Best Places For Off-Roading Near Minnesota
Minnesota's landscape of open land, wooded trails, and uneven topography just begs for a little off-road action. Honestly, anyplace you can get off the beaten path and rev your ATV, ORV or OHM engines is an awesome time, but there are some parts of Minnesota that are truly special. Some routes are great for beginners just getting comfortable on their wheels, and some are tough even for the most experienced riders. This list is great mix of both.
Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle State Recreation Area
7196 Pettit Road
Gilbert, MN 55741
Over 1,200 acres of off-road recreational area means you'll never get bored riding around on whatever type of vehicle you prefer. There are no judgments about skills here, as there are trails to suit any level, whether you want to ride the easy, more difficult, or really take on some tough terrain with the most difficult trails. Take a trip up to the Iron Range and stay for a while (there are places to stay in the town of Gilbert, just nearby, or set up camp in the Northwoods) and spend a few days getting to know the land, the trails, and all the splendor of northern Minnesota.
Fon Du Lac OHV Park
S. Hickory St.
Fond du Lac, WI 54935
You can rent ATVs and motorcycles here for cheap and spend the day hitting either the beginner track, or the tougher track that rides a unique path through beautiful western Wisconsin. For those more experienced riders, the main trail will offer more than a couple narrower spots, and obstacles that you should be aware of. But who doesn't like a little challenge? Hit the trail and show them how we do it in Minnesota.
Soo Line Trails
US 10 and Township Road, 316 and 83rd St.
Just north of Royalton, MN 56373
A concentration of trails that will make up a whole off-roading adventure, you'll hit terrain of all types and will never grow bored with your surroundings. You'll pass Kettle River and Birch Creek, as well as pass through a colorful mix of forests and farmland, putting on display the beauty of Minnesota and its environment. Connect to the Soo Line North ATV Trail, which runs another 148 miles. This is truly an off-roaders paradise and, if you want to take a longer trip, there are plenty of places to set up camp along the way.
Related: Best Hiking Trails In Minnesota
Blue Ox Trail
11th St. at US 53 and 3rd Ave.
International Falls, MN 56649
Blue Ox Trail runs perfectly along an old railroad grade. You can take it from almost as far north as you can go in International Falls, all the way down to the Paul Bunyan Trail in Bemidji. This is a great trail for less-experienced riders, as it is a fairly straightforward route and doesn't offer too many twists and turns or rough terrain, but it's a lot of fun for everyone, as there is plenty to see along the way. You can really let it rip, riding along that railroad like Steve McQueen in "The Great Escape." If you want to truly escape civilization and really hit the land, this is the trail for you.
Emily Outing Trail
Access from the Moose River Trail
A scenic trail tucked away central Minnesota, Emily Outing Trail is great for a day of riding off-road.Take the whole family out to enjoy a day of riding and, depending on how dedicated the family is to off-roading, take it as intense or as leisurely as you like. The beautiful surrounding grounds offer a great mix of hills and open land both, so you'll get to see everything your vehicle can do. Another perk of this trail is that many of the surrounding towns allow ATV use within city limits, so you won't have to get off of your ride for anything.
Related: Best Parks In Minnesota
Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.
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