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Trail Report – : Lake Vermilion, St. Louis County, Minnesota – January 6, 2022

Trail Conditions: Fair
Snow Cover: Varies 12" to 20", Bases vary as well 1" to 8"
Date of Report: January 6, 2022
Area Report:

According to the weekly Tower Area trail report:

• Taconite State Trail: By the end of the week, the entire trail from Ely to Hwy 73 will be groomed. Trail base is thin in spots. A few hills west of Hwy 53 have exposed rocks and need more snow to be fully covered with snow.

• Arrowhead State Trail: By the end of the week, the entire trail from the Taconite Trail junction near Tower to the Blue Ox Trail junction near International Falls will be groomed. Snow conditions improve as one goes north, starting around Cook and Orr. A small segment of trail between Ban Lake Rd and Crane Lake Rd (CR 23) remains ungroomed due to a swamp with thin ice remaining.

• Putnam-Fishing Lakes Trail: The DNR anticipates having the Fishing Lakes Trail groomed by the end of this week. Due to not enough snow to cover the rocks and two swamps with thin ice remaining, we anticipate grooming the Putnam Lake Trail next week.

• Soudan Underground Mine Lake Vermilion State Park Trails: The DNR anticipates having the trail groomed by the end of this week or early next week.

The DNR reminds riders to please use caution on the trails and stay to the right. There is active logging happening on a number of spots throughout the Grant-in-Aid and State Trail system. Please slow down and give trucks and logging equipment space. No motorized vehicles other than snowmobiles are allowed on State Trails or Grant-in-Aid snowmobile trails.

News and Reports:

This information is coming directly from an article published by Jesse White with the Mesabi Tribune dated today.

“Brad Dekkers, DNR assistant area supervisor out of the Tower office, said by email this week that officials would be grooming the two main state snowmobile trails in the area — the Taconite and the Arrowhead — ahead of this weekend.

“Quite a bit has changed with trail conditions and updates in the last week. Mainly, swamps have developed enough ice for us to groom through them, and the cold has stiffened up the trail surface quite a bit,” he said by email. “We will have the Arrowhead and Taconite almost entirely groomed by the end of the week, and we anticipate having the Fishing Lakes trail groomed as well.”

Dekker said conditions and snow levels still vary a bit from Ely to International Falls and that generally there is more snow and thicker trail base as one heads further north.

“Folks will be tagging rocks on the trails until we get a bit more snow. But with things groomed up and with this cold weather, trail riding will be chilly but fun,” he said.

The DNR is reporting that Taconite Trail, which covers 165-miles from Ely to Grand Rapids, has anywhere from seven to 19-inches of snow (depending on location), with a base of one to six-inches and is in “poor to fair” condition.


The David Dill/Arrowhead Trail, which extends from 10 miles west of Tower at the intersection with the Taconite Trail to Ericsburg, ten miles south of International Falls, has anywhere from eight to 22-inches of snow, with a one to eight-inch base and is also considered to be in “poor to fair” condition.

DNR officials say that by the end of this week, 95 percent of both trails will have been groomed at least once, some segments multiple times.