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Winter Trail Reports for the Grand Rapids & Itasca County Area

This year our snow depth has been less than normal. 2-26-21: The warm temperatures and lack of snow have taken its toll on the snowmobile trails. Right now clubs are reporting fair to poor trail conditions. Not everyone has sent in an updated report, but no grooming is being done after this date due to warm weather and lack of snow. Many trails have dirt sections and with 40 degree weather coming into next two weeks, the snow will go fast. Use caution while out on the snowmobile trails. As for the cross country ski trails and mountain bike trails they are still in good to fair condition.

Itasca County Snowmobile Trail Map

Snowmobiling Trails

The Itasca County Snowmobile Trails are OPEN for the season that ends April 1, 2021.  Remember, all snowmobilers must have a MN Snowmobile Registration which is $113.50 for three years,  to ride on the groomed trails. To ride on the lakes only (for ice fishing) the registration fee is $53.50 for three years. Learn more about Registering your Snowmobile HERE.

Clearwater & Suomi Trails (38er’s Snowmobile Club) -2-24-21:  we groomed Sumi a lot of brown spots covered as best we could water issue along County Rd 19 rerouted to shoulder of Co Rd19, the trail is rideable.  Need snow and cold to freeze water. Groomed Clearwater  2-24-21 a lot brown areas, water issue both sides of County RD 49 (Wabana Rd.) will get track wet. As other clubs we will not be grooming again unless we get cold &  a few inches of snow

Kyestone, Dirty Mike’s, Diamond Lake Trails (Itasca Snow Rangers) -2-17-21: the Keystone Trail, Hornet’s Spur, and Hollywood Spur were groomed.  Condition-good. On 2-18-21: the Keystone Trail and Dirty Mike’s Trail were groomed.  Condition-very good.

Hill Lake, Perry Lake, Rabey, Washburn Lake and Remer Trails (Haypoint Snowmobile Club) -2-19-21: The Hedblom Trail from Savannah Park north is once again open for your enjoyment! Yes the pipe is in the ground but ride with extreme care as there are still workers in the area and equipment crossing the trail. Enjoy the weekend’s warm temperature and great trails!

**Re-Route Notification**

Haypoint Snowmobile Trails (Hill City): some trail reroute in our system due to Line 3 (natural gas pipeline) construction.  The biggest is we will now be using the east ditch of Highway 169 to travel South to the Soo Line from the Corner Club in Swatara.  The Soo Line is closed from H6 (on the map) south to Hwy 169. Coming North from Palisade on the Soo Line Trail one must run the ditch at Hwy 169 north to the Corner Club (H7) to enable one to continue traveling west to Outing area or north to Remer area.  The Soo Line is open at Swatara but will be shared with small vehicle traffic going south to H6 at which point it is closed.

Grand Rapids Through Town Trails, Driftskipper, Smith Creek, Little Pokegama, Shelter, Cook Lake Trails, Pokegama Lake Ice Trail (Itasca Driftskippers Club)2-20-21: All trails are groomed as of late this afternoon. Trail base is anywhere from dirt to 1 1/2 inches. Trail condition varies from poor to good and everywhere in between. A few pictures of the intersection of the Driftskipper Trail and Business Spur. I was able to cross over the culvert and groom the Business Spur and groom to the lake finally. It is still rough to cross just not enough snow fill in the holes. 

Bigfork Lions, Cameron Lake, East Bowstrin, Effie Connection, Marcell, Wilderness Willie, Circle T Trails (Marcell Snowdrifters Snowmobile Club) 2-15-21: northern trails groomed and they looked pretty darn good! So everything north of Effie. Wild Willy, Effie Connections, Circle T, and Togo spur. All very good. Bigfork Lions trails groomed and they are fair. Use caution on the other trails – dirt and leaves on some of the corners and heavily ridden areas. 

Lawron, Lud Mandich, Daybrook, Delbert Brandstrom, LLL Spur, Nashwauk Trails (Lawron Trail Riders Snowmobile Club): 2-10-21: Nashwauk Trail, Day Brook Trail and Lud Mandich Trail are all being groomed today. Lawron Trail and Delbert Brandstrom Trail will be groomed tomorrow. 

Deer River Bushwacker Trail (Bushwacker Snowmobile Club)  – 2-3-21: Trails were groomed. In fair condition.

Avenue of Pines Trail (Squaw Lakers Snowmobile Club) – 1-5-21-trails groomed. Due to lack of snow there are rough spots on the trail.

Taconite Trail, Little Bear, Bear Lake Trail, Circle T and Tim Corey Trail (MN DNR Parks & Trails) – This section was groomed 1-27-21. Conditions are mostly good on this section. The base ranges from 1-4″ with a few patchy areas.Taconite Trail Hwy 65 to McCarthy Beach State Park: Groomed 1-20-21. Conditions are mostly good on this section where a 2″ base exists.Taconite Trail McCarthy Beach State Park to Hwy 73: Groomed 1-21-21. Conditions are good on this section where there is a 2″ base.

Alborn-Pengilly, Blackberry, Charter Dam, Goodland, Pelkey & Greenway Trails (Greenway Snowmobile Club) 2-19-21: Trail update 2/18/2021. No grooming was done through our cold spell. Trails did not get much traffic the past couple of weekends. They are still very flat and smooth. We have not received any new snow. Trail base is light with some bare spots in the corners. They are very rideable though with that said. Temps look very nice coming up this weekend. Ride safe, ride sober.

Scenic State Park, Cameron Lake, Herb Brandstrom, and Circle L Trails (Swampsiders Snowmobile Club)-2-10-21: We have been out grooming for the last 2 days everything has been groomed the conditions range from poor to fair. There just is not enough snow to make something look good I encourage everyone to please ride with caution there are holes that can not be filled rocks and stumps that just cannot go away. The Cameron lake trail is plowed due to logging activities from mile marker 3 all the way to county road 348 that’s 2-1/2 miles. The first 3 miles though are fair. The Brandstrom is wore thin for snow but we have tried everything we can to make a good trail.The Circle L is probably your best bet to ride on it has logging from Mile marker 8-7 just one mile but with it being mostly swamp it is probably the best route to run. Please use caution when riding this weekend the trails are very thin with little snow base.

Blue Ox, Caldwell Brook, Island Lake, West Bowstring Trails (Northome Ridge Runners) –1-21-21 Our Trails are groomed and in fair condition (considering low snow volume .) Some small streams are unfrozen and may need to be detoured around: use caution as conditions can change very quickly.

Emily/Outing Snowmobile Club– 1-26-21: Our entire system was groomed today. We even got across the swamp near the end of the Aspen East. Please watch for construction on the Arctic West along the power line. Ride safe and have fun!

Cross Country Skiing Trails 

Itasca County Cross Country Ski Map

This winter has produced lower than normal snow depth, but there is plenty for cross country skiing on the Itasca County cross country ski trails. Remember to purchase your MN Ski Trail Pass. You must have to ski on these trails.

Sunday February 28, 2021
Wow – what great trails! We skied the Wolf Track and Thunder Loop and they were in impeccable condition for skating. Firm, crispy but well-cut and granular for easy climbing and safe snowplowing. It helped that temps were in the low 20s. We used the classic track set for some of the less steep downhills and they were also in very good condition even if icy – deep enough and well-defined. Overall very little litter and no bare ground. Thanks to the fantastic groomer and club. We’ll be back!

Friday February 26, 2021
Groomed all the trails and attempted to set track. Pistenbully set okay track, but track on GIA trails wasn’t very good, so we gave up on that. The base is pretty hard underneath. This may be the last time we groom outside of the 1.5 k man-made snow loop as the weather will get really warm after this weekend, and it was a relatively dry winter, so there is not much snow to melt. Get out and enjoy the last weekend of fully open trails! There is a ski jump tournament going on this weekend if you’d like to see an additional nordic sport.

Monday February 22, 2021
Groomed all loops and set a new track all around. Still some dirty spots. It might be good to hold off for today as temps forecast in the 40s. This is the best the trail has looked this year.

Saturday February 20, 2021
Very happy that Itasca County opened this trail system again after being partially closed in previous years for logging. It’s a nice, remote area of the county where you can see wildlife that may not be in other areas. I always spend time here to look for moose, but I only actually saw any in 2011. I do usually find some tracks in the snow or browsed vegetation. What I rarely see are other people, but this day, there were two human encounters on the trail! Although the county doesn’t groom this remote area frequently, the whole trail system has been groomed this season!

Saturday February 20, 2021
Trail just groomed and skied all the way to the north lot. A couple dirt spots easily avoided on the n spur. A few wolf tracks and an otter track just before the creek.

Friday February 19, 2021
Best ski of the season on this fun roller coaster system. Skiff of snow covered debris from past two weeks. Extra blue as usual worked 15 degree temps.

Friday February 19, 2021
All trails ski worthy except the last little bit to the tower end trailhead sign, which I broke trail to. Skate lane is a bit more grooved up the further out you get. There was a light layer of snow over a harder base. I guess the cold weather really solidified the snow. Classic tracks look to be in pretty good condition. Groomer has done a good job with what he has to work with.

Thursday February 18, 2021
Groomed and track set all north Suomi trails. It looked like it had been quite heavily used lately so it was nice to Ginzu knife them and re-track set. There is a fair amount of wind blown needles and small twigs from trees on the trails, but all and all pretty good.

Wednesday February 17, 2021
Tracks set Jan. 29 are holding up just fine except for some leaves and bark and wild doggy doo. This system has a lot of curvy downhills, some steep, so great to practice cornering or half snowplowing as needed. Young tree growth from past logging coming up nicely. Extra blue wax worked well. 12 degrees above zero!

Tuesday February 16, 2021
Finally temps in the tolerable range! Despite occasional bark and needles catching my wax, skiing was great! Did the main loop and double tracked section, too.

Monday February 1, 2021
Thanks to the groomers at Forest History Center this year! They are keeping walking lanes and ski lane separate by posting a lot of signs asking walkers to stay off the ski tracks, and the walkers are obliging. The tracks are holding up nicely, and conditions are good. Not quite as much snow as last year, but it’s staying below freezing, and occasional light snowfalls are enough to cover up pine cones and bark the lands on the trail this time of year.

Sunday January 31, 2021
Skied the tower loop. Two inches of new snow covered most of the debris on the trail. Classic tracks were in good shape, although almost indiscernible in some places from the new snow. Although the trail is rated intermediate, it’s mostly flat except for a hill southeast of the tower. We skied counter-clockwise on the loop and went up that hill. There’s an easy descent once you’re past the tower. Very beautiful trails.

Thursday January 28, 2021
Skiers have been skiing in tracks since 4″ snowfall last Saturday. Extra blue great kick on gradual uphills. Interesting.
Monday January 25, 2021
I skate skied all the trails, except the two segments between the connection points of Black Forest Cake/Zeke’s Return. Trail had been recently groomed and was in very good condition, with little debris. Classic tracks looked to be in very good condition, as well.

Monday January 25, 2021
City groomer reported packing and tracking in the new 3″ snowfall from Saturday night. Should be really nice classic skiing along scenic Mississippi River overlook.

Saturday January 23, 2021
Freshly groomed and a light, new dusting of snow. With the exception of a couple of rough spots in the low lands and random debris in a few places, trails were excellent.

Saturday January 16, 2021
Groomed Amen and South Suomi. About 3 inches of new snow. Still some dirt spots here and there, but ok overall.

Fat Tire Biking Trails

Tioga Recreation Area: 2-24-21: The haul roads are all groomed and in great shape. I also groomed the following fat bike trails; Iron Maidenhair, Minneflowta, Hockey Hair, Ruby Slipper, Iron Lady, Tioga Party, Thrill Seeker, Iron Chic, Veda’s Free Press, Nineteen Sixteen, Good Vibrations, Greenway Rough Rider, and Gurley Flynn. A big thank you to the local snowshoers for their hard work, and the few strong legged bikers out packing in the trails.

Legion Trail: 2-4-21: This evening is the second time I have groomed some of the trails at the Legion. I covered them all twice this evening as some of them seemed to not set up a few days ago,. Please give them a ride. Do not be afraid of grooving them. There are some soft spots and with you riding on them, it will only make things better. I also groomed a trail that will take you to the pipeline (all on county property) and will add extra miles to your ride. Just follow thw grooming to the north. Enjoy.

ATV/OHV Trails

The following trails are CLOSED. Check with MN DNR Trail Closures website before riding in the Spring. Open dates in the Spring are as following, but keep in mind that wet conditions may change the opening dates:

April 1st – Alborn/Pengilly, Blue Ox, Thistledew

May 2nd – US Forest Service Alvwood/ Squaw Lake, Island Lake Connection

May 15th – Wilderness Wheelers and B&B Connection, Balsam, Little Moose, UPM Blandin

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Minnesota DNR Trail Reports
Snowmobile Registration
RIDERX App for snowmobiles, ATV and Motorcycle
Northern Lights Nordic Ski Club for Cross-Country Ski Trail Updates
Great Minnesota Ski Pass
Ardent Bicycles offers Cross-Country Ski, Snowshoe and Fat Tire Rental
GRIMBA Trail Information
NE Minnesota ATV Trails

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