After our recent trip to Duluth, MN, we continued north to Minnesota’s Iron Range. We are excited to spend time exploring some of the most bike-able areas in the state, and with more than 155 miles of paved pathway, the Iron Range was a great place for us to start this two-wheeled adventure!
We started our trip out by driving from Duluth, MN to Virginia, MN where we met up with Chris from Mesabi Shuttle. We loaded our bikes and Walter’s bike cart up, and they drove us 25 miles west to Hibbing, MN and dropped us off at the trailhead for the Mesabi Trail, one of Minnesota’s longest bike trails. With Walter in tow we set out for a 30 mile ride toward Chisholm, then continued east toward Virginia, MN.
If you enjoy biking you will love spending a day (or two!) on the Mesabi Trail. The trail is in great condition, is well cared for, and is surrounded by beautiful scenery. The Mesabi Trail reaches over 155 miles and connects 28 communities. We bike for excercise and function, but also for fun! So, we appreciate when a bike trail frequent stops in towns where we can find food, drinks and little side trips or activities.
The Mesabi Trail is dense with all of those! Right as you take off from Hibbing you’ll get the opportunity to take a short detour and bike to an overlook for a working mine. Not only was the mine kind of picturesque (and so vast!) but it was also fun to see the gigantic trucks driving around.
After that short stop we got back on our bikes and headed toward Chisholm, where we planned to stop for a quick lunch. A few people had recommended the Black Bear Bakery, so we stopped in there to get a sandwich and then enjoyed it at a picnic table in a nearby park. Chisholm has a very picturesque and quaint main street. Its definitely worth the extra mile of biking to pop off the main trail and visit the town.
The Mesabi Trail is built along a string of mining towns, so you don’t really have any shortage of stops. Between Chisholm and Virginia we stopped at a swimming beach (would be the perfect spot for a quick dip in the warmer months) and then in Buhl for a cold beer. Along the way you bike past lots of lakes and old mines and can easily get entranced by the beauty of the northwoods! The ride goes really quickly and is pretty relaxed. You’ll quickly find yourself arriving back in Virginia (it took us about 2.5 hours of pedaling, with a trailer).
Virginia has a lot to offer for drinks and food, so be sure to plan on ending your trip with dinner. Since Walter was with us we set out in search of a dog friendly patio and spent a couple hours out on the deck at Flaimer’s Bar and Grill. Before leaving town we made a quick stop at Natural Harvest Food Coop to get food and supplies for our weekend at Green Gate Guest Houses. This was probably one of the nicest food coops I’ve ever visited!
If you are headed to this neck of the woods and are looking for lodging, be sure to check out Green Gate Guest Houses! We stayed in The Farm House and cannot recommend it enough. The location is perfect for biking The Mesabi Trail, but is also located right next to Giants Ridge (like honestly walking distance), which has an abundance of activities! We spent our Friday night grilling out and enjoying the fire pit, but on Saturday we made the short drive to Lookout Mountain to do some hiking.
We really enjoyed our time in The Iron Range! The Mesabi Trail was very condusive to the type of trip we wanted to plan, and we didn’t have any trouble keeping ourselves busy and entertained throughout the two days we spent there. We’re definitely looking forward to biking this trail system again in the future, and are hoping to get back up that way this winter for skiing and fat biking at Giants Ridge!