18 Best ATV Trails MN: Minnesota

Minnesota, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, is known for its beautiful landscape and vast forests. Ride through heavily wooded trails, railroad lines, former mining areas, and much more. Enjoy the scenic views of the Minnesota countryside. There are many ATV trails MN has to offer.

From Snake Creek OHV Trails in Southeastern Minnesota to the Fourtown-Grygla Trail in the Northwestern side, Minnesota is one of the best destinations for ATV riders of all skill levels.

Here are the 18 Best ATV Trails in Minnesota:

  1. Appleton Area Recreational Park
  2. Forest Riders Trail
  3. Fond du Lac State Forest Trails
  4. Iron Range OHVRA – Gilbert
  5. Meeker County OHV Park
  6. Northwoods ATV Trail – Aitkin County
  7. Soo Pits OHV Trails
  8. Fourtown-Grygla Trail
  9. Spider Lake Trails
  10. Nemadji State Forest OHV Trails
  11. Snake Creek OHV Trails
  12. Round River Drive Trail
  13. Solana Loop
  14. St. Croix State Forest Trails
  15. Alborn-Pengilly Railroad Trail
  16. Alwood-Squaw Lake Trail
  17. Timber Trails System
  18. Blue Ox Trail

Minnesota boasts of thousands of ATV trails from flat and easy terrain for beginners to winding and uphill rocky climbs for experienced riders. There’s no better way to explore national and state forests and enjoy the panoramic vistas along the way. Let’s check out each of the 18 ATV trails MN has to offer.

18 Best ATV Trails MN: Minnesota

Red ATV Parked Beside Forest

1. Appleton Area Recreational Park

The 330-acre Appleton Area Recreational Park includes 20 miles of ATV/OHV trails for all skill levels. Gravel mining in the past has created rolling terrain, which makes for awesome riding adventures for the entire family. The park also has a motocross track, several sand dunes, and some picnic and play areas. All types of OHVs are permitted on the trail provided that there is an MN OHV Permit. The 20-mile, mostly tree-lined trails, have the following allocation:

  • 4×4 Truck Trails – 10 miles
  • ATV/OHM Trails – 15 miles
  • OHM Practice track – 2.5 miles
  • 3 Enduro tracks
  • Youth ATV training course
  • Youth OHV practice track

Appleton is an ATV-friendly city, where OHV vehicles are allowed on posted roads. The park is open daily from dusk to dawn, but the nearby Appleton Municipal Campground can accommodate riders and their families. For more information, check out the Appleton Area Recreational OHV Park website.

Appleton Minnesota

2. Forest Riders Trail

Forest Riders Trail offers 100-miles of ATV trails that take riders through some of Minnesota’s picturesque vistas and wind through remote state forests — Paul Bunyan, Two Inlets, White Earth, and Smoky Hills. The trailhead is near Park Rapids and meanders through curved forest trails, rolling and hilly areas, and more enjoyable terrain. The paths cross through Becker and Hubbard counties.

Camping areas are available for those who wish to enjoy the great outdoors. There are many resorts and hotels nearby, and campsites in the state forests — Paul Bunyan and Two Inlets. Forest Riders Trail is just one of the many MN DNR ATV trails that you should check out.

3. Fond du Lac State Forest Trails

The 64,000-acre Fond du Lac State Forest offers 37 miles of ATV trails that range from wide, gentle curves to narrower, tighter curves and corners. Peat bogs, several lakes, and conifer trees make up the terrain. 

The western area has novice-friendly trails, while the eastern section has more difficult and challenging trails. There’s a gravel pit where riders can practice before tackling the more challenging loops.

The trails are open all year except deer hunting season and spring thaw. During winter, OHVs are not permitted in designated snowmobile trails.

Aside from ATVs, UTV, motorcycles, and dirt bikes are also allowed. However, SUVs, jeeps, dune buggies, and sand rail 4×4 are prohibited. An MN OHV Permit is required, but there are no parking, entrance, riding, and camping fees. For more info, go to the MN DNR Parks and Trails website.

4. Iron Range OHVRA – Gilbert

Out of the 36 miles of OHV trails in the Iron Range OHVRA, 20 are designated for ATVs. The trails offer exciting adventures for all skill levels as trails range from easy to more difficult to most difficult. All routes are marked and rated.

In addition to ATVs, other vehicle types allowed include motorcycles, dirt bikes, UTV, SXS, registered Jeeps, dune buggies, and sand rail 4×4.

The trails are open from 8 am to an hour before sunset, so the closing time varies between seasons. Be sure to get your OHV registration before your trip. You can purchase this online. An MN ATV trails map is also available on the website.

Camping is not allowed in the recreation area, but there are amenities for food, gas, and lodging in nearby Gilbert.

5. Meeker County OHV Park

The Meeker County OHV Park has about 5 miles of trails designated for ATV use. It also has 6 miles of trails for motorcycles, a mud pit, and a youth training area on site. The park is open all year, but inclement weather may cause temporary closures. An MN OHV Permit is required to use the trail.

Only ATVs, UTVs, motorcycles, dirt bikes, and SXS are permitted. Since there is an entrance gate or posts, the maximum width of vehicles should be 65 inches.

The trail is mostly hard-packed with some loose dirt, sand, mud, and dust, and there are a few steep hills, water crossings, and some berms and small jumps. For more info, contact the Meeker County OHV Park.

6. Northwoods ATV Trail – Aitkin County

The Northwoods ATV Trail is in the ATV-friendly trail towns of Aitkin County. It’s part of the Soo-Line Trail and offers about 207 miles of connected, marked, and maintained ATV trails. The trails will take ATV riders through scenic vistas of Aitkin County and the surrounding areas. Be ready to encounter various types of wildlife along the way. Riders of all skills and experiences will surely have an enjoyable time traversing the family-friendly trails. For more information, check out the website.

7. Soo Pits OHV Trails

Soo Pits OHV Trails offers 5 miles of trails that will take ATV riders through curves and twists of the northern hardwoods. The trails’ highlight is the abandoned gravel pit, where one can practice climbing and scramble on its steep rims and piles of materials.

The Soo Pits OHV Trails is just a few minutes away from Moose Lake, where food, gas, lodging, and restrooms are available.

Aside from ATVs, motorcycles, dirt bikes, UTVs and SXS are permitted as long as an MN OHV Permit. If you’re not from Minnesota, be sure to get a trail pass. The trail is open from April 1 to November 30. For more information, go to the Carlton County website.

8. Fourtown-Grygla Trail

The 170-mile Fourtown-Grygla Trail stretches throughout the northwestern part of Minnesota. The trail system takes ATV riders through country roads, past fields and farmland, streams, existing trails, forested areas, and township roads. The various terrains are easy-to-ride as most are relatively level and has only a few obstacles.

It’s privately maintained by the local club Fourtown Grygla Sportsman’s Club. You may need to get a trail permit for some parts of the trail system. Click here to find out more.

9. Spider Lake Trails

The 29-mile Spider Lake ATV Trails in Minnesota stretch throughout the Foot Hills State Forest. The trails range from smooth to sandy to rough and rocky. ATV riders will surely find it challenging to maneuver their way around curves along the shorelines of lakes and ponds, ridges, hills, and slopes under the forest canopy. Its diverse and challenging trails make Spider Lake a much sought-after destination for riders to test and sharpen their skills.

The trails are open throughout the year except on snowmobile trails that are groomed and signed. Aside from ATVs, the trail is also open to OHMs and ORVs. For more information, visit the website.

10. Nemadji State Forest OHV Trails

Nemadji State Forest’s 92,000 acres is home to one of Minnesota’s largest and diverse ATV trail systems. There are about 100 miles dedicated to ATV trails, 27 miles of single track trails exclusive for motorcycles. The routes will take riders through dense forest terrain that consists of several swamps, rolling hills, and several creeks and stream crossings. The narrow twists, turns, and climbs of the northerly trail sections will surely be an adventure ATV riders will always look forward to. Some parts of the trail system connect to the Matthew Lourey State Trail and the Gandy Dancer Trail, which offers additional exciting riding opportunities. 

Camping is allowed in developed sites only. For more information including, contact the Nemadji State Forest – Moose Lake Area Office.

11. Snake Creek OHV Trails

Snake Creeks 13.5 miles of marked ATV trails will take riders through forested areas in southeastern Minnesota. Some of the trails have challenging outcroppings and cobbles. There’s mostly mud, some dust, a few water crossings, and berms. ATV riders experience scenic overlooks while riding along Snake Creek Valley.

Trails open from May to November 1. Vehicles must have an MN OHV Permit to use the trails. Aside from ATVs, only dirt bikes, motorcycles, UTVs, and SXS are permitted.

Camping is allowed, but trailblazing is prohibited. Check out the R.J. Dorer State Forest РRochester Area Office website for more information.

12. Round River Drive Trail

The 107-mile Round River Drive Trail is an adventure in itself as ATV riders maneuver through the twists, turns, climbs, moraines, pothole lakes, and abundant flora and fauna of the Paul Bunyan State Forest. ATVs can use the trail year-round, but groomed snowmobile trails are off-limits during winter. There may also be temporary, seasonal closures. Call ahead before heading out. For more details, contact the MN Department of Natural Resources.

13. Solana Loop

Solana Loop is a 15-mile detour from the Soo Line South Trail and passes through the scenic Solana State Forest. The trail is marked and lightly maintained. The woody trail is mostly hardpack with some loose dirt, sand, mud, dust, and some rocks, and there are some steep hills and water crossings. Vehicles require an MN OHV Permit. Be sure to observe the maximum vehicle width of 65 inches. Contact the Solana State Forest- Grand Rapids Area Office for more information.

14. St. Croix State Forest Trails

St. Croix State Forest Trails have 26 miles of mostly hard-packed ATV paths that wind through a scenic forest filled with pine, maple, birch, and aspen. Various staging areas provide easy access to the trail system. With easy access to Gandy Dancer Trail on the eastern side of the forest, riders have more riding miles to explore.

The trails are open all year except spring thaw and deer hunting season. Only ATVs, UTVs, SXS, motorcycles, and dirt bikes with MN OHV Permit are allowed.

Camping is allowed in some developed sites. Boulder Campground also offers primitive camping facilities. Check out the St. Croix State Forest – Moose Lake Area Office for more information.

15. Alborn-Pengilly Railroad Trail

The 39-mile Alborn Pengilly Railroad ATV Trail follows an abandoned railroad grade between Alborn (St. Louis County) and Pengilly (Itasca County). The trail is open for ATVs, UTVs, and SXS use from April 1 to November 20. MN ATV laws require an OHV Permit. Contact MN DNR for more information.

16. Alwood-Squaw Lake Trail

Alwood-Squaw Lake Trail offers a 159-mile ATV trail through the scenic Bowstring State Forest and the Chippewa National Forest. ATV riders experience the verdant forests of Aspen and Pine with scenic views of lakes and streams. The trail crosses the longest ATV trail boardwalk located in Itasca County and connects with the Island Lake Connection Trail to the Blue Ox Trail.

The trail permits ATV (class 1 and2) and OHMs. It is open all year except spring from March 15 to May 15.

17. Timber Trails System

The 128-mile Timber Trails System has five interconnected trail sections. Rated as easy, the trail’s several loops provide plenty of family-friendly riding and adventure through forested areas.

There are tons of lakes and small ponds that riders can explore, such as the loop that passes through the scenic Blackduck Lake, one of the larger lakes on the trails. One can have easy access to Alvwood-Squaw Lake Trail and the Blue Ox Trail from the Timber Trail System.

A ride through the trails offers lots of rare opportunities for sighting wildlife such as grouse, deer, geese, porcupine, foxes, bear, and many wild birds native to Northern Minnesota. These MN ATV trails are open from May 1 to November 1.

18. Blue Ox Trail

Blue Ox Trail has 74 miles of challenging and fun-filled ATV adventures through a straight trail that leads to International Falls at the Canadian Border. It’s an easy trail that follows an abandoned railroad grade. Occasional ruts dot the primarily hard-packed dirt and gravel trail. A heavy downpour usually brings water and mud on the path. On the way to the Canadian Border, ATVs pass through the town of Littlefork, MN. There are lots of opportunities to view wildlife.

The regular season is from April 1 to November 30. For more information, visit the MN DNR Blue Ox Trail website.

Minnesota Forest Mountain View

Conclusion: 18 Best ATV Trails MN: Minnesota

So what are the 18 best ATV trails in MN? In summary, here are the top picks again:

  1. Appleton Area Recreational Park
  2. Forest Riders Trail
  3. Fond du Lac State Forest Trails
  4. Iron Range OHVRA – Gilbert
  5. Meeker County OHV Park
  6. Northwoods ATV Trail – Aitkin County
  7. Soo Pits OHV Trails
  8. Fourtown-Grygla Trail
  9. Spider Lake Trails
  10. Nemadji State Forest OHV Trails
  11. Snake Creek OHV Trails
  12. Round River Drive Trail
  13. Solana Loop
  14. St. Croix State Forest Trails
  15. Alborn-Pengilly Railroad Trail
  16. Alwood-Squaw Lake Trail
  17. Timber Trails System
  18. Blue Ox Trail

ATV trails in MN are a thirst-quencher for riders looking for some of the country’s most incredible ATV adventures. Every turn will surely be a fun and memorable experience!

Kris Peter

Adventure seeker and off-road enthusiast. I love the thrill of going off-road and taking on the elements.

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