The Mesabi Trail saw record-breaking cyclist use this year, with trail counters recording 286,171cyclists from January through October.
This shatters the previous record of 248,219 set in 2020 by nearly 40,000. Cyclists using the trail have more than doubled from when trail counters began tracking in 2008, which recorded 123,273 cyclists.
Overall trail use is assumed to be much higher, as cyclist trail counters are strategically placed and do not account for walkers, joggers, hikers, and inline skaters who also use the trail, which stretches from the Mississippi River in Grand Rapids, MN, to the gateway of the BWCA in Ely.
To date, 150 miles are paved with another six or so slated to be complete by next spring. When the paving is complete in 2024, the Mesabi Trail will be the longest continuously paved trail in Minnesota.
“It’s been exciting to watch the Mesabi Trail grow in popularity as an outdoor recreation destination,” said St. Louis County Commissioner Paul McDonald. “We look forward to welcoming even more cyclists from across the country to experience our outdoor adventures and diverse landscapes along all 162 paved miles in 2024.”
Four newly defined segments – Mississippi (Grand Rapids to Nashwauk), Mesabi (Nashwauk to Gilbert), Laurentian (Biwabik to Tower), and Vermilion (Tower to Ely) – offer opportunities to experience vastly different natural and manmade landscapes unique to the Iron Range.
Cyclists can see everything from glacial lakes to active mines, hardwood forests to tall pines, and lush wetlands to dramatic rock cuts. […]
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