Your Online Trail and Travel Guide for Snowmobiling the U.S. & Canada

Ely, Minnesota

Ely, MN Chamber of Commerce

Ely, MN Chamber of Commerce

Reporter:Ely Chamber of Commerce/Explore MN Visitor Center
Trail Conditions: Poor
Snow Cover: 8-14 inches
Date of Report: December 30, 2021
Area Report:

GENERAL INFORMATION: We have received several inches of snow since last week’s report.  Ice conditions have improved greatly, however, we strongly recommend everyone still test the ice as they travel across it.  Ice will be thinner in areas of constricted water flow, near rapids, and springs.  Please use caution at all times.  

Area Trails: Local snowmobile clubs are currently clearing trails in our area and towards Isabella, MN.  Lakes are not staked.  The clubs are waiting for additional snow before they start grooming.

Arrowhead State Trail

The Arrowhead State trail is the backbone to an extensive Grant-in-Aid trail system that travels through remote areas.

TRAIL CONDITIONS:  Snowmobiling: Condition- Poor; Trail – Not Groomed; Base – 1-8”

Bearhead Lake State Park

Bearhead State Park trails provide rolling topography through birch and pine stands.  You may see a variety of wildlife ranging from deer, wolves, ruffed grouse, and pine martens.  You can snowshoe anywhere in Minnesota’s state parks and recreation areas, except on trails that are specifically groomed for another activity, such as snowmobiling or skiing.

TRAIL CONDITIONS: Snowmobiling: Condition – Poor; Trails – Groomed; Base 2-4”

Lake Vermilion – Soudan Underground Mine State Park

The park has six miles of snowmobile trails that connect from the Taconite State Trail to the Lake Vermilion ice trail.  The ride takes you through old growth pines and young aspen forests with large wetland complexes to view along the way.  You can snowshoe anywhere in Minnesota’s state parks and recreation areas, except on trails that are specifically groomed for another activity, such as snowmobiling or skiing.

 TRAIL CONDITIONS:  Snowmobiling: Condition – Poor; Trails – Not Groomed; Base – 1-6”

 Putnam/Fishing Lakes – Bear Island State Forest

The Putnam and Fishing Lakes Trails traverse forested, rolling topography through birch, ash, and pine stands.  Several small lakes dot the landscape along these scenic trails. 

TRAIL CONDITIONS:  Snowmobiling: Condition – Poor; Trails –Not Groomed; Base 1-6”  Snowmobile travel is not recommended at this time.

Taconite State Trail

Taconite State Trail stretches 165 miles from Grand Rapids to Ely through many scenic vistas of rolling hillsides, lakes, rivers, and forest.

TRAIL CONDITIONS: Snowmobiling: Condition – Poor; Trails –Not Groomed; Base 1-3”




Snowmobiling Information

The Ely area is northern Minnesota’s premier snowmobile hub with numerous on-trail facilities, accommodations for both large and small groups, and with plenty of food, entertainment and service centers. The Taconite Trail is the main thoroughfare in and out of Ely in the winter. Stretching 170 miles between Ely and Grand Rapids to the southwest, many spur routes will take you just about anywhere you want to go. The Tomahawk Trail, heading to the east, has 86 miles of varied terrain which the avid snowmobiler can use to connect up with hundreds of miles more of groomed trails.

If good snowmobiling gets you excited about winter, then try out the 170 mile long Taconite Trail and the 80 mile Tomahawk Trail. The Taconite Trail, or the “Mighty Taconite” as the locals call it, runs from Ely to Grand Rapids. It stretches across three state forests and the Superior National Forest. Smooth rides along this famous route are loaded with history and the Taconite’s many spurs and loops make for some quality modern day pioneering.

The Tomahawk Trail runs from Ely to the North Shore and Yukon Trails. The trail works closely with natural terrain and is one of the most scenic trails in the state. The tree cover that surrounds the trail edges, the lack of traffic and development allows you to have an uninhabited experience.

Many riders return to the Ely area each winter to enjoy its sheer beauty and varied terrain. It’s a region where people clearly love snowmobiling and they know how to make you feel welcome. Find out for yourself!