Blue Ox Trail/Voyageur Trail/Paul Bunyan Trail/Heartland Trail
Paul Bunyan Trail, which combined forms one of the longest rail-to-trail conversions in North America with a total distance of 213 miles, the longest of Minnesota’s state trails, because (duh!) Paul Bunyan and the Blue Ox go together, right? Then we’re adding in Heartland State Trail because, why not? They’re all connected.
Voyageur/Blue Ox Trail runs nearly 100 miles providing well-marked snowmobile trails along an abandoned railroad grade between International Falls and Lake Bemidji State Park. Weaving through remote stretches of forest on the higher slopes of mountains just below the timberline, through spruce swamps and upland stands of aspen, linking towns along the way, this trail offers some of Minnesota’s most scenic landscapes. The trail also incorporates beautiful railroad trestles across the Little Fork and Big Fork rivers. It’s a great place to ride snowmobile if you’re a beginner. Expect to see tons of wildlife – eagles, moose, beavers, bobcats, and wolves and more.
At its southern end in Lake Bemidji State Park, you’ll run into the Paul Bunyan State Trail, which you can follow for approximately 123 miles, all the way to Brainerd, providing well-marked and groomed snowmobile trails for riders all skill levels will enjoy. Primarily located on a former Burlington Northern Railroad grade, the trail provides some challenges with its rolling hills and curves. The Paul Bunyan State Trail runs through a region rich in history boasting thirteen recorded prehistoric sites nearby. The trail connects to the Heartland state trail, one of the first rail-to-trail projects in the country. It is a 49-mile paved multiple-use trail between Park Rapids and Cass Lake that also provides options for many additional miles of groomed snowmobile trails. Keep an eye open for whitetail deer, raccoon, red fox, porcupine, beaver, muskrat, coyote, weasel, mink, bobcat, black squirrel and black bear.