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Minnesota Snowmobiling

Guide to Backcountry Snowmobile Trails

Minnesota snowmobiling trails wind throughout the state including within most Minnesota state parks. Explore backcountry snowmobile trails in every region.

Minnesota Snowmobiling

The North Shore snowmobiling trail is sometimes called the "Trail of Dreams." You will want this adventure on your winter "bucket list." Though a very popular trail, it stretches over more that 146 miles so you will often feel that you have it to yourself.

This trail was recently renamed the C.J. Ramstad trail. You can read plaques along the trail about Ramstad's passion for snowmobiling in Minnesota.

The Trail of Dreams runs above the North Shore of Lake Superior from Duluth to Grand Marais. Enjoy breath-taking views of the lake below. Side trails will connect you to the shore and towns along the way.

Other Trails in The Area: Explore the sixty-two mile Reservoir Trail near Duluth. There are ninety three miles of side trails between Schroeder and Cascade River State Park. Ride 80 miles of trail near Silver Bay; the Yukon Trail between Two Harbors and Isabella; the Tomahawk Trail between Schroeder and Ely; and the Gunflint Trail out of Grand Marais. From the Gunflint you can take a side trip to Grand Portage. 

North Shore State Parks with Minnesota snowmobiling trails are: Cascade River, Tettegouche, Temperance, and Gooseberry Falls.

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Backcountry Snowmobile Trails

Adventure into backcountry snowmobile trails in the area around Ely and Voyageurs National Park.

Take one of the least traveled trails in the state from Ely to Lake Vermillion and Burntside Lake. From Ely, you can also access the 80 mile Tomahawk Trail that connects to the North Shore Trail. You will ride through three state forests on this trip. 

Voyageurs National Park is 210,000 acres of silent winter wonderland. If you turn off your machine and sit for a bit, you may hear the wild inhabitants of the park including the howls of resident wolves. This area of Minnesota is most likely to have snow depths that are good for riding even in "low snow" winters. 

Cook, Minnesota resorts, on the edge of Voyageurs, welcome snowmobilers.

Northeastern Minnesota All-Outdoors Atlas

Through The Pines

Itasca State Park is known as the "gem" of the Minnesota state parks system. Your Minnesota snowmobiling trip that begins here brings you to the birthplace of the "mighty Mississippi River." Thirty-one miles of trail are within the 32,000 acre park and 1.3 million acres of state forest surround the park. The trail that circles the park allows you to "spin off" on trips to Park Rapids, Walker, Bemidji, Bagley, Mahnomen, and Detroit Lakes

All Outdoors Atlas Northwestern Minnesota

Snowmobile West

Detroit Lakes is the starting point for a snowmobiling trip along the northwestern edge of the state. From here you can choose from four directions. Riding northwest will take you to the Tamarack Wildlife Refuge. To the southeast, trails take you to Frazee, Perham, and New York Mills. Directly south travel along Corridor Trail 7 where the first highlight is beautiful Maplewood State Park. The trail meanders through Fergus Falls, Ashby, and Garfield then on to Alexandria

Continuing south, Corridor Trail 7 becomes the Villard Hook Up Trail. You will encounter tiny Villard, then head southwest toward Glenwood in the valley that will take you to Lake Minnewaska. You will find it worth your time to take a side trip to Glacial Lakes State Park.

You now travel farther south into Minnesota's prairie land through Benson and on to Montevideo. Regional trails will take you west to Appleton, or east to the New London-Spicer-Willmar area. Continue south to Marshall, Slayton and Lake Shetek State Park.

Southern Minnesota All-Outdoors Atlas

Central Lakes Minnesota Snowmobiling

Brainerd is at the center of Crow Wing County lakes country and more than 750 miles of Minnesota snowmobiling trails. Another 430 miles of trail are in nearby Morrison County. The lakes in the area are part of the trail routes. You can skim across Gull Lake, North Long Lake, Pelican Lake, Cross Lake, Big Trout and Whitefish.  

The Paul Bunyan Trail stretches between Brainerd and Bemidji. Along the way you will travel through Pequot Lakes, Pine River, Backus, and Hackensack. To the east of Brainerd you can snowmobile the Crow Wing Forest trails. The 49 mile Heartland Trail will take you from Park Rapids to Cass Lake. 

Farther east is Cuyuna Country State Park near Ironton. The six miles of snowmobile trails connect to trails that will lead you to back to Bemidji.

Brainerd Resorts are great lodgings for those planning a snowmobile trek. Minnesota ski resorts are wonderful places to enjoy snowmobiling.

Central-Northwest Minnesota All-Outdoors Atlas

Snowmobile East

You may not expect to find backcountry snowmobile trails in areas where towns abound. However there is a prime area of Minnesota snowmobiling land between Hinckley and Moose Lake in the Nemadji State Forest. There are approximately 100 miles of trail in this 96,270 acre forest. Just a bit south is the St. Croix State Forest and our largest state park, Saint Croix State Park.

Three trails meet at Moose Lake: the Willard Munger Trail between Hinckley and Duluth, the Soo Line North Trail toward Bemidji and the Soo Line South Trail toward Mille Lacs and Onamia. Spend some time exploring Mille Lacs Kathio State Park.

Lodging in Minnesota

Riding The Range

The area of known as the Iron Range boasts some of the most recently developed Minnesota snowmobiling trails. The trails here wind around the old iron mines, connect with the areas largest city, Hibbing, and guide you into some of the state's best wilderness. The major trail is the Taconite State Trail that meanders for 165 miles between Grand Rapids and Ely. It winds through parts of the George Washington State Forest, part of the Superior National Forest, alongside Lake Vermilion and near the town of Cook.

This is where you will link up with the Arrowhead Trail where you can travel on to International Falls. You could also take a side trip at this point to McCarthy Beach State Park. Winterized cabins can be reserved at nearby Bear Head Lake State Park.

Ride the eastern leg of the Taconite Trail to Ely

Minnesota State Recreational Atlas

Snowmobiling Safety Tips

  • Plan ahead when snowmobiling in remote areas. Running out of gas will spoil the fun.
  • When riding in northern parts of the state, be sure not to cross into the BWCA or into Canada.
  • Pay attention to weather reports. A sudden blizzard, especially on the prairies in southern Minnesota, can leave you stranded.
  • Winter Driving Safety
  • Snowmobiling in Minnesota

History of Snowmobiling - Extreme Snowmobiling

Minnesota Snowmobiling

Minnesota Winter

List of Winter Sports

Minnesota State Parks

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