Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range is finding its groove with mountain biking. A world-class system of nearly 25 miles at Redhead Mountain Bike Park in Chisholm and an ever-growing resort trail system that includes lift-served gravity trails at Giants Ridge in Biwabik are making the Iron Range a mecca of mountain bike trails.
RedHead Mountain Bike Park
Located at Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm, RedHead is a little bit West, a little bit Minnesota, and a whole lot of you’ve-never-seen-this-before. Trails are for all levels and open to hiking. You’ll experience challenges you’ve never seen, and scenery you’ll want to go back for. Trails with satisfy beginners to experts, and hikers are welcome. These trails are hardy, but please refrain from riding for six hours after rain. Bike rentals and repairs available onsite from 30West Bike Shop, and kayak and canoe rentals will get you into the water of 100-foot deep mine lakes.
TRAVEL TIPS: Camping is available at Iron Trail Campground in Chisholm, Stubler Beach (primitive) in Buhl, and West Two Rivers in Mountain Iron. Hotels and vacation rentals offer other options. Visit The Stand, Jim’s Sports Bar, Choppy’s Pizza or Valentini’s in Chisholm for great food, or BoomTown Brewery in Hibbing for a taste of local beer. At the trailhead Minnesota Discovery Center, the museum of the Iron Range, has exhibits inside and out, plus dining options, Redhead swag and more.
Giants Ridge Mountain Bike Trails
Unlike any trails around, these seven, purpose-built gravity trails traverse the ski mountain at Giants Ridge Recreation Area in Biwabik. Access them by ski lift in any season and get ready to fly!
Onsite dining, lodging, disc golf, world-class golf, lakes and hiking trails make this resort a recreation destination. An additional 20 miles of cross-country gravel trails can be found here, too, on the edge of the Superior National Forest Scenic Byway. Stay onsite at The Lodge, Greengate Guest Houses, The Villas. County Inn of Hoyt Lakes is nearby, ablong with camping at Fisherman’s Point and Vermilion Trail.
TRAVEL TIP: Every other Thursday all summer long, enjoy Music in the Park in Biwabik, Pull up a lawnchair or get comfy on a blanket and enjoy the tunes. Food available for purchase.
Lookout Mountain Mountain Bike Trails
Like the Laurentian Divide on which these trails were built, the Lookout Mountain system just north of Virginia, MN is sturdy. Find five miles of single-track dedicated and another six miles of rideable cross-country ski trails. Visit this historic site, which separates the watershed of streams that flow north to the Arctic Ocean from the watershed of streams that flow southeast through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.
TRAVEL TIP: If you’re visiting during the week, stop by Olcott Park in Virginia for local music and food 6-8pm on Tuesday evenings.
In Hibbing, the Maple Hill trail system is 2.9 miles of two-way single track in a northwoods setting just outside of town. Two parking areas lead into a trail system that has some height, and circles a small, scenic pond. Benches are placed throughout for hikers.
TRAVEL TIP: Hibbing is home to some of the best historic sites on the Iron Range. Visit Hull Rust Mine View to see a working mine and up-close mining trucks. Swing by Bob Dylan’s childhood home on Seventh Avenue and the nearby commemorative sculpture at the Hibbing High School.