Riding around Ely (Big Lake, specifically)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2018

    Riding around Ely (Big Lake, specifically)

    We are doing a vacation for a week this summer in the Ely area (out on Big Lake Wilderness Lodge, if you know the area well). We're mainly going for fishing, portaging, hiking.. but my youngest and I would like to get some riding in. I'm not seeing anything at all on Trailforks or MTBProject. It looks like there is a cross country skiing center a good ways away around Britt that has a decent trail network that we'd have to drive to, but I don't see much else.

    Should we just settle for gravel grinding or are there some trails in the area of which we should be aware?

    Also, we're driving up from Arkansas, so if there are any awesome areas we should hit on the way up, that would be great. My son is mainly into downhill, enduro, jumping, etc.. but any riding is better than no riding.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    So not much notable riding near Ely. Probably hit Giants Ridge or Duluth on the way up or down. Duluth has great riding and Giants Ridge has a bike park.

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    To add to what voghan said, both giants ridge and Duluth have lift access bike parks. I have not ridden the giants ridge park but from videos it looks like super wide, buffed out fast flow trails with some decent sized jumps and drops.

    Having ridden spirit a few times and other trails in the Duluth area, I would highly recommend making a stop there if possible. Spirit has more of the rocky, technical descending with the green trails being the flow trails with smaller jumps (some larger black and double black jump line options split off of these green trails). If you are into earning your descents, the piedmont/brewer trails in Duluth offer some incredible rocky, tech trails as well. If you want a better idea of what the trails are like there are some great youtube videos (youtube channels BKXC, Seth's Bike Hacks, and Kristofer Yahner) for Duluth.

    Logistics wise, Giants Ridge in Biwabik will be the closest to where you are staying and a short detour on your way up. If you want to check out Duluth, you can detour through there fairly easily by continuing up the north shore on 61 and taking highway 1 into the Ely area. I am from the Twin Cities and prefer this route anyways since the north shore is beautiful.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Cuyuna mountain bike trails would be on your way to Ely, pretty hard to beat Cuyuna.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    There is also a group of trails at the Laurentian Divide just North of Virginia, MN. It has some great locally built singletrack just off the highway, and about an hour from Ely so it'd be a good afternoon trip. They're going to be starting to build some trails at the MN Discovery Center in Chisholm this Summer as well, but I'm not sure when they'll be rideable.
    2018 Salsa Timberjack GX

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2015
    To directly answer your question, no there are no MTB trails in the area. However, echo trail is excellent gravel grinding with continuous punchiness. Traffic is very low and no cell coverage so make sure you are prepared.

    Mosquitos are never an issue when you are on a bike, but I have had a couple bad timings with horsefly hatches. I can assure you they travel about 18 MPH and have no aversion to Eucalyptus

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