Taconite Trail In Minnesota

Here is everything you need to know about the Taconite Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Minnesota
  • Length: 172 miles.
  • Type: Biking
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_trails/taconite/index.html

The Taconite Trail, located in northern Minnesota, holds a significant historical background that dates back to the early 20th century. The trail follows the path of the former Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway, which played a crucial role in the region’s mining industry. The railway was established in 1891 to transport iron ore from the Mesabi Range to the port city of Duluth, where it could be shipped to steel mills across the country.

During the early years of the railway, the transportation of iron ore was primarily done using steam locomotives. These powerful engines hauled heavy loads of taconite, a low-grade iron ore, from the mines to the docks. The construction of the railway and the subsequent development of the mining industry brought significant economic growth to the region, attracting workers and investors from various parts of the country.

As the demand for iron ore increased, the railway expanded its operations and improved its infrastructure. The tracks were extended, and more efficient diesel locomotives replaced the steam engines. The railway played a vital role in supporting the iron mining industry for several decades, contributing to the growth and prosperity of the surrounding communities.

However, with the decline of the iron mining industry in the late 20th century, the railway faced challenges. Many mines closed, and the demand for transportation dwindled. In response, the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway ceased operations in 2001. However, recognizing the historical significance of the railway and its potential for recreational use, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources converted a portion of the railway into the Taconite Trail. Today, the trail serves as a popular recreational route for hikers, bikers, snowmobilers, and ATV riders, allowing visitors to explore the region’s rich mining history while enjoying the scenic beauty of northern Minnesota.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Grand Rapids Trailhead: Located in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, this trailhead is the starting point of the Taconite Trail. It offers parking facilities and restrooms.

2. Coleraine Trailhead: Situated in Coleraine, Minnesota, this trailhead provides parking facilities and restrooms. It is a popular access point for the Taconite Trail.

3. Bovey Trailhead: Located in Bovey, Minnesota, this trailhead offers parking facilities and restrooms. It is another access point for the Taconite Trail.

4. Marble Trailhead: Situated in Marble, Minnesota, this trailhead provides parking facilities and restrooms. It is a convenient access point for the Taconite Trail.

5. Calumet Trailhead: Located in Calumet, Minnesota, this trailhead offers parking facilities and restrooms. It serves as an access point for the Taconite Trail.

6. Pengilly Trailhead: Situated in Pengilly, Minnesota, this trailhead provides parking facilities and restrooms. It is another access point for the Taconite Trail.

7. Nashwauk Trailhead: Located in Nashwauk, Minnesota, this trailhead offers parking facilities and restrooms. It serves as an access point for the Taconite Trail.

8. Keewatin Trailhead: Situated in Keewatin, Minnesota, this trailhead provides parking facilities and restrooms. It is a convenient access point for the Taconite Trail.

9. Hibbing Trailhead: Located in Hibbing, Minnesota, this trailhead offers parking facilities and restrooms. It serves as an access point for the Taconite Trail.

10. Chisholm Trailhead: Situated in Chisholm, Minnesota, this trailhead provides parking facilities and restrooms. It is another access point for the Taconite Trail.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Taconite Trail. There may be additional smaller access points or trailheads along the trail as well.

Transportation Available

1. Taconite Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service providing convenient transportation along the Taconite Trail.
2. Bike Rentals – Local bike rental service offering bicycles for exploring the Taconite Trail.
3. Taxi Services – Reliable taxi companies available for transportation to and from the Taconite Trail.
4. Car Rentals – Various car rental agencies providing vehicles for independent travel along the Taconite Trail.
5. Public Bus – Local public bus service with routes near the Taconite Trail.
6. Rideshare Services – Popular rideshare platforms offering convenient transportation options for Taconite Trail visitors.
7. ATV Rentals – ATV rental services for off-road exploration of the Taconite Trail.
8. Motorcycle Rentals – Motorcycle rental companies offering two-wheeled transportation for Taconite Trail enthusiasts.
9. Horseback Riding Tours – Guided horseback riding tours providing a unique way to experience the Taconite Trail.
10. Limousine Services – Luxury limousine services available for special occasions or group transportation along the Taconite Trail.


The Taconite Trail is a popular recreational trail located in Minnesota. While I couldn’t find an exhaustive list of amenities available at the trail, here are some common amenities you might find:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available at certain points along the trail, such as trailheads or designated rest areas.

2. Parking: Parking areas or lots are typically available at various trailheads or access points along the Taconite Trail.

3. Camping Sites: Some sections of the trail may have designated camping areas or nearby campgrounds where you can set up tents or park RVs.

4. Picnic Areas: You might find picnic tables or designated areas along the trail where you can stop and have a picnic or enjoy a meal.

5. Shelters: There may be shelters or pavilions along the trail where you can seek shade or take a break from the weather.

6. Benches: Benches are often placed along the trail at regular intervals, providing resting spots for trail users.

7. Water Stations: Some sections of the trail may have water stations or fountains where you can refill your water bottles.

8. Trailhead Facilities: At the trailheads, you might find additional amenities such as information boards, maps, bike racks, and sometimes even visitor centers.

It’s important to note that the availability of these amenities may vary along different sections of the Taconite Trail. It’s recommended to check with local authorities or trail management for specific information on amenities at different points along the trail.

Nearby Services

1. Lodge at Giants Ridge – Comfortable lodging with scenic views near the Taconite Trail.
2. AmericInn by Wyndham Virginia – Convenient hotel offering comfortable rooms and amenities.
3. Super 8 by Wyndham Eveleth – Budget-friendly hotel with basic amenities.
4. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Mountain Iron – Modern hotel with a pool and complimentary breakfast.
5. Subway – Fast-food chain serving sandwiches and salads.
6. McDonald’s – Popular fast-food chain offering burgers, fries, and more.
7. Dairy Queen – Classic ice cream and fast-food chain.
8. Subway – Another Subway location along the Taconite Trail.
9. Essentia Health-Virginia Clinic – Medical clinic providing emergency services and healthcare.
10. Fairview Range Medical Center – Full-service hospital offering emergency medical care.

Taconite Trail Difficulty Notes

The Taconite Trail, located in northern Minnesota, offers a moderate difficulty level for outdoor enthusiasts. Spanning over 165 miles, this multi-use trail provides a diverse terrain that can challenge both hikers and bikers. The trail consists of crushed limestone, making it suitable for various activities such as hiking, biking, and snowmobiling. While the trail does have some inclines and declines, they are generally gradual, allowing for a manageable experience for most skill levels. With its scenic views of forests, lakes, and wildlife, the Taconite Trail offers a rewarding adventure that is both enjoyable and accessible to outdoor enthusiasts of different abilities.

Features And Attractions

Info not available.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
3. Respect the natural environment and wildlife along the trail.
4. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail.
5. Bicycles and pedestrians have the right of way.
6. Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
7. Camping or overnight stays are not permitted along the trail.
8. Fires and open flames are strictly prohibited.
9. Observe and adhere to any seasonal restrictions or closures.
10. Pack out all trash and leave no trace of your visit.
11. Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at trailheads or along the trail.

Seasonal Information

The Taconite Trail, located in northern Minnesota, offers a picturesque and adventurous experience for outdoor enthusiasts. The best times of the year to visit the trail largely depend on personal preferences and the activities you wish to engage in. However, the summer and fall seasons are generally considered the prime times to explore the Taconite Trail.

During the summer months, the trail is bustling with hikers, bikers, and ATV riders. The weather is pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 27 degrees Celsius), making it ideal for outdoor activities. The trail is surrounded by lush greenery, and the scenic beauty of the surrounding forests and lakes is at its peak during this time. Visitors can enjoy hiking or biking along the well-maintained trail, taking in the stunning views and spotting wildlife along the way.

As autumn arrives, the Taconite Trail transforms into a vibrant tapestry of colors as the leaves change. The fall foliage is a sight to behold, with hues of red, orange, and gold painting the landscape. This season offers a unique and breathtaking experience for nature lovers and photographers. The cooler temperatures, ranging from 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 21 degrees Celsius), make it comfortable for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and even camping.

It is important to note that the Taconite Trail may have seasonal closures during the winter months. Heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures can make the trail unsafe for recreational use. However, this closure does not mean that the area becomes inaccessible. In fact, winter brings its own set of activities to enjoy, such as snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. The Taconite Trail is a popular destination for snowmobilers, with its well-groomed trails and scenic winter landscapes.

In conclusion, the best times to visit the Taconite Trail are during the summer and fall seasons when the weather is pleasant, and the natural beauty of the surroundings is at its peak. However, each season offers its own unique charm and recreational opportunities. Whether you prefer hiking, biking, ATV riding, or snowmobiling, the Taconite Trail has something to offer year-round.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces are available near the trailhead, providing easy access for individuals with mobility challenges.
2. Accessible Trailhead: The trailhead is equipped with ramps and smooth surfaces, allowing wheelchair users to easily enter and exit the trail.
3. Paved Surface: The Taconite Trail features a smooth, paved surface, ensuring a comfortable and accessible experience for wheelchair users.
4. Wide Pathways: The trail offers wide pathways, allowing individuals using wheelchairs or mobility aids to comfortably navigate alongside other trail users.
5. Rest Areas with Benches: Along the trail, there are rest areas equipped with benches, providing individuals with disabilities a place to take a break and enjoy the surroundings.
6. Accessible Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are available at designated locations along the trail, ensuring convenience for individuals with mobility challenges.
7. Signage with Braille: Trail signage includes Braille, enabling visually impaired individuals to access important information about the trail.
8. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas along the trail are designed to be wheelchair accessible, allowing individuals to enjoy outdoor dining and socializing.
9. Assistance Animals Allowed: The Taconite Trail welcomes assistance animals, providing support to individuals with disabilities during their trail experience.
10. Accessible Information: Trail maps and brochures are available in accessible formats, such as large print or electronic versions, ensuring equal access to information for all visitors.

Safety Information

When visiting the Taconite Trail, it is important to keep the following safety information in mind:

1. Trail Conditions: Check the trail conditions before heading out. Weather conditions, maintenance work, or other factors may affect the trail’s accessibility or safety. Visit the official website or contact local authorities for up-to-date information.

2. Trail Etiquette: Follow proper trail etiquette to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. Stay on designated paths, yield to other trail users, and keep pets on a leash. Be respectful of nature and leave no trace behind.

3. Weather Awareness: Be aware of the weather forecast and dress accordingly. Minnesota’s weather can be unpredictable, so bring appropriate clothing layers, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Carry extra water and stay hydrated, especially during hot summer months.

4. Trail Markers and Signage: Pay attention to trail markers and signage along the Taconite Trail. They provide important information about directions, distances, and potential hazards. Familiarize yourself with the trail map and carry it with you for reference.

5. Wildlife Encounters: The Taconite Trail passes through natural areas, so be prepared for wildlife encounters. Respect their space and observe from a safe distance. Do not feed or approach wild animals, as it can be dangerous for both you and the animals.

6. Bike Safety: If cycling on the trail, wear a properly fitted helmet and follow traffic rules. Be visible to others by using lights and reflective gear, especially during low-light conditions. Maintain a safe speed and be cautious when passing or being passed by other trail users.

7. Emergency Preparedness: Carry a fully charged cell phone and inform someone about your plans and estimated return time. In case of an emergency, call 911 or the appropriate local emergency number. Be aware that cell phone reception may be limited in some areas, so plan accordingly.

8. First Aid Kit: Carry a basic first aid kit with essentials like bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any necessary personal medications. It is always better to be prepared for minor injuries or ailments that may occur during your visit.

Remember, safety is paramount when enjoying outdoor activities. By being prepared, aware of your surroundings, and respectful of others, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience on the Taconite Trail.

Conservation Notes

The Taconite Trail, located in northeastern Minnesota, is a popular recreational trail that stretches for approximately 165 miles. In terms of conservation status, the trail is well-maintained and managed to ensure the preservation of its natural resources and wildlife habitats. The trail passes through a diverse range of ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, and lakeshores, which are carefully protected to maintain their ecological integrity.

Efforts have been made to minimize the impact of human activities on the trail’s surroundings. The trail is designed to follow existing logging roads and railroad grades, reducing the need for extensive land clearing. This approach helps to preserve the natural vegetation and minimize disturbance to wildlife populations. Additionally, the trail is regularly monitored for any signs of erosion or habitat degradation, and necessary measures are taken to mitigate these issues.

The Taconite Trail also serves as a corridor for wildlife movement, allowing animals to traverse through different habitats. This connectivity is crucial for maintaining healthy populations and genetic diversity. Conservation organizations and local authorities work together to ensure that the trail’s design and maintenance consider the needs of wildlife, such as providing underpasses or bridges to facilitate safe passage across busy roads.

Overall, the conservation status of the Taconite Trail is commendable, with ongoing efforts to protect and preserve the natural environment it traverses. By balancing recreational use with conservation practices, the trail continues to offer a unique experience for outdoor enthusiasts while safeguarding the ecological integrity of the surrounding landscapes.

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