Snowbank Trail

#3 of 114 trails in Superior National Forest

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Snowbank Trail is a 24 mile strenuous loop hike in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) near Ely, MN. The trail circles west/north/east of Snowbank Lake, joining Kekekabic trail in the south back to the trailhead. Accessible year-round. Numerous camping sites and great rocky overlooks.

Head east out of Ely, MN on Hwy 169. Follow Hwy 169/Fernberg Rd to Snowbank Lake Rd. Head left of Snowbank Lake Rd several miles to the trailhead on the left side of the road just short of the lake. (About 23 total miles out of Ely)

There is room for more than a dozen or so vehicles at the trailhead (also the trailhead for the much longer Kekekabic trail).

Permits must be obtained for hiking in the BWCA between May 1st and Sep 31st. Reservations can be made online at Recreation.gov.

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19 Completed 12 Reviews

Combined this loop with portions of the Disappointment Lake loop to the east for a 27 mile 3-day remote and challenging backpacking trip with a couple companions. Again, the trail is beautiful, especially the northern and north-eastern portions with great overlooks of Snowbank Lake from high granite ridges. However, since I was here 4 years ago, the trail has become much more overgrown (whether due to a very wet spring this year, or lack of maintenance, I don't know), making navigation difficult and unclear at times, and footing somewhat treacherous (being often unable to see your footfalls). The portions on the Kekekabic and Disappointment trails were not nearly so overgrown. The water level was high, making most beaver dam and creek crossings challenging and many places mucky. Still well worth doing if you like a challenging and remote hike in the BWCA area (we didn't see another body the whole trip).

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19 Completed 12 Reviews

A great loop hike around Snowbank Lake in the BWCA. The trail is mostly wooded, both old growth and newer clearcut scrub, and can be challenging navigation at times, crossing creeks, beaver damns, and bare granite ridges where cairns are absolutely necessary. Signage is minimal. The high ridges give great views of the lake. Camping sites are spread out but in great shape with fire grates, pit toilets and most with great views of and easy access to the lake for water. Traffic is non-existant due to remote location, but Snowbank is one of the few motorized lakes in the BWCA, so an occasional boat motor is heard.

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