Hike the Iron Range; there’s something for everyone!
The Mesabi Iron Range has a number of trail systems adjacent to our communities, plus many within a short drive of Iron Range towns. Some hikes are rich with history and mine views; others are stunning with untouched natural beauty. Bring a camera and binoculars, water, and provisions to make your hiking experience unforgettable. Whether you are looking for a trail close to town or one far from the nearest highway, an easy walking trail with your family or a challenging hike with a friend — there is something for everyone. Do you want to learn about northwoods plants? See wildlife in its habitat? Are you looking for exercise in a peaceful northwoods setting? Do you want to immerse yourself in the history of the Iron Range? See stunning fall foliage or hike in the quiet shoulder season between fall and winter? Our area hiking opportunities are all this, and more!
Hiking Trails at RedHead
Best practices in integrating pedestrian use into the bike park would include 1) giving pedestrian users suggested routes that will provide good/variety of experiences, 2) instilling a “yield to bikes” guideline by moving into a single file and stepping slightly off the inside/uphill side of the trail, and 3) combining 1 and 2, managing pedestrian use in the opposite direction of bike use when practicable.
Pedestrian Suggested Routes
Spell Bound Loop- Beginning on the lower leg, walking to an enhanced overlook (clear trees and provide 180-degree views), and coming back on the upper leg (generally against most bike traffic) provides a 15-30-minute walk. This would be an easy walk.
North Star Loop
North Star Loop (Counter Clockwise) ~4-mile loop, building off the Spell Bound direction of travel, that brings pedestrians down to and back out of the pit. This would be a moderately challenging experience. Expect a 30-minute run at expert pace and up to 1.5 hour hike.
Fracture Falls Loop
Fracture Falls Loop (Counter Clockwise, Spell Bound South-North Star-Glen Line-Fractured Falls- Glen Line-North Star-Spell Bound North) ~4 miles moderately challenging loop that brings visitors to the falls, up the narrow valley, past the geologically anomalous hematite formation, and back to the Discovery Center. This is a moderately challenging route that has significant steep slopes/exposure that make some users uncomfortable. Expect a 30-minute run at expert pace to a 1.5-hour hike.
Red Hop Loop
Red Hop Loop (Counter Clockwise, Spell Bound South-North Star-Glen Line-Bright Side North-Red Hop-North Star South) ~6-mile loop that provides expansive views of the mining pit and walls. This is a difficult hike/run due to its length and elevation loss/gain. Expect an hour run at expert pace to a 2.5+- hour hike at a moderate pace.
When we finish the route around the pit to the east, this will add an iconic hike/run to the pedestrian offerings. We would likely want to continue routing pedestrians in a counter clockwise direction, as the trail will tie into the Red Hop Trail at its easternmost turn. This would become an approximately 10-mile experience.
Hike up Lookout Mountain for an amazing view of the Superior National Forest and this north-south watershed. This 15 mile trail system features 1-4 hour hikes, or shorter walks. Tap this trail for great fall foliage views. This trail system is open for hunting part of the year. Trailhead is just 4 miles north of Virginia on Hwy 53. Get a map.
Carey Lake Trail
Family-friendly with picnic areas, swimming beach and fishing pier. Trail loops are 2-4 miles long through woods near the lake. Pines and birch make for colorful views. Inside Hibbing city limits. Get a map.
Ten miles of trails at Giants Ridge in Biwabik afford excellent forest views with plenty of lakes to dot the landscape. Hike through forests, to the top of the ski hill, and near Wynne Creek. Nice fall colors on three loop trails, all between 3 and 4 miles long. Click for maps.
Bird Lake Trail
12 miles of trail following the Superior National Forest Scenic Byway from Hoyt Lakes to Bird Lake. Hike through black spruce bogs, and aspen and birch stands.Canoe access to Bird Lake is available and a picnic spot overlooks the lake. Get a map.
Colby Lake Trail
For a scenic trail even little ones can explore, try the Colby Lake Trail, also in Hoyt Lakes. Access it from the parking lot of the Country Inn. Get trail map here.
This paved cycling and hiking trail offers amazing views of mine pit lakes and natural lakes across the Range. Click here for the map and find easy access points in every Mesabi Range community for a short or long walk or ride! This trail will give you a complete taste of the many faces of the Iron Range.
Big Aspen Recreation Area
Year round trail system just north of Virginia featuring scenic views of the Rice River valley, and a diversity of flora and fauna. Hike at the peak of fall foliage, or wait until the leaves are down for some off-trail exploring and new views of landscape and wildlife. These trails are open to hunting for part of the year so stay informed about Minnesota hunting seasons, and wear orange on the trails at these times. Get the map.
Enjoying Iron Range trails and views
Many of our trails offer exceptional views of our northwoods fall foliage. And take advantage of the time between fall and winter to hike, when trails offer new views, leaves are down, and wildlife may be active. (Stay informed about Minnesota hunting seasons, and wear orange during this time, as you may be sharing the trails with bird hunters.) The beauty of hiking on the Iron Range is that it can be done all year long. Different seasons bring different benefits to Iron Range hiking. See the blaze of fall leaves; smell the forest as it wakes up in spring. Enjoy the clear white beauty of a crisp winter hike on an Iron Range trail. Spend quality time with your family, friends, or by yourself with one of the simplest and most rewarding outdoor activities possible — hiking the Iron Range. Round out your hiking trip with lodging and dining; and explore this website for info on that and more, like attractions and events.