North Country Trail (NCT): Minnesota
ElevationAscent: 71,045' 21,655 m
Descent: -69,866' -21,295 m
High: 2,051' 625 m
Low: 602' 184 m
GradeAvg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 13% (7°)
Current trail conditions
Popular hikes nearby
3.0 mi 4.8 km • Loop • 343 ft Ascent 104.42 m Ascent
Singletrack Duluth, MN( 1 )
Split Rock River Loop
5.1 mi 8.2 km • Loop • 805 ft Ascent 245.29 m Ascent
Singletrack Silver Bay, MN( 8 )
High Falls and Two Step Falls
3.6 mi 5.8 km • Loop • 528 ft Ascent 160.81 m Ascent
Singletrack Silver Bay, MN( 10 )
Caribou River Out and Back
1.7 mi 2.8 km • Loop • 312 ft Ascent 95.06 m Ascent
Singletrack Silver Bay, MN( 1 )
1.2 mi 1.9 km • Out and Back • 47 ft Ascent 14.38 m Ascent
Singletrack Grand Marais, MN( 7 )
Navigate on-trail with our free app
Hiked this trail?
Add details to help others plan their adventure.
“Hike the 870 miles of the North Country Trail across Minnesota and cross 3 of the State's 3 biomes.”— Matthew Davis
Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife · Commonly Backpacked
Family Friendly Parts are easier in terms of topography and loops are available.
The far western portion of the NCT crosses the Red River Valley on roadwalk. Here you can see industrial scale agriculture and catch glimpses of the Valley before it was converted from tallgrass prairie to farmland. There are sections of off-road trail in Fergus Falls and Maplewood State Park.
A long contiguous segment starts at Hwy 34 east of Detroit Lakes and extends through Itasca State Park and the Chippewa National Forest before reaching Hwy 6 near Remer. From there, it's a roadwalk into Grand Rapids where the NCT temporarily follows the Mesabi Trail - a paved multi-use trail through the heart of the Iron Range.
A roadwalk takes the NCT from the end of the Mesabi Trail up to Ely and then onto the Kekekabic Trail which crosses the heart of the BWCAW. Next, the Border Route Trail crosses the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) with great views of Canada and then finally the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) takes the NCT down the North Shore to the Wisconsin border near Jay Cooke State Park.