Welcome to the Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle State Recreation Area virtual tour! Explore the many trails carved into mine tailings, many which offer views of the iron range lakes, hills and distant mining towns. Once the site of an active iron mine, the recreation area has trails for all ages and abilities. We hope it prompts you to visit the park in person sometime soon.
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The Iron Range Off Highway Vehicle State Recreation Area is located near Gilbert, MN and offers 36 miles of OHV (Off Highway Vehicle) trails. Visitors will immediately see the check-in area at the main office as they enter the recreation area. Every vehicle needs to stop here to check-in and receive a pass for the day. You are free to ride the trails as long as your OHV is properly registered and meets the state sound emissions requirement and the operator is legal.
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Entrance to Red Valley
Several ATVs use one of the entrance trails into the recreation area’s Red Valley. Users have many options with varying degrees of difficulty when entering this location.
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Red Valley Play Area
The Red Valley Area is open to ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles) and OHMs (Off Highway Motorcycles). It is a multiple hill area with different lengths and steepness to each hill. On the top of the hills is a nice view looking to the northeast horizon. An ATV runs up a hill of red dirt in this scene.
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Hug the Bank
This trail is named Hug the Bank for a reason. The trail is carved into the side of an old mine dump and certainly isn't the widest trail in the park. Hug the Bank is open to all types of OHVs and offers a great view of other trails in the recreation area.
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An overlook from one of the core roads allows users to see an old tailings basin from the mine, as well as a great view of the City of Gilbert and other trails within the recreation area.
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Red Hills East
Red dirt paths bordered by trees stretch in all directions at this hill climb play area for ATVs and OHMs. There are multiple hills with different difficulty levels that come from different directions to the top of this hill.
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High Voltage is an ORV (Off Road Vehicle) trail that has obstacles similar to the stair climb. Large logs are spread out just enough in the rocky red dirt to give users a hard time as they try to reach the top.
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Ski Jump is an ORV hill climb that connects one core road to another. It is signed as difficult because of the rocks encountered as you climb the hill. Vehicles traverse a rocky path set through birch trees in this scene.
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Mud Run Area
The Mud Run Area is open to all types of OHVs and offers several deep holes carved into an old gravel pit. Watch out though! The depth and muddiness of these holes can be deceiving and many a truck and ATV have been towed out of this area.
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Littlefoot Trail is one of the single track OHM trails through the scenic woods on the southeast end of the recreation area. OHMs maneuver around rocks and trees on this section of trail.
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Ely Lake Lookout
Ely Lake Lookout is located along the southern core road and allows you to sit at a picnic table and look for miles at the southern horizon over beautiful Ely Lake.
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Tabletop Rock Crawl
This ORV rock crawl is made up of massive rocks that were laid here back in the mining days. You really have to be able to technically maneuver your ORV to make it all the way through this area.
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The View is an overlook off one of the core roads. There is plenty of room to pull over and relax at a picnic table and enjoy a view of the recreation area. You can see many of the other trails and play areas from here.
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Lone Pine is another overlook with a picnic table and room to stop and stretch the legs. From this overlook, you can see beautiful Lake Ore-Be-Gone and the City of Gilbert on the Laurentian Divide.
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This unique ORV (Off Road Vehicle) rock crawl area got its name when a crew clearing the trail found an old miner’s helmet that said “Ted.” The helmet was eventually mounted onto a log and a face added to it. Over the years, visitors have come by and added their own touches to “Ted.”
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Training Building Picnic Shelter
A training building with an attached picnic shelter is found near the Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area’s entrance. This is a great spot for people to take a break and sit at one of several picnic tables under the shelter. One of the recreation area’s two solar energy arrays can also be seen here. These arrays collect energy that is used at the nearby training building and office.
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Visitors cross this railroad bridge as they enter into the recreation area. Trains pass under the bridge multiple times a day as they haul taconite pellets from the local mines and then head to the north shore to unload. This is a popular spot for people to take photos and watch trains go by during the summer.
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The recreation area provides a wash station for all users to hose off after a long day of riding the red dirt and mud. Washing also helps prevent users from accidentally spreading invasive species from trail to trail throughout the state.