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Ely Trail Conditions & Updates

Thursday, February 26, 2015

With the fresh snowfall Monday night, the Ely Area now has about 14-18 inches of snow on the ground.  Ely’s the place to be in the winter.  This weekend, Saturday, February 28, the KC Pro East – Oval Ice Races for kids ages 4-14.  For more information go to: or

 Snowmobile Trails

The Taconite Trail The St. Louis County portion of the Taconite Trail from Side Lake to Ely is groomed and in good condition.  The West End of the trail from Side Lake to Hwy 73 is also groomed and in good condition.  Please use caution while riding the trails and watch for exposed rocks and brush.  This trail stretches one hundred sixty-five miles from Grand Rapids to Ely through many scenic vistas of rolling hillsides, lakes, rivers and forests. There are several trail shelters along the trail located at popular stopping points offering scenic vistas.  Local snow depth is 14-18 inches.  Trail base is 3-5 inches. 

The Arrowhead Trail is groomed and varies from very good to excellent condition between the southern and northern ends.  Throughout the trail, please use caution and watch for exposed rocks, brush and current logging activity.  This primary snowmobile trail is the backbone to an extensive Grant-In-Aid trail system that travels through remote areas and provides access to snowmobiling in Voyageurs National Park.   Local snow depth is 18-24 inches with a trail base of 4-6 inches.  

The Putnam-Fishing Lakes Trail is groomed and in good condition.  Please use caution and watch for exposed rocks and brush on the trail.  The Putnam and Fishing Lakes Trails traverse forested, rolling topography through birch, ash, and pine stand.  Several small lakes dot the landscape along these scenic trails.  Local snow depth is 14-18 inches.  Trail base is 3-5 inches.     

 Lake Vermillion State Park and Soudan Underground Mine State Park trails are groomed and in good condition.  Use caution while riding and watch for exposed rocks and brush.  Local snow depth is 14-18 inches with a trail base of 3-5 inches. 

 Taconite Spur Trails and Stony Spur Trails – The Stony Spur trail is 24 miles long.  The Taconite Spur is 39 miles long.  All trails will be groomed by Thursday and are in good condition.  Some rough areas towards Giant’s Ridge.  Use caution.

 Tomahawk Trail & Local Trails–This trail is 85.5 Miles long.   These trails are groomed and in good condition  with a 3-5 inch base.  Watch for an occasional rough spot.  Use caution.  It would be wise at this time to avoid the area between Mud Creek Road and Lake Vermilion as it is pretty much impassable. Lake trails are very good, but be sure to follow the staked trail when choosing lake travel.

Cross Country Ski Trails

Bear Head State Park – A Classic ski track was set on February 21 on the campground, beach and Norberg Lake loops with good results.  However, the loop around Norberg Lake has a stretch with some exposed rock, so please use caution.  The park is beautiful with the snow covered pines.  Snowshoe through the forest.  Search for animal tracks.  White tail deer, pine martens, and wolves have been very active lately.  Two young wolves were spied on the Park Road in the afternoon this week. Take a break at the heated Trail Center on comfy leather chair.  Good condition with a 1-5 inch.  11-16 inch snow depth.

Hidden Valley Ski Trails -  30k trails pass though rolling hills, paper birch and pine stands and newly planted red and white pine plantations.  They are nicely groomed regularly by volunteers of the Ely Nordic Club and funding provided by MN DNR Grants-In-Aid, and membership dues and donations.  The trails are marked by ‘You are here’ maps.  A MN Ski Pass is required to ski this trail and donations are welcomed and appreciated.  Look for the box at the trail start/end.  Cold temperatures have not deterred our trail groomers.  Ski conditions are at their best.  Tracks are everywhere and skate lanes are smooth and flat.  With warmer weather in the forecast, skiing will only get faster.  Pine Park and Hanna Jo trails are open and offer unique back country skiing options for those folks looking for something different.

Trezona Trail - This 6.4 km trail winds around Miners Lake, a historic mining pit and old mine shaft head frame.  The flat to rolling terrain is machine groomed.  Skiers, walkers, snowshoes and dogs are all welcome.  Ski in the morning, during the day or at night, right in the center of town!  Please consider dropping a donation in the red box near the parking lot.  Those funds go specifically to the grooming of the Trezona Trail.  This trail is in the process of being grooming, despite some breakdowns of equipment.  The skate lane is now is great shape and a new track should be set today, Thursday, February 26.   

Babbitt Golf Course Trail – Babbitt golf course is groomed for both classic and skate skiing and is in excellent shape with a solid base of 6 inches.   

North Arm Trails - The North Arm Trails are skier-tracked and are classic in every sense of the word (though skate skiing can be fabulous in late winter on the hard crusted lakes.)  Because only some of the trails are occasionally machine groomed, they can be challenging at times even for intermediate-skilled skiers.  They are some of the most beautiful in the area as they roll up and down over forested ledge rock and across lakes through the wilderness.  The trails are easy to follow and each intersection has a ‘you are here’ map.  Beginner skiers can first test their proficiency on the Moose Horn Loops.  No current report.

North Junction Trail - These trails consist of a series of loops.  There are two loops south of the North Arm Road.  The Beaver Meadow Trail is a beginner to intermediate trail that goes through an area occupied by beaver.  The Moose Trail is an intermediate level that goes through hilly upland areas, a spruce swamp, and a beaver pond.  The west end of the Beaver Meadows Trail leads to Camp Widjiwagan, where the trail follows the road through the camp.  While on the road, watch for vehicles and respect camp property.  The North Junction Trails are in good shape – tracked by skier and quite well covered. Enjoy!

Birch Lake Plantation Trail - This trail system is partially within the first white pine plantation in the Superior National Forest, covering 120 acres.  The plantation was planted in 1915 and has been thinned out in recent years.  While touring the area, you may see white paint on some of the trees.  These mark out research plots to study growth of the trees which remained after the logging operation.  The area east of Forest Road #131 is generally flat.  Those areas west are more challenging but relatively easy.  The Birch Lake Plantation is groomed and is in excellent condition.



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