Blue Ox Trail (Voyageur Trail)

Minnesota

Blue Ox Trail (Voyageur Trail) Facts

States: Minnesota
Counties: Beltrami, Itasca, Koochiching
Length: 96.5 miles
Trail end points: County Road 20 (Bemidji, start of the Paul Bunyan Trail) and 11th St. at US 53/3rd Ave. (International Falls)
Trail surfaces: Ballast, Dirt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016246
Trail activities: ATV, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Snowmobiling, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Blue Ox Trail (Voyageur Trail) Description

The Blue Ox–Voyageur Trail is a multi-use trail that permits ATVs and snowmobiles. It also accommodates mountain bikers, hikers, and equestrians along the former railroad right-of-way between International Falls and Lake Bemidji State Park.

The nearly 100-mile trail travels through remote stretches of subalpine forest, spruce swamps and upland stands of aspen, linking towns along the way. It can be boggy in places but does provide access to some of Minnesota's most scenic landscapes. The trail incorporates beautiful railroad trestles across the Little Fork and Big Fork rivers.

At it's southern end in Lake Bemidji State Park, the Blue Ox Trail–Voyageur Trail connects to the Paul Bunyan State Trail at County Road 20. The latter, carries on for another 119 miles and is paved.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking for the Blue Ox-Voyageur Trail is available in Internationa Falls, Lake Bemidji State Park, Northome and Big Falls. For information, contact the Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources at (218) 999-7923.

Blue Ox Trail (Voyageur Trail) Reviews

Parts of the trail between Big Falls and Littlefork are under a foot or more of water, and for a considerable distance. Not recommended for smaller atvs, bicycles, etc, on that portion. Most of the trail is overgrown with tall grass and in some areas it's hard to tell where the trail even is. It's ok for atvs and horses but nothing else. It's very bumpy too. If the dnr maintained and repaired the trail I'm sure more people would use it

I posted two eariler reviews which were requests for info about the Blue Ox/Voager Trl. Since I am in the process of Traversing America latitude by latitude on trails only from the Canadian to Mexican border, the Blue Ox provides the closest I could come to having a trail end very close to the northern US border. September 17-18/2013, my son and I rode all the trail we were able to ride. The were two places that the trail had breaks (Tenstrike & ~3 miles north of Big Falls) that required riding the sholder of US HiWay 71. The sholder is 3-4' wide and traffic is minimal (a car/truck in either direction every 1-3 minutes). I rode the trail as much as I could. North of Big Falls the Blue Ox starts again but swamp conditions lead to water over the trail as much as knee deep and extending for long, maybe 1/2-2 mile stretchs. With the bridge closed at Little Fork, I recommend riding Hiway 71 all the way to I'Falls from Big Falls. Percent of trail composition of the 107 mi Blue Ox trail: 10% 4-5 inch loose rock ballast,25% grass,30% packed ballast/gravel,10%,packed dirt(the best surface),20% small loose rocks and soft sand (ATV damage???),5% water covered. This trail is NOT a road bike and an unlikely a trail or hybrid bike option. I recommend a MTB with dual shocks and fat nobby tires. I still got bounced around but at age 69 everything hurts anyway. I never saw a sole on or around the but did see many deer and birds. The trail is more open without any tree tunnels you get on most converted rail trails. It appears this trail is for ATV's and Snowmobiles. I will post some pictures if I can. I am glad my son went with me. We were lucky with the weather but I would have been a beaten-up sole if I had been caught with a headwind, rain or snow. We just missed 70 mph winds and hail Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Good luck!

Looking for information regarding ability to get to Bemigi from International Falls by bicycle. Is this trail passable with a mountain bike? Is there water over the trai? Any comments would be helpful. Thanks

Accordion

I am planning to ride this trail this summer(September 2013) but hear that 1-2 feet of water cover parts of the trail. Is there anyone that has ridden the trail and can tell me if it is passable on a mountain bike? Email me if you have any info. Thanks gim820@yahoo.com

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