fresh snow on snowmobile trails on minnesota's north shore

north shore snowmobile trails, maps & rentals

Whether you are looking to play in the powder, skim across frozen lakes, or tour first-class trails, snowmobiling is intrinsic to winter up north. Snowmobile trails on the North Shore provide the opportunity to explore the spectacular Lake Superior shoreline, adjacent ridges, lakes, forests and towns.

Trail Ethics and Common Sense
Snowmobile trails on the North Shore cross private and public land and are developed and maintained through a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) Grant-In-Aid program. Local snowmobile groups act in conjunction with the state to create, groom and maintain area trails. Snowmobiling is free of charge in Minnesota as long your snowmobile is registered in MN. All others require an annual $51 permit [details on how to buy]. A 50 MPH speed limit is in effect unless otherwise posted.

north shore state trail

Rugged terrain is tamed by this 146-mile trail system. Leaving Duluth, the trail carves a lateral path through the backwoods and cliffs rising out of Lake Superior until it reaches its final destination, Grand Marais.

Numerous local trails connect with the State Trail, providing snowmobilers access to river banks, waterfalls, overlooks, wilderness loops and small pockets of civilization. The trail features many entry points, maintained rest areas, parking areas and bridges and is groomed in its entirety on a weekly basis. Gas, food and lodging are offered on some of the spur / local trails. Be prepared; sled with a friend and bring tools and parts, food and water, fuel and oil, and a cell phone. Many parts of the trail have NO CELL coverage. Leave your itinerary with a friend or the front desk staff and check the local forecast.

Enjoy your ride!

See the map

** a note about maps

Many of the map links below connect to the MN DNR’s state trail snowmobile map, as does the link above; as clubs offer specific trail maps, we will post them.

The DNR now offers an Interactive state trail map, too.

north shore snowmobile trails

mile 0.0

Ride the skyline ridge, around Spirit Mountain and the woodlands behind the zoo. This trail connects to the Willard Munger State Trail which leads south towards Carlton, Minnesota and to the Duluth East Trails which connect to the North Shore State Trail.

Length: 33 miles

mile 5.0

From 1-35, continue to London Road, drive north on 61st Avenue East, which turns into Lester River Road. Snowmobile out of Lester Park into the Hawk Ridge Valley and city woodlands to the start of the North Shore State Trail. This trail winds back east then north before connecting to the state trail.

Length: 12 miles

mile 27.5

Trailhead and parking just east of town on Highway 61. The trail brings the rider from town to the CJ Ramstad/State Trail. Or to directly access the state trail, from Highway 61, drive north on County Road 2 about 8.5 miles to the parking area.

Length: 9.6 miles

mile 39.5

From the main parking area, past the the old Interpretive Center on the east side of the river, this trail climbs the ridge and leads through the forest to the state trail.

Length: 9 mi

mile 54.9

These trail systems traverse some great topography! From Beaver Bay, Silver Bay and Tettegouche State Park the trails climb hillsides, skirt gorges and rivers and criss cross the backwoods. Finland provides quick access to the state trail and trails leading north to Isabella and Ely. Note the state park trails quickly connect to / are part of the area trail system.

Length: varies; from Highway 61 to the state rail is about 9 miles with lots of loops and systems to ride in between

mile 70.7

snowmobile stopped on groomed trail in the woods near finland mn

Tomahawk Trail

we include this trail because it is the link to riding to Ely MN from the North Shore. Taking its leave at the Lake and Cook County border, the Tomhawk aims four miles north to Crooked Lake. An option to leave from Finland on the Finland Trail which intersects with the Tomahawk, south of Isabella.  Enroute to Ely, you’ll travel the secluded territory of the Superior National Forest. The Tomahawk connects with are trails.

Length: 86 miles

mile 92.7

The Lutsen trail system spans diverse topography. Set just below the ridgeline, trails connect Tofte and Lutsen, wind behind Oberg Mountain, roll over heavily timbered land, feature several scenic overlook areas, and connects to the North Shore State Trail.

Length: 67 miles

mile 107.3

The last leg of the North Shore State Trail is the Grand Marais Trail. A junction on Forest Road 1367 presents the option of riding into town or heading onto the Gunflint Trail System. Currently only a few specific city streets in Grand Marais are open to snowmobiling with a 10 MPH speed limit.

Length: 6 miles

mile 107.3

Spectacular touring trails branch north of Devil Track Lake to the Canadian border lake, Saganaga. From the east end of Devil Track, the Gunflint Trail spans the entire area. From the west end of the lake, the X Trail runs parallel to the Gunflint Trail to the point they meet near Poplar River. Several trails connect the two along the way. Riding the Gunflint introduces you to moose, pine marten, Canadian and Blue Jays, and infrequently, timber wolves. You will have a much better chance of seeing wolf sign – tracks and kill sites. Off the Gunflint Trail shortly before it joins the X Trail is the Clearwater Spur leading to Clearwater Lake at the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). Snowmobiling is not allowed in the BWCAW. You’ll be riding in secluded areas, services are available at some lodges on the trail, with a concentration around Poplar Lake, the midway point.

Length: 108 miles

mile 143.9

snowmobile maps and trails

Grand Portage Snowmobile Trails

Miles of scenic trails traverse the hilly terrain rising north from Lake Superior. The two main trail centers are located at Grand Portage Lodge & Casino (south of Hwy 61) and at Mineral Center (from Hwy 61, drive north on Mineral Center Rd / Co. Rd. 17 for about 5 miles to the trail center. Trails criss-cross the back country with one trail leading to Ryden’s Border Store & Gas Station on the US / Canada border.

Length: 100+ miles

snowmobile rentals

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