Great River Energy – Mesabi Trail Tour

Ride for the fun or ride for the challenge – Saturday, August 5, 2023

Join us on the Mesabi Trail for the most fun you can have on two wheels!  Choose from three different routes – 12, 30 or 50 miles – all traveling out and back on Mesabi Trail from one start/finish location in Ely.

While you pedal (fully supported) along one of Minnesota’s premiere paved bicycle trails you will encounter historic & scenic points of interest, enjoy food & music at rest stops, and a finish line celebration complete with lunch and more music!

Whichever route you choose, you will experience the same outstanding customer service and reliable logistics we’ve become famous for since 2005!


Cost is $50 per person for folks 17 and older – kids 16 and under ride FREE!

Registration is now open

Closes midnight, July 16th


New for 2023:

  • We’re excited to announce a brand new tour route! We will be riding between Ely & Soudan, showcasing the newest completed section of the Mesabi Trail.
  • This is one of the most beautiful parts of the trail – right on the doorstep of the BWCAW on one end, and Lake Vermilion on the other end.


Selecting Your Route:

  • The Mesabi Trail is not a rail-to-trail conversion…it is NOT flat & straight, there are a number of hills (some steep) and curves (some sharp).
  • PLEASE select your route according to your abilities to assure you will be able to finish the tour in a timely fashion.
  • While this public trail is open at all times, our tour volunteers will be on the course only until about 4:00 pm.
  • You will encounter TWO-WAY bicycle traffic on the Mesabi Trail.


The tour is a fundraiser for the Mesabi Trail and Club Mesabi, the “friends” of the Mesabi Trail.


Route #1: Hwy 169 12 miles out & back from Ely

All routes start & finish at the "Miners Dry House" at the Pioneer Mine Museum in Ely - 102 Miners Lake Landing Road, Ely, MN

The Turn-Around for Route #1 is just off Hwy 169, between Robich Rd & Twin Lakes Road - also a rest stop for all other routes - sorry no specific address, but you won't miss it when riding the tour.

This year's tour travels through some remote forested areas. There was no community near by for the first turn-around, so we found a wide spot on the trail to put up a tent (and toilets) so you can stop and take a break before returning to Ely, or before you continue on to enjoy more of the Mesabi Trail.

Route #2: Eagles Nest 30 miles out & back from Ely

All routes start & finish at the "Miners Dry House" at the Pioneer Mine Museum in Ely - 102 Miners Lake Landing Road, Ely, MN.

The Turn-Around for Route #2 is at the Mesabi Trail kiosk near the Eagles Nest Township Hall - also a rest stop & storm shelter - 1553 Bear Head Lake State Road, Ely, MN

Eagles Nest Township just a few miles away from Bear Head State Park, and home to four beautiful lakes - Eagles Nest One thru Four. The Mesabi Trail leading into Eagles Nest will take you through the wilds of the boreal forest special to the Ely area - you'll already feel like you're in the BWCAW.

Route #3: Soudan 50 miles out & back from Ely

All routes start & finish at the "Miners Dry House" at the Pioneer Mine Museum in Ely - 102 Miners Lake Landing Road, Ely, MN.

The Turn-Around for Route #3 is in Soudan - also a rest stop & storm shelter - exact location TBD.

Soudan is located at the east end of Lake Vermilion just a couple of miles from Tower, and home to the Lake Vermilion - Soudan Underground Mine State Park. Covering 40,000 acres, Lake Vermilion stretches from Tower to Cook and is surrounded by the Superior National Forest and borders the BWCA, Fortune Bay Resort, Casino and Golf Course are only about 10 minutes away.

Ely - Start / Finish Start-Finish

Tour start and finish activities will be held a the Miners Dry Building at the Pioneer Mine Museum location - 102 Miners Lake Landing Road, Ely, MN .

Ely has a long history of underground & open pit mining, from 1889 to 1967. Our start/finish location will give you a taste of some of that history. The Miners Dry Building is the old locker room, where miners changed clothes before & after their shifts; it's been renovated and turned into a community center. The Pioneer Mine "A" headframe is just steps away from the dry. The headframe consists of a series of large pulleys which hauled men and supplies into the depths of the 1,700 ft underground shaft.

Just outside the entrance to the Miners Dry, you will pick up the Trezona Trail, which connects to the Mesabi Trail about a mile later. The Trezona covers 3.65 miles around Miners Lake and past several of Ely's original mining sites. Miners Lake is the old underground mine - when it was closed, the shafts filled with groundwater and collapsed, forming a very deep lake offering a variety of recreation opportunities.

Tour Day Schedule

Saturday Schedule, August 5

7:00 – 8:00 am / Start Route #3 (50 miles)

8:00 – 9:00 am / Start Route #2 (30 miles)

9:00 – 10:00 am / Start Route #1 (12 miles)

11:00 am – 4 pm / Finish Line Food

11:30 am – 3:30 pm / Finish Line Music

Tour Registration Includes
  • Your choice of three different routes – 12, 30 or 50 miles.
  • Music – music – music!
    Live local entertainers perform at some turn-around points and the finish line.
  • Food – food – and more food.
    Enjoy food & refreshments at all turn-around points/rest stops, plus a picnic lunch (complete with vegetarian options) at the finish line.
  • T-shirt for each participant.
    Choose your size carefully when you register, we will adhere strictly to your order.
  • Three Day Mesabi Trail Wheel Pass
    Use your tour wrist band as a three day pass to enjoy more time on the Trail.
Funding Source

The Mesabi Trail™ has been funded in part by the LCCMR and the Minnesota Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund.