Snowmobiling on the north shore

Snowmobiling on the North  Shore offers a unique and scenic experience to adventure seekers from all over. The North Shore is home to over 1,000-miles of snowmobile trails that lead you in and out of the boreal forest and often to scenic inland lakes. Snowmobile trails along the North Shore often lead to some incredibly scenic outlooks and hidden areas not accessible by car.

The trails on the North Shore wind through private and public land and are managed and developed through an MN DNR Grant-In-Aid program. In Cook County alone there are 450 miles of trail. As long as your snowmobile is registered in the state of Minnesota, and you obey the speed limits, the trails are yours to enjoy! If you are visiting from out of state, an affordable annual permit will allow you to enjoy the trails.

Our Favorite Trail

The largest and most famous trail, the CJ Ramstad/North Shore State Trail, spans 146 miles starting in Duluth and ending in Grand Marais. This trail carves a path through the backwoods and cliffs rising out of Lake Superior with magnificent views and scenery. You can enter this trail at various entry points, including Duluth, Two Harbors, Gooseberry Falls State Park, Schroeder, and Tofte. This makes it also one of the most accessible snowmobiling trails on the North Shore.

Other Trails

There are also many more trails that span across the North Shore, including the Duluth Cross Town East and West, Pequaywan, Two Harbors Corridor, and the Moose Walk. Find trail maps and snowmobiling resources for your next snowmobile trip below.                   

Links to Trail Maps

To be perfectly honest, I do not own a snowmobile and my experience with snowmobiling on the North Shore is limited to some childhood excursions with friends. So here is a list of snowmobiling resources and guides to help you plan your trip:

Minnesota DNR Maps and Resources
CJ Ramstad/North Shore Trail Map
Lower North Shore Trails
Upper North Shore Trails
Cook County Area Map
Interactive Snowmobile Trails Map
Snowmobile Trails GPS Data
Cook County Snowmobile Club – Ridge Riders

Other Information

Snowmobile trails along the North Shore are usually groomed starting in December until March. During exceptionally snowy years, trails might be groomed as early as mid-November and stay accessible to snowmobile traffic until mid-April. Find out snow depth, trail conditions, and more in the links below:

Snow Depth Map
Trail Conditions – CJ Ramstad Trail
Trail Conditions – Other Trails
Lake County Trail Marker Map

Snowmobile Rentals

Don’t have your own snowmobile? Don’t want to haul your trailer all the way up here? Some local businesses offer snowmobile rentals. Due to inventory and Covid-19 reasons rentals may be limited or not available this year. Call and reserve yours ahead of time to ensure availability.

Beaver Bay Sports  |   4878 US Hwy 61, Beaver Bay, MN  |  (218) 226-4666
Steve’s Sports  |  531 E Hwy 61, Grand Marais, MN  |  (800) 487-1835
Hungry Jack Lodge  |  372 Hungry Jack Road, Grand Marais, MN  |  (218) 338-2265
Gunflint Lodge  |  143 S Gunflint Lake, Grand Marais | (800) 328-3325

The Vintage Snowmobile Ride

While racing along the North Shore trail is usually done in newer snowmobiles, at least once a year this is not the case. The Lutsen Trailbreaker Snowmobile Club has been holding their annual Vintage Snowmobile Ride since 2015. The 5th annual ride was held on February 22, 2020. The 2021 ride was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about future rides on their Facebook Page. You can also learn more from this 2018 interview on WTIP Community Radio.