Frozen yet peculiarly beautiful Big Sandy Lake remains smothered in fresh powder, much to the delight of the countless snowmobilers who’ve gleefully migrated north to Aitkin County. Not surprisingly, we’ve seen an influx of winter enthusiasts in recent months here at Big Sandy Lodge & Resort. Yet, we cannot help but daydream about spring’s gradual thaw, mainly because this peaceful, frozen tundra transforms into a sloppy, raucous refuge for ATVers of all ages and levels of expertise. If you’ve ever trekked into the heart of Aitkin County, you likely already know that these dense woods, rolling hillsides, and abandoned railways are home to some of the gnarliest ATV trails in Minnesota.
The Most Exciting ATV Trails in Minnesota: Aitkin County
Before we dive into three of our favorite ATV trails in Minnesota, it’s important to note that spring is just around the corner. Big Sandy Lodge & Resort, thanks to its striking lakefront location, remains a popular post-ride hangout for ATVers from across the region. And Big Sandy Lake is just a short-haul from the Soo Line (as mentioned below), so you’ll always be minutes away from hours of seclusion, adventure, and exploration.
Northwoods ATV Trail – Lawler Loops
The Northwoods ATV Trail, for all intents and purposes, encompasses all other routes and systems in the county, including the Soo Line. And the two Lawler loops in-between McGregor and Moose Lake glaringly stand out for their true backcountry appeal. The trails are named after a tiny, nearby township, which is the best spot along the Soo Line to park your rig. Lawler’s North and South loops cover 16 miles of glorious terrain, including deep-forested crawls and wide-open runs. You’ll even rumble upon a picnic area with tables and grills, so don’t forget to pack a small cooler filled with ground beef! As you’ll notice on this detailed map, our picturesque lodge is also a brief drive from the Red Top Trail, Solana Forest Loop, Blind Lake Loop, Blind Lake Connector, Rabey Line Trail, Moose River Connector, Hill City Connector, and UPM Blandin Trail.
Soo Line North Trail
The Soo Line darts through the heart of the Northwoods ATV Trail. It remains one of the most-frequented ATV trails in Minnesota. In fact, when riders search for “ATV trails near me,” they typically cross paths with the Soo Line. The Soo Line, which closely follows an abandoned railroad grade, zigs from Onamia to Moose Lake then zags all the way to Remer. Unlike most backcountry ATV trails in Minnesota, the Soo Line allows riders to reach super-high speeds while also providing plenty of exhilarating whoops, challenging crawls, and scream-inducing bowls. As seen on this handy map, the best place to park your truck is in McGregor.
Axtell Technical Riding Area
One of the most secretive ATV parks in Minnesota rests along the Soo Line: the Axtell Technical Riding Area, a hidden gem if there ever was one. This beginner-friendly ATV park is less than three miles northwest of McGregor. An ATV can only reach it from four access points. Most groups make a pit stop at this secluded playground to teach novices a new trick or warm-up for a long haul. You’ll enjoy free access to tabletops, rock crawls, large bowls, and timber scrambles.
Quintessential Minnesota Lake Resorts
After exploring a handful of the best ATV trails in Minnesota’s pristine north country, retreat to Big Sandy Lodge & Resort for a relaxing evening with friends and family. Before retiring to your modern yet rustic cabin, don’t forget to dine on a tomahawk steak, enjoy an adult beverage or two, and share stories with fellow riders at Bear’s Den Sports Bar & Grille. We highly recommend browsing through our extensive collection of Big Sandy Lake cabin rentals before booking a stay. Choose between a three-level villa, classic cabin, cozy lodge room, or golf course log home. Please give us a call today at 218-426-5040 to learn more about our family- and group-friendly respite (or check availability online).