Minnesota is celebrated as the land of 10,000 lakes, but adventure enthusiasts know it’s home to more than 1,000 miles of ATV trails, appealing to everyone from sight-seers to daredevils.
Whether you load up your trailer for the day, a long weekend, or a week of muddy, noisy adventure, Minnesota has a trail destination perfect for you. You will find most of Minnesota’s ATV trails in the northern part of the state, with a few worth a visit in the central visit.
Lake Mille Lacs Region
The Lake Mille Lacs region has a little something for everyone in the family. There are more than 300 miles of connecting trails in the area, ranging from scenic, postcard worthy rides to some of the state’s most challenging and muddy trails. At the heart of the network is the Soo Line South Trail, a former railway trail, that runs from the southern edge of Lake Mille Lacs, north to Superior, Wisconsin. It connects other ATV trails along the way, many of which feature obstacles, steep grades and challenging surfaces for experienced riders.
The Soo Line South Trail runs 114 miles through five counties. In Mille Lacs region the easy-rated trail passes along Rum River State Forest, Mille Lacs Kathio State Park and Father Hennepin State Park. For a more hair-raising adventure find the Ten Bruin and Adventure Loops off the Red Top Trail. These trails are rated difficult for their steep rocky ridge ride through marsh and woods.
With so much adventure at hand, plan on staying in one of the excellent inns, resorts or campgrounds in the Lake Mille Lacs region. After a morning on the trails, enjoy some fishing for small mouth bass, boating, swimming or golf.
Spider Lake Trails
When Minnesotans were asked to choose the best trails in their state for the Best of Minnesota, Spider Lake Trails came out on top. The 29 miles of trails through Foot Hills State Forest in north-central Minnesota feature a lot of variety, ranging from smooth and sandy to rocky, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, making Spider Lake Trails perfect for family outings.
Look for challenging trails that curve around lakes and ponds, follow ridges, and roll up and down through the Forest.
Take it easy and ride on the north leg of the Soo and try hundreds of miles of trails and roads in this ATV-friendly area. Lake Winnie, as it is known, is a great destination for those looking to take an ATV vacation. Camp or stay at one of the lodges on the lake and explore hundreds of miles of trails that connect local, state, national, and public lands.
When you’re done ATVing for the day, enjoy the Lake Winnie recreation area, with campgrounds, lodges and inns. This nature lovers’ paradise offers a sandy beach for cooling off, fishing, and abundant wildlife to observe. As a plus, Itasca County allows the operation of ATVs on all its county roads, except CSAH 75 into Scenic State Park.
The Iron Range
With 36 miles of trails covering 1,200 acres, the Iron Range boasts some of Minnesota’s best ATV trails. With trails ranging from easy to “most difficult,” there’s truly something for everybody at Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle State Recreation Area. Off road confidently in the north woods setting, as the trails here are dutifully maintained for safety. While iron mining in the area created growth and wealth, it also created the perfect environment for ATVs: mine tailings that grew into mountains, rugged mine roads, blasted boulders, and man-made lakes filled when mines were allowed to flood.
The recreation area, near the towns of Gilbert and Virginia, gives riders scenic over looks and rest stops along the trails to recover from some of the wildest riding in Minnesota. A wash station near the office offers riders an opportunity to clean equipment before heading home. Want to stay longer? Enjoy some of the local hospitality at inns, lodges and campgrounds then tour some of the historic points of interest in the iron range, including the world’s largest hockey stick and puck.
Nemadji State Forest
Near Duluth on the Minnesota/Wisconsin border, the Nemadji State Forest offers 100 miles of ATV trails that range from easy to more difficult. Riders will find gently rolling, sandy upland trails in the south, and steep stream valleys and swamps to the north in this area named for the “left hand river.” ATVers can enjoy leisurely nature rides through forested areas or challenge themselves on tricky trails that wind through the Aspen groves.
Explore the 100 miles of trails dedicated to ATVs and off-road motorcycles then enjoy a campout at the Gafvert Campground, managed by Moose Lake State Park. Though primitive, the campground offers lake access, a fishing boat landing and dock, as well as three nature trails. The campground is adjacent of the Willard Munger ATV trail.
The Nemadji State Forest trails are great opportunity to spot wildlife, including white tailed deer, eagles and ruffled grouse.
No matter where your next ATV adventure takes you, tow your ATVs with confidence on a trailer purchased and serviced by the trailer experts at M&G Trailer Sales and Service in Ramsey, Minn.