ATV Adventures in Cook County MN
Experiencing the Superior National Forest with an ATV can be a great way to reach some of the more remote areas of the region. In Cook County, MN there are numerous trails and backcountry roads available for your ATV adventures, but it is important to pick up a copy of the US Forest Service Motor Vehicle Use Maps and follow the road signs to make sure you are on authorized ATV/OHV trail. Please respect both private and public lands. Stay on the designated trails and areas to ensure ATV usage in the future.
Find GeoPDF maps for ATV/OHV friendly roads in Cook County by using the Avenza Maps app on your cellular device.
Highlights regarding Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)
Refer to the Motor Vehicle Use Maps for details, but here are some highlights for your own ATV adventure ride.
- See maps below for planned routes.
- These regulations pertain to any vehicle designed for off-highway use traveling within the Superior National Forest, with the exception of snowmobiles.
- Travel is permitted only on the roads or trails which are shown on the map.
- No cross country travel is permitted.
- State regulations regarding OHVs apply in the National Forest.
- Seasonal restrictions are indicated on the map.
- The maps are the final authority on use.
- Maps are updated annually. Always make sure to have the latest version.
- Respect posted closures and unposted closures noted on maps.
- Motor Vehicle Use Maps show permitted use only within the Superior National Forest. Features outside the Forest are only shown as a courtesy: some roads and trails may not be shown; permitted use and restrictions are neither shown nor implied.
For more information, click here.
Suggested routes from the Cook County atv Club
Timber Frear Loop (A) – Something for everyone! Approximately 25 miles of old railroad grade with some rough terrain, mud puddles and a couple of gravel pits to play in. Lovely places to stop along the meandering Cross River and Timber Frear area lakes.
- To get there: From Tofte, turn off Highway 61 onto the Sawbill Trail. Head north for about 14.5 miles. Turn left onto Four Mile Grade (Forest Road 170). Travel about 2 miles to Whitefish Lake Road. The gravel pit there has plenty of room for parking and unloading trailers—and even for self-contained campers, if visitors want to stay overnight.
- From Schroeder, turn off Highway 61 to the Temperance River Road (Forest Road 343). Drive 4 miles to the 600 Road (Forest Road 166). Drive about 1 mile to Forest Road 346 and then 5.5 miles for Four Mile Grade (Forest Road 170). Travel about 2 miles to the gravel pit near the end of Whitefish Lake Road.
Pancore-Rice Lake Loop (B) – This scenic loop is an approximately 13 mile changing path of wider forest road to close-in riding experiences, with a mix of deciduous and evergreens. Lots of nice water views with two crossings of the Poplar River. Maintained by the Cook County ATV Club, this is also a favorite of mountain bikers.
- To get there: From Lutsen: Take the Caribou Trail to the Clara Lake Road turnoff (about 7 miles). Go another 4 miles to the start of the Rice Lake/Pancore Loop, just opposite the turnoff to the Clara Lake campground. A good starting spot is the North Shore State Trail parking lot about six miles up the Caribou Trail. Unload there and ride the Caribou Trail for about 1 mile to the Clara Lake Road.
- From Tofte: Take the Sawbill Trail to the Grade Road turnoff and head east about 2 miles, crossing over the Temperance River and in about a half mile, turn right onto the Rice Lake Road.
Grand Marais to Mid-Gunflint Trail (C) – A pleasurable 70-mile there-and-back ride starting right from downtown Grand Marais! This route uses some paved county roads, some scenic gravel roads (Meridian, Pine Mountain, South Brule and Lima Grade Roads) and a bit of snowmobile trail paralleling the historic Gunflint Trail. Consider dining at Cook County ATV Club business supporters along the way: Skyport Lodge, Trail Center, and Hungry Jack Lodge.
- To get there: Park your trailer and ride your wheeler! You can ride from your lodging in the core downtown area (ATVs not allowed on Highway 61), but hotels such as Aspen Lodge and Best Western have parking and are across the highway from streets leading to this route. There is also parking in the city’s municipal parking lot off Broadway Avenue or on Artist’s Point.
Hovland Woods from South Brule (D) – After trailering up the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway, park at the South Brule parking lot and ride minimum maintenance (AKA rocky and muddy!) forest roads to the stunning Hovland Woods ATV Trail, a scenic jaunt through a hardwood forest—the ONLY ATV trail in the state that passes through a Minnesota Scientific and Natural Area (SNA).
- To get there: From Grand Marais: Trailer approximately 17 miles up the Gunflint Trail. Just after the South Brule bridge is a parking area with plenty of room on the right. Unload and start off from Blueberry Road for the 21-mile ride to Hovland Woods.
- Or, from Hovland: Trailer approximately 8 miles up the Arrowhead Trail. Turn left onto Irish Creek Road. Find the Hovland Woods Trailhead in approximately 1.2 miles.
Hovland Woods from Grand Marais – This approximately 75-mile round trip takes you from downtown Grand Marais via a variety of county and forest roads to the one-of-a-kind Hovland Woods ATV Trail, the ONLY Scientific and Natural Area in Minnesota with an ATV trail. This is a truly multiple use trail – the ATV grant-in-aid trail is shared with the Superior Hiking Trail, mountain bikers, horse, and in the winter, snowmobilers and mushers.
- To get there: Park your trailer, unload and ride! You can ride from your lodging in the core downtown area, from hotels such as Aspen Lodge and Best Western. There is also parking in the city’s municipal parking lot off Broadway Avenue or on Artist’s Point.
These are suggested routes, enjoyed by the local ATV Club. There are many other forest roads available for riding, as you can see on the overall map. Feel free to get out and explore if you wish, just watch for “private property” and “No motorized traffic except snowmobiles” signs.
ALMOST all county roads are open to Class 1 ATVs, except for a portion of the upper Gunflint Trail. All roads (except Highway 61) are open to Class 2 ATVs (side-by-side machines).
One important requirement for riding Cook County roads is you MUST have a rear-view mirror on your machine. And to follow state statutes and to be safe, ride with headlights ON at all times.