The Taconite State Trail is a long-distance trail located in the Itasca and Saint Louis counties of northern Minnesota. At 165 miles long, this is not a trail that can be completed in a single day. Because of its length and variety of terrain, doing some research and planning would be a furrific idea before you and Fido hit the trail.
The Taconite Trail begins in Grand Rapids and ends in Ely, connecting three state parks along the way. Only the first 6 miles from Grand Rapids are paved for biking and inline skating. Beyond that, you and your pooch will be walking on gravel, dirt, and/or grass. The trail weaves through forests comprising aspen, birch, and pine, and passes by occasional streams and lakes. If you and your doggo start in Grand Rapids and head north, you will see the effects of the taconite and iron mining industry on the environment.
One of the state parks that the trail travels through is McCarthy Beach, which welcomes four-legged visitors. Here, you and Fido can stroll in the sand, wade out into the water, and explore more trails. But hiking the Taconite Trail is already a rewarding adventure in itself, with waysides and picnic areas along the way providing woofderful views of the area's hills, rivers, and lakes.
There's also plenty of wildlife to be seen, so don't forget to bring your camera! Keep your eyes peeled for moose, black bears, timber wolves, snowshoe hares, red squirrels, white-tailed deer, and more. And if you look up, you might spot pileated woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, and grosbeaks. During the summer, bald eagles, fly catchers, and other birds migrate to this area.
Remember to admire wild animals from afar, and make sure Fido doesn't disturb them by keeping your pup on a leash at all times. Be sure pick up after them, too, to help keep the Taconite State Trail clean and beautiful!
The Taconite State Trail is primarily a snowmobile trail, so some portions may not be passable during the summer when the ground is not frozen. To avoid sections with standing water and wet soils, call the nearest Trails and Waterways Area office before you and your dog set out.