Mesabi Trail Attracts Thousands of Visitors

By KBJR News 1

August 3, 2012 Updated Aug 3, 2012 at 9:16 PM CDT

Grand Rapids, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - The Mesabi Trail winds throughout Northern Minnesota. Once completed it will cover over 130 miles and connect 25 communities. The trail starts in Grand Rapids.

"It brings in new visitors to the area," said Visit Grand Rapids Executive Director, Megan Christianson, "It really brings a lot of opportunity for the area residents and for visitors in the area."

The trail winds throughout Northern Minnesota, from Grand Rapids to Ely. It's the locations it goes through that some think make it such a popular destination.

"We're in beautiful, Northern Minnesota," said Mesabi Trail Manager, Doug Schmitz, "When it's 107 degrees down in the central part of the United States, this is a pretty nice place to come in June, July, August, September."

Schmitz says that the trail's popularity is growing. He estimates that about 160,000 people visited the trail last year. He thinks that some of the popularity comes from the baby boomers.

"The baby boomer group of people are all starting to retire and there are a lot of those people that are wanting to stay active and bicycling is a great way to do that," Schmitz said.

There are 23 different access points along the trail. Christianson thinks that it's pretty nice that access point number one is located in Grand Rapids.

"You can access the trail on many different locations on the Iron Range. What makes it great for us is that we have it here, right in our backyard," she said.

The 8th annual Great River Energy Recreational bike tour will take place on the Mesabi Trail this weekend. It starts at the trailhead in Grand Rapids.

Written for the web by Jennifer Austin.