March 5, 2014
The Ely area has 38-45 inches of snow on the ground. Warmer temperatures have returned this week.
Taconite Snowmobile Trail - This trail stretches 165 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. This trail is groomed both east and west and is in very good to excellent condition. An “Ice Flowage” is present on the trail, on the west side of Ely and it has been signed. Please drive safely, slow down and move over on all corners and hills. 6-12 inch base. Groomed Mileage: 165 Miles
Stony Spur Trail – This trail is groomed and is in great shape! Groomed Mileage: 24 Miles
Tomahawk Trail & Local Trails– The Tomahawk trail stretches from Ely to the North Shore Trail. The local trails include the Grassy Loop and Burntside Lake link. Trails are groomed and in good condition. Many lakes have slush on them now, so you would be wise to stay on the staked trail when choosing lake travel. 6-12 inch base on trails Groomed Mileage: 85.5 Miles
Taconite Spur Trail – This trail stretches from the Taconite Trail to Babbitt and then from Babbitt to Giant’s Ridge. These trails are groomed and are in great shape! Groomed Mileage: 39 Miles
Bear Island State Forest - Putnam and Fishing Lakes Trails traverse 17 miles of forested, rolling topography through birch, ash, and pine stands. Several small lakes dot the landscape along these scenic trails. These trails are groomed and in excellent condition. As always, please ride with caution. 12 inch base. Groomed mileage: 17 Miles
Cross Country Ski Trails
Bear Head State Park - This trail provides rolling topography through birch and pine stands. You can expect to see wildlife ranging from deer, wolves, moose, martens and squirrels. Norberg was packed on Friday, February 28th. Track scheduled to be set on Saturday, March 1st. The strong winds have littered the trails with tree debris. Use caution while traversing Norberg Trail as there is some off camber track. 10 “ base, fair conditions. Groomed mileage is 7 miles. Difficulty is intermediate to expert (track).
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. Hidden Valley has a lot of snow. It’s soft out there, but the skiing is great. Expect Birch Highlands, the Sommers, Bambas and Voyageur’s Highway to be in the best condition. Hannah’s Trail is wonderful as is the Pine Park Connector and most likely Pine Park itself. The current warmer temperatures will help consolidate the base and also speed things up a bit. Classic tracks are perfect everywhere, and best skiing is in the morning. Skate skiing is best in the afternoons.
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 was groomed on Friday, February 28. Both the skate lane and classic track were renewed. Plans to touch up the skate lane again today are in place. Deer have been trespassing on ski trail!
Babbitt Golf Course Trail –Babbitt Golf Course trail was groomed Tuesday, March 4 for skate and classic skiing and is in excellent condition.
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. Yesterday was Groundhog Day and I don’t know if the sun was out and he saw his shadow or not, but I’m sure there is six more weeks of winter. The trail skiing is still great with a nice deep base. The lake skiing is generally good also with reports of just a few small slush areas on or near the tracked routes. Bring your scraper just in case. (Posted Monday, February 3)
Hegman Lake Pictographs – BWCAW entry point, about 15 miles north of Ely off the Echo Trail. Walk the portage down to the lake and then ski the lakes to the pictographs. North and South Hegman are very nice small scenic lakes that have the bonus of the pictographs. This is a popular spot for ski and snowshoe and you will most likely find a trail made by previous groups on the west side of the lake. It’s a good idea to follow the trails of other skiers to avoid open water or slush.
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. This trail is well covered and has been packed by snowshoes since the last big snowfall. Great skiing conditions.
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 was packed and tracked for classic skiing on Tuesday, March 4 and is in excellent condition.