Your Online Trail and Travel Guide for Snowmobiling the U.S. & Canada

Ely, Minnesota

Ely, MN Chamber of Commerce

Ely, MN Chamber of Commerce

Reporter:Ely Chamber of Commerce/Explore MN Visitor Center
Trail Conditions: Fair
Snow Cover: 18 Inches
Date of Report: January 18, 2023
Area Report:

Ely Area Trail Conditions

January 18, 2023

Active logging is happening in several spots throughout the Grant-in-Aid and State Trail system. Please slow down and give trucks and logging equipment space.

There continue to be a few spots throughout the State and Grant-in-Aid Trail system where ice in swamps is thin, and trails are rerouted due to grooming equipment not being able to cross the ice. Keep this in mind and use caution while riding the trails. Continue to monitor conditions online at

Taconite State Trail: The Taconite is groomed and in fair condition, and it will be groomed again before this coming weekend. There remains one 2-mile stretch of trail ungroomed west of Pfeiffer Lake due to a couple of beaver ponds with ice too thin for grooming equipment to cross. We continue to check ice in this trail segment and will have it groomed as ice thicknesses allow. 

Snow: 14-24 inches with a base of 1-6 inches. Groomed: Yes Condition: Fair

Arrowhead State Trail: The entire Arrowhead is groomed and in fair condition. The trail segment between the Landing spur and Myrtle Lake missed grooming this weekend due to grooming equipment issues, but it will be fully groomed again before this coming weekend. Thin ice remains in a number of beaver ponds and swamps throughout the trail. Those spots will be flagged or signed as needed, but continue to use caution and remain aware when riding through swamps. 

Along with the DNR trail conditions website, continue to monitor these clubs’ websites ( & for the most current Arrowhead State Trail conditions.

Arrowhead Trail Snow: 12-22 inches of snow with a base of 1-6 inches. Groomed: Yes Condition: Fair

Putnam/Fishing Lakes Trails: We anticipate having the Fishing Lakes trail from Putnam Lake to the Taconite Spur (Babbitt trail) groomed by this coming weekend. We are working toward getting the Putnam Lake trail cleared and groomed by next week. The Putnam has a thick brush remaining in a couple of spots, and that is what we need to get cleared before grooming. Use caution riding through the swamps, as the ice remains thin in spots.

Lake Vermilion Soudan Underground Mine State Park Tails: These trails are mostly cleared but not yet groomed. We are working toward getting them groomed by next week.

Babbitt Birch Lake Plantation: Groomed for classic skiing and in excellent. Babbitt golf course is groomed for skate and classic skiing and is in excellent condition.

Bear Head Lake State Park: The cross-country track was set on Friday, January 13th, with good results in the campground loops. The Beach Trail track was destroyed this weekend and will not be able to be reset until we receive snow. The trail base is set up firmly, but the recent winds have littered the forest floor with branches, needles, pine cones, etc. Pay caution while skiing.

Skiing Base: 10 inches. Conditions: Fair. Groomed: Partially. Snowmobiling conditions: Excellent. Groomed Yes.  Base: 8 inches. 

Snowmobiling Information

The Ely area is northern Minnesota’s premier snowmobile hub with numerous on-trail facilities, accommodations for both large and small groups, and with plenty of food, entertainment and service centers. The Taconite Trail is the main thoroughfare in and out of Ely in the winter. Stretching 170 miles between Ely and Grand Rapids to the southwest, many spur routes will take you just about anywhere you want to go. The Tomahawk Trail, heading to the east, has 86 miles of varied terrain which the avid snowmobiler can use to connect up with hundreds of miles more of groomed trails.

If good snowmobiling gets you excited about winter, then try out the 170 mile long Taconite Trail and the 80 mile Tomahawk Trail. The Taconite Trail, or the “Mighty Taconite” as the locals call it, runs from Ely to Grand Rapids. It stretches across three state forests and the Superior National Forest. Smooth rides along this famous route are loaded with history and the Taconite’s many spurs and loops make for some quality modern day pioneering.

The Tomahawk Trail runs from Ely to the North Shore and Yukon Trails. The trail works closely with natural terrain and is one of the most scenic trails in the state. The tree cover that surrounds the trail edges, the lack of traffic and development allows you to have an uninhabited experience.

Many riders return to the Ely area each winter to enjoy its sheer beauty and varied terrain. It’s a region where people clearly love snowmobiling and they know how to make you feel welcome. Find out for yourself!