Unique Hiking Trails
There’s a lot to see when you hike the Range
You don’t have to look far to find unique hiking trails that include stunning natural and manmade landscapes. Don’t forget, iron ore mining began here in the late 1800s. All that digging has changed our surroundings, creating deep, vast mine lakes filled with clear water from hard rock aquifers, and flat-topped mountains, sheer cliff walls and endless aspen and birch forests.
A few our favorite hikes are described below, but you can get more details when you Take a look at our Hiker’s Guide for inspiration and trail maps
Giants Ridge resort in Biwabik is a four-season destination, with nordic and alpine skiing in winter, and mountain biking, hiking, cycling and more in the summer. In spring, summer or fall, climb to the top of the ski hill and look out over the Superior National Forest. Shorter trails and loops add up to about 5 miles total.
Cool beverages and delicious appetizers or meals on the deck await at the Burnt Onion Kitchen.
The Laurentian Divide
At the Laurentian Divide geological marker in the Superior National Forest, find trails for hiking, snowshoeing and mountain biking, plus a picnic area and short fitness track. Look for birds, wild plants and trees, and take in the view from Lookout Mountain, where you’ll see rockbeds scraped by glaciers.
In all, there are 15 miles of looping trails here. A few sections are generally too wet for hiking, and much of the trail is rugged. Bring bug spray and check for ticks after your hike.
Redhead Mountain Bike Park
Stunning trails in reclaimed minelands. Get the camera ready! Hike all day on 25 miles of mountain bike trails (please watch/listen for riders and step aside when you see them coming!) and experience a series of former iron mines, now filled with crystal-clear ground water. Great elevation and wooded areas make the scenery spectacular.
Be sure to visit Minnesota Discovery Center, the trailhead building and museum with exhibits on native history, geology, mining, immigration and more. Kayak and canoe rentals available onsite, as well as food, a trolley ride, mini-golf and more.
The Mesabi Trail
At a nearly-completed 165 miles, this paved trail is open to hikers, too! Walk shorter stretches between towns like Gilbert and McKinley (six miles round trip) for a view of a rock-cut wall, or from the edge of Chestnut Street in Virginia to the state’s tallest bridge, spanning Rouchleau Mine (2.1 miles round trip) with a viewing point along the way.
Big Aspen Recreation Area
Named Big Aspen for an abundance of towering aspen trees, this 21-mile loop trail system also features large Norway pine and other conifers. Scenic overlooks abound as well. Note that this is a multi-use trail.