Hiking & Biking Trails and Recreation
Chippewa National Forest’s “Lost Forty”
Thought to be underwater as part of Coddington Lake, a surveying mistake in 1882 saved the land of the Lost Forty.
Actually 144 acres, the Lost Forty, located within the 1.6 million acres Chippewa National Forest is one of the few places in Minnesota to experience truly virgin forest land that never has been logged. Less than 2 percent of Minnesota’s forests are considered old growth today.
Located northwest of Wirt, Minnesota the Lost Forty is found approximately two miles north of the intersection of County Roads 29 and 26. It is somewhat off the beaten path, but worth the drive to see the majestic pines and walk through these pristine woods.
Most of the mature red and white pine is found on the east end of the Lost Forty. These trees are up to 400 years old and between 22 and 48 inches in diameter. Biologically, pine can live up to 500 years. Old growth such as the Lost Forty is full of wildlife habitat, including bald eagles, hawks and woodpeckers, red squirrels, weasels and many more important species.
A one-mile self-guided trail winds its way through the majestic pines of the Lost Forty. A picnic area is also available at the site. Visit the Chippewa National Forest Hiking page for more information.
Trout Lake Semiprimitive Non-motorized Area & the Joyce Estate
Trout Lake Semiprimitive Non-motorized Area & the Joyce Estate offer 6,000 acres of forest with 26 miles of shoreline on 11 lakes. Ten miles of old roads and trails provide for hunting, hiking or skiing. The rolling terrain provides scenic views over area lakes wrapped with maple, aspen, birch and scattered pine.
In the 1880s, William T. Joyce came to the area and started buying land and timber. The area was logged in the early 1900s and the logs were floated out through the chain of lakes to the prairie river and then to the Mississippi River. About 1918, the heir to the family fortune originating in lumber taken from northern Minnesota, David Joyce of Chicago, surveyed the area around Trout Lake with the intention of building a hunting camp. Over the next 17 years he built a 4,500 acre private resort with 40 buildings, a golf course, private telephone line and airplane hangar. The Joyce Family called this place “Nopeming” (meaning place of rest in Ojibwe). The estate operated as a plush private resort for the Joyce Family until 1972 when it was sold to the Nature Conservancy. The Forest Service subsequently acquired it in 1973.
Visitors can tour the grounds of the Joyce Estate and view the rustic log architecture and stickwork characteristic of the Adirondack tradition. The Joyce Estate is located 13 miles north of Grand Rapids, one mile east of the intersection of County Road 60 and State Highway 38.
The remote setting of the Suomi Hills semiprimitive nonmotorized area is made up of rolling hills, clear lakes and some of the most spectacular fall color in the area. There are 21 miles of trail, numerous small lakes and several primitive campsites for day or overnight hiking, biking, skiing and canoe trips. The rolling topography offers cross country and mountain bike trails for intermediate and advance skiers and bikers. The trails are groomed and track-set in the winter and mowed in the summer.
North Suomi Hills is the site of the Day Lake Civilian Conservation Camp (CCC), which became a prisoner of war camp during World War II.
Suomi Hills is located 14 miles north of Grand Rapids on the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway (State Highway 38).
One of the most enjoyable ways to get to know the Edge of the Wilderness Area is by hiking or biking our beautiful northwoods trails. Our trails meander along the edges of beautiful lakes, rivers and streams and then stride into the majestic depths of our pristine forests. The Chippewa National Forest is home to nine different Itasca County Trail Systems; and our state and county forest lands also provide great hiking and biking opportunities with many old logging roads to explore.
Located in northern Minnesota between the cities of Grand Rapids and Ely, the Mesabi Trail is a premier Minnesota bike trail winding through some of the state’s prettiest regions. When completed, the trail will traverse 132 miles and connect more than 25 communities. A superior paved bike trail that is well-mapped and well-maintained, the Mesabi Trail also makes an interesting walking path. In 2007, 97 miles of trail were planned to be complete and offer convenient accessibility at numerous entry points. The longest paved sections connect Marble and McKinley (60 miles through the communities of Nashwauk, Keewatin, Hibbing, Chisholm, Mountain Iron and Virginia), and Grand Rapids to Scenic Highway 7. Once completed, the Mesabi Trail will be one of the longest paved trails in the United States. The trail head is located at the Itasca County Fairgrounds in Grand Rapids.
Partially built on old railroad beds, guests will find a 10-14 foot wide bituminous surface (asphalt paving). Great for summer activities such as biking, inline skating or walking, the trail also offers access to swimming, canoeing, camping and fishing. Winter activities may include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and winter hiking.
The Taconite State Trail stretches 165 miles from Grand Rapids to Ely and intersects with the Arrowhead State Trail just west of Lake Vermillion. The trail head is located at the Itasca County Fairgrounds in Grand Rapids and the first 6 miles are paved for biking and in-line skating. The remainder of the natural surface trail is used primarily for snowmobiling in the winter. The trail goes through a few areas that have standing water in the summer, however portions of the trail are suitable for horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking.
The Taconite Trail winds through forests of birch and aspen intertwined with pine, leading the visitor by many isolated lakes and streams. From Grand Rapids heading north, you see the impact of the taconite and iron mining industry. The northern portion of the trail terrain is rolling and tree covered as it winds through state and national forest land.
Eight trail waysides and picnic facilities offer scenic vistas of the hills, lakes and rivers of this area. The trail also links three state parks: Bear Head Lake, Soudan Underground Mine, and McCarthy Beach. The landscape in and around Bear Head Lake State Park is very rolling and rocky. Click here to download a Taconite Trail map. (315 Kb .pdf file)