Measbi Trail Gilbert Rock Cut

Explore the Mesabi Trail – Your Guide to Biking The Iron Range

From the Mississippi River in the west to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in the east, the paved Mesabi Trail runs like a ribbon across the Iron Range. The trail passes through many of our communities and covers beautiful landscapes that will give you great reasons to pause. 

In this guide, we’ll explore what makes the Mesabi Trail so special, biking routes, recent updates, and other helpful tips. Let’s get started.

Three cyclists ride on the paved Mesabi Trail in northern Minnesota

What is Mesabi Trail and Why Should You Cycle It?

Mesabi Trail is a 162-mile-long bike trail in Minnesota’s Iron Range region, winding through beautiful wooded areas and past historic mining operations. The paved trail passes to 28 communities in northern Minnesota, including Hibbing, Mountain Iron, and Eveleth. 

The trail takes you through stunning scenery and offers both challenging climbs and thrilling downhills, making it a cyclist’s paradise. This is NOT a rails-to-trails trail! You may find some flat stretches, and you may find some straight stretches, but they are few and far between and rarely in the same place! We promise varied terrain, plenty of views of water, woods, and wetlands, and a challenge if you like. This year, a new section of the trail near Nashwauk will be completed, adding to the already impressive network of trails. 

The Mesabi Trail has some fun gems along the way. There’s the floating bridge over the St. Louis River and stunning views of the Laurentian and Vermilion ranges.

One of the highlights of the Mesabi Trail is the section that goes through the Mesabi Iron Range. This section of the trail will give you a glimpse into the area’s rich history of iron ore mining. The trail crosses through the region’s mining towns and past the Minnesota Discovery Center, providing a fascinating look at the heritage of the area. 

With well-maintained signage and online wheel passes available, riding the Mesabi Trail is a seamless and enjoyable experience. If you’re looking for a challenging and rewarding biking adventure, the Mesabi Trail in Minnesota’s iconic north is the place for you.

Best Biking Routes and Destinations along Mesabi Trail

Ready to ride? The Mesabi Trail is dotted with incredible routes and must-see spots perfect for every type of cyclist. From serene lake loops to exciting hill climbs, we’ve got the scoop on where to go for both scenery and challenge. Let’s dive into the best routes and destinations that make biking on the Mesabi Trail unforgettable!

Chisholm to Biwabik Section

The Chisholm to Biwabik section of the trail is a favorite among cyclists for its picturesque landscapes and charming towns along the way. As you bike, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the rich mining history of the region, not to mention the views and natural scenery!

Stop at Hull Rust Mine View and the Greyhound Bus Museum in Hibbing, Minnesota, the Discovery Center in Chisholm, the Locomotive Park in Mountain Iron, and Olcott Park in Virginia – they’re all right along the trail!

Cross the state’s tallest bridge in Virginia, and enjoy amazing scenery.

Plus, you can stop in many communities along the way to experience live music, homemade candy, ice cream, pizza, beaches, and more. Use the trail’s shuttle service for the ride back to your lodging if you like, and get your bike checked at a local bike shop like Bikes on Howard in Hibbing or Mesabi Recreation in Virginia. You can find more information on the Mesabi Trail website.

Riding The Entire Trail – Grand Rapids to Ely

If you’re looking for a challenge, biking Mesabi Trail from start to finish might be for you. As you pedal the full length of the trail, you’ll get a taste of both the physical challenge and the sheer joy of long-distance biking. This ride is a true testament to endurance and the spirit of adventure.

The Mesabi Trail in northern Minnesota winds through 28 towns.

Fun Fact – Trail Towns on the Mesabi Iron Range

Did you know? The Mesabi Trail winds through some of the most charming and historic towns on the Iron Range. Each town boasts its own unique flavor and story, making them more than just rest stops—they’re key parts of what makes the trail special.

  1. Hibbing

  2. Chisholm

  3. Buhl

  4. Kinney

  5. Mountain Iron

  6. Virginia

  7. Eveleth

  8. Gilbert

  9. Biwabik

  10. Aurora

The greatest distance between any two towns on The Range is around seven miles. See more of our recommended itineraries, here.

Planning Your Mesabi Trail Adventure

At Iron Range, we’re pretty familiar with the elevation on this trail, and the areas to park and even swim if you like. Here are our best tips for planning your trip.

A family cycles on the paved Mesabi Trail in northern Minnesota.

Shuttle Services and Rental Options

The Mesabi Trail Shuttle Service is a great friend to have if you want to ride from point A to point B but not back again. Just have them pick you up for the return trip. Or, ride from one overnight accommodation to the next and have them haul your luggage. However you want to ride, they’re here to help!

There are also several bike rentals along the way. A few of our favorites are:

  • Bikes on Howard & Bike Rental at 407 East Howard Street, Hibbing, MN 55746. Phone number: 218-262-0899

  • Mesabi Recreation Bike Shop Sales & Service at 720 9th Street North, Virginia, MN 55792. Phone number: 218-749-6719

Accommodations and Lodging Recommendations

Whether you prefer a cozy lodge or a camping experience surrounded by nature, there are plenty of options to suit your preferences.

Find campgrounds on or near the trail in Buhl (rustic sites overlooking lakes), Eveleth (Veteran’s Park on Ely Lake), Gilbert (Lake Ore Be Gone and West 40 Campground), and Biwabik (Vermilion Trail). Vacation rentals, hotels, and resort properties also have easy access to the mighty Mesabi Trail.

We’ll Help You Plan Your Ride

Questions? Call us for ideas on where to ride, eat, and stay, plus trail conditions and more. We’re happy to send you a free map and help plan your trip, or you can access one by clicking here. PS the Mesabi Trail makes for great hiking, too!

You can reach us at 218-749-8161 for more information.

Updates and Events on Mesabi Trail

Stay in the loop! The Mesabi Trail is always buzzing with new updates and exciting events perfect for cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Here’s what’s new and upcoming on the Mesabi Trail!

Exciting Trail Additions and Improvements

This year, the Mesabi Trail is set to undergo exciting additions and improvements to enhance the cycling experience for riders. From new trail sections to improved amenities along the route, you can expect a more enjoyable and seamless journey through the Iron Range. Since there is some ongoing work being done, we recommend checking the Mesabi Trail website for the most recent updates on any closures.

Events and Races Scheduled for 2024

In 2024, the Mesabi Trail will host the Mesabi Trail Tour, an annual highlight. The event is set for Saturday, August 10. This tour offers five distinct routes, ranging from 12 to 70 miles, all starting and finishing in Buhl. It’s a day packed with adventure, whether you ride for fun or for the challenge.


Explore the Mesabi Trail – Your Guide to Biking The Iron Range

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