The Taconite State Trail stretches 165 miles from Grand Rapids to Ely and intersects with the Arrowhead State Trail just west of Lake Vermillion. The trail head is located at the Itasca County Fairgrounds in Grand Rapids and the first 6 miles are paved for biking and in-line skating. The remainder of the natural surface trail is used primarily for snowmobiling in the winter. The trail goes through a few areas that have standing water in the summer, however portions of the trail are suitable for horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking.
The Taconite Trail winds through forests of birch and aspen intertwined with pine, leading the visitor by many isolated lakes and streams. From Grand Rapids heading north, you see the impact of the taconite and iron mining industry. The northern portion of the trail terrain is rolling and tree covered as it winds through state and national forest land.
Eight trail waysides and picnic facilities offer scenic vistas of the hills, lakes and rivers of this area. The trail also links three state parks: Bear Head Lake, Soudan Underground Mine, and McCarthy Beach. The landscape in and around Bear Head Lake State Park is very rolling and rocky. Click here to download a Taconite Trail map. (315 Kb .pdf file)