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Best Inline Skating Trails in Northern Minnesota

Finding a good inline skating trail can feel like finding the holy grail, especially in Minnesota. For this reason, our team searched Northern Minnesota to find 6 of the best inline skating trails in Northern Minnesota. We wanted to look for trails that were at least a marathon in length and offered a wide range of beauty, elevation, and most importantly good pavement. This is an ever-growing list so if you have a hidden gem that you want the world to know shoot us an email!


1. Paul Bunyan State Trail

Stretching over 115 miles, the Paul Bunyan State Trail is one of the longest continuously paved trails in the United States. This trail runs from Crow Wing State Park near Brainerd to Lake Bemidji State Park in Bemidji. It offers a variety of landscapes, including dense forests, serene lakes, and charming small towns. The trail is wide and smooth, making it ideal for long-distance skating and endurance training.


2. Heartland State Trail

Connecting the towns of Park Rapids and Cass Lake, the Heartland State Trail spans 49 miles of beautiful Northern Minnesota scenery. This paved trail is perfect for inline skaters, with gentle slopes and a well-maintained surface. The trail winds through forests, wetlands, and past several lakes, providing a peaceful and picturesque skating experience.


3. Mesabi Trail

The Mesabi Trail offers over 135 miles of paved trail through the heart of Minnesota’s Iron Range. Starting in Grand Rapids and extending to Ely, this trail passes through historic mining towns, lush forests, and around numerous lakes. The Mesabi Trail is known for its excellent maintenance and varied terrain, making it suitable for skaters of all levels. Some sections feature gentle hills, adding a bit of challenge for those looking to test their skills.

4. Willard Munger State Trail

A popular trail for inline skaters, the Willard Munger State Trail stretches 70 miles from Hinckley to Duluth. The section between Carlton and Duluth is particularly favored for its smooth pavement and scenic views. The trail takes you through beautiful forests, along the St. Louis River, and offers stunning views of Jay Cooke State Park. It’s a perfect mix of nature and smooth skating surfaces.


5. Central Lakes State Trail

The Central Lakes State Trail extends 55 miles from Osakis to Fergus Falls. This paved trail runs parallel to the original Burlington Northern Railroad, offering skaters a glimpse of Minnesota’s railroad history while enjoying a smooth and scenic ride. The trail passes through several small towns, making it easy to stop for a break and explore local attractions.


6. Lake Wobegon Trail

Known for its charming small towns and rural landscapes, the Lake Wobegon Trail is a 65-mile paved trail that runs from St. Joseph to Osakis, where it connects with the Central Lakes State Trail. This trail is perfect for inline skaters seeking a peaceful and scenic route through the heart of Minnesota. The trail features gentle terrain and is well-maintained, providing a comfortable and enjoyable skating experience.


Tips for Skating in Northern Minnesota

  • Check the Weather: Northern Minnesota’s weather can change rapidly. Make sure to check the forecast before heading out to ensure optimal skating conditions.

  • Safety First: Always wear protective gear, including a helmet, wrist guards, knee pads, and elbow pads. Safety should be your top priority.

  • Stay Hydrated: Carry water with you, especially on longer trails. Staying hydrated is crucial for maintaining energy and performance.

  • Respect Other Trail Users: Many of these trails are multi-use, so be mindful of pedestrians, cyclists, and other skaters. Share the path and skate responsibly.


Who is the NorthShore Inline Marathon?

The NorthShore Inline Marathon is an exhilarating annual event held in Duluth, Minnesota, and is renowned as the largest inline skating marathon in North America. Known as the National Championship of Inline Marathons, it offers participants the unique opportunity to skate along the scenic shores of Lake Superior. This prestigious event attracts skaters of all skill levels, from recreational enthusiasts to professional athletes. Participants can choose from various events, including a full marathon, half marathon, and the combined marathon for those seeking an extra challenge.


In addition to inline skating, the event also features a running half marathon and a 10k run, catering to runners who want to join in the fun. Moreover, the NorthShore Inline Marathon hosts thrilling rollerski races, offering even more excitement and competition.

The race begins in Two Harbors and follows a beautiful course along the North Shore Scenic Drive, culminating in a festive finish in downtown Duluth. For more information on registration, event details, and course maps, visit the official website northshoreinline.com. Whether you're a seasoned skater or a newcomer, the NorthShore Inline Marathon promises an unforgettable experience filled with fun and breathtaking views.

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