Sabin Lakes and beautiful northwoods scenery.
To the west of Giants Ridge, the Carey Lake Bike Trail takes you from Vic Power City Park in Hibbing to the Carey Lake Recreation Area. Both the recreation area and bike trail are part of Hibbing’s park system. The paved trail starts just past Hibbing Community College and runs along Dupont Road. Once you get to the recreation area you can follow the trails to Carey Lake and find a swimming beach and fishing pier, or stay on your bike and go for an off-road trek around the park. Travel along the lowland bogs, laden with narrow black spruce trees and Labrador tea, or journey into the jack pine woods with their gnarly branches and fire-dependent cones. Any trail is a good choice here.
Need an off-road adventure? Just as the Mesabi Trail is king of the paved experience, the trails at Giants Ridge are the Range’s best-of-the-best for mountain bikers. Climb 40 km of maintained mountainside trails, consisting of single track, cross-country ski trails, snowmobile trails and abandoned logging roads. For the truly adventurous, join the “Legendary Laurentian” bike ride Saturday, September 20 at Giants Ridge. This multi-surface “gravel” event is $20 per person and includes lunch and door prizes.
Besides the trails at Giants Ridge, several others in the area offer great fall mountain bike experiences. Be prepared for the hills of the aspen forests and the cool of the wetlands as you travel into the wild. Check out the Arrowhead State Trail, Big Aspen or Taconite Trail for your next ride.
Wherever you go, enjoy the wind in your face, the sun on your back, and your wheels spinning fast as you bike the scenic Iron Range.