The C.J. Ramstad/North Shore State Trail is a 146 mile natural surface trail from Duluth to Grand Marais. The trail runs through St. Louis, Lake and Cook counties in northeastern Minnesota, winding its way through the forests on the ridgeline overlooking Lake Superior. The trail provides access to some of the most rugged and beautiful scenery in Minnesota. In winter, the trail connects with hundreds of miles of snowmobile club trails and many communities in the area.
About C.J. Ramstad
Known as "Mr. Snowmobiling," C.J. Ramstad (1945-2007) was a passionate, highly respected journalist and photographer in the off-road community. For nearly 40 years he dedicated his life to the promotion, preservation and enjoyment of Minnesota snowmobiling and off-road riding. His tireless efforts ensured that trails, and the access they provided, were open for all to enjoy. Ramstad often declared the North Shore State Trail a "treasure," and a favorite among the many he traveled.
For most of its length, the trail provides a wilderness experience. The majority of the trail is in a remote, natural and undeveloped setting with few roads and many river crossings. Visitors may encounter native wildlife, such as moose, deer, bear, fox, raptors, grouse, waterfowl, songbirds and timber wolves. Views of rivers, lakes, valleys and scenic overlooks are a part of the trail experience. Visitors may observe activities including logging, farms, wildlife and fish management.
There are currently no event listings.
In the winter, follow snowmobile safety tips. When traveling through remote forests, you should take a map, GPS or a compass, cell phone, extra food, clothing and water. Share your travel itinerary with someone about where you are going and when you will be back. During insect season, be prepared for usual northwoods conditions. Follow weather conditions and learn about wildfire safety.
You will need a horse pass if you will be horseback riding, and for snowmobiling, a snowmobile must be registered or have a snowmobile state trail sticker. Non-residents must have the correct non-resident OHV trail pass. No other fees or passes are required to use the trail.
- Trail uses
Parking is available at the following locations:
- Duluth parking area: The Martin Road lot is located at the northern edge of Duluth city limits.
- Normanna Road parking area: Parking is located west of County Road 44.
- Alger Grade parking area: Parking is located 9 miles north of Two Harbors on County Road 2.
- Silver Bay parking area: The lot located on Superior National Forest Road #11, 7 miles west of Silver Bay.
- Finland parking area: The trailhead is located 2 miles north of Finland, on County Road 7.
- Sawbill Trail parking area: A small parking area is located 5 miles north of Tofte on the Sawbill Trail (County Road 2).
- Caribou Trail parking area: The parking lot is located 7 miles north of Lutsen on the Caribou Trail (County Road 4).
Distance in miles
Caribou Trail Parking Area828
Sawbill Parking Area141741
Alger Grade/Two Harbors Parking Area3437578112068728589113
Pequaywan Trail Junction215558781021418993106110133
Normana Road Parking Area5266063831071469498111115139
Duluth Parking Area141940747797121160108112125129153
Restrooms are available at trailhead parking lots and shelters along the trail.
- In the area
In the area
Nearby DNR recreational areas include:
State Water Trails
Public Water Accesses and Safe Harbors
- Grand Marais Public Water Access
- Silver Bay Public Water Access and Safe Harbor
- Taconite Public Water Access and Safe Harbor
- Tofte Public Water Access
- Twin Points Public Water Access
- Two Harbors Public Water Access
State Park and Waysides
- Cascade River State Park
- George Crosby Manitou State Park
- Gooseberry Falls State Park
- Ray Berglund State Wayside
- Split Rock Lighthouse State Park
- Temperance River State Park
- Tettegouche State Park
Wildlife Management Area
The following links will take you off the DNR website.
Share the C.J. Ramstad/North Shore State Trail with others!
There are private lands within state forest and other public lands. Be aware of your surroundings.
- Keep to the right side of the trail.
- Obey traffic signs and rules.
- Follow the snowmobiler's code of ethics.
- Stay on designated trails.
- Respect adjoining landowners' rights and privacy.
- Camping permitted at shelters.
- Pack out all garbage and litter.
- Never leave campfires unattended.
- Pets must be on a leash.
- Enjoy the beauty of wild plants and animals, but leave them undisturbed for all to enjoy.
- Trail users are legally responsible for obeying the rules and regulations provided in Minnesota Rules, 6100.3000.
- Trail seasons
The trail has year-round parking lots and several small summer parking areas. The trail provides access to scenic north shore public lands and roads.
- Snowmobiling connections (over 700 local miles)
- Rustic shelters, and scenic rivers
- Hiking, backpacking, mountain biking and horseback riding
- Fishing, hunting, nature photography
- Solitude in a backcountry setting
Horseback riding opportunities are best between Finland to Cook County Road 6, north of Grand Marais (approximately 70 miles). The trail between Finland and Duluth have seasonally wet areas.
Camping is available at trail shelters and also on adjacent public land (except where posted as prohibited). Respect private property. Pack out all garbage and litter. Use wildfire safety.
Hikers can stay on the trail by following snowmobile trail signs and blazers. When traveling through forested areas, logging often occurs. Use caution when hiking these areas.
Fall colors are usually quite spectacular because the trail follows maple-covered ridges, along with birch and aspen stands.
Fishing enthusiasts will find the trail a good walk-in access to remote, lightly fished streams. Since much of the land is for public use, hunters can use the trail as a walk-in access to many areas.
Snowmobiling: Use safety and be prepared for winter trail travel. Protect yourself from the cold temperatures and review weather conditions before your visit.
The trail is groomed for snowmobiling on a weekly basis and groomers may be on the trail at any time. Stay on the trail or intersecting trails at all times. Use caution in the vicinity of active logging operations. Plan ahead for refueling.