The Mesabi Trail is the result of the vision and dedication of regional residents, led by the St Louis & Lake County Regional Railroad Authority. As a division of the state of Minnesota, the Regional Railroad Authority undertook the proposition of converting abandoned railroads into trails, a process that began in 1986. Following the mission of the Railroad Authority to preserve former railroads for future transportation use, a successful rails-to-trails program was implemented. The ongoing efforts to plot a visually exciting and technically “ridable” route while securing the use of abandoned railways and other property have included the valuable assistance of individuals, corporate sponsors, volunteers and trail enthusiasts alike. Together, we’ve worked to bring the Mesabi Trail dream to reality. Today’s Mesabi Trail offers visitors unique diversity in scenery and trail terrain, and provides excellent opportunities to learn about the region’s history and culture. There’s no other bike trail like it in the country, and we hope visitors will appreciate the meticulous maintenance and improvement efforts that keep the Mesabi Trail in excellent riding shape.
The Mesabi Trail derives its name from the area once held in the icy grip of the great North American glacier, “The Great Mesabi.” Within this “Land of Mesabi,” the trail traverses forest, meadows, rivers, streams and lakes in a region bounded on the east end by the great Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Area and on the west by the Mississippi River. In between, the Mesabi Trail takes visitors past the edges of the open pit mines of the Iron Range, and areas abundant with wildlife, nature and the rich heritage of hearty pioneers.
The Mesabi Trail™ has been funded in part by the LCCMR and the Minnesota Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund.