The Lake Vermilion Trail will be a premier, paved, scenic route providing an opportunity for healthy, safe, non-motorized, year-round, transportation and recreation connecting Cook and Tower/Soudan in the beautiful natural landscape south of Lake Vermilion for residents and visitors.


The proposed Lake Vermilion Trail will be a 40-mile, paved, non-motorized, multi-use trail that will connect the communities of Cook and Tower/Soudan with public recreational opportunities near the south shore of Lake Vermilion. The Trail will provide a safe place for residents and visitors to walk and bicycle to public water accesses, scenic overlooks, parks, campgrounds, existing non-motorized trails, and other community amenities. Find a concept map of the trail by clicking here.

Lake Vermilion Trail Corridor Map


The idea of the Lake Vermilion Trail was conceived in the late 1980s, when Lake Vermilion resort owners saw great value in the prospect of a paved trail making connections throughout the area. But work toward implementing this vision didn’t begin until more than 20 years later.

In 2011, the Lake Vermilion Resort Association hired the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC) to develop the Lake Vermilion Trail Plan, which brought together area stakeholders to outline a conceptual vision of the proposed Lake Vermilion Trail. In 2013, this process was continued when SRF Consulting was hired to develop the Lake Vermilion Trail Location Study, which outlined the feasibility and cost of constructing selected western segments of the Trail.

In 2015, the Lake Vermilion Trail Steering Committee, with technical assistance from the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program and the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC), reconvened to launch implementation efforts of the Trail. In 2018, the group published the Lake Vermilion Trail Master Plan to enhance the Trail’s access to funding opportunities.

Ongoing Efforts

Since reconvening, the Committee developed publicity materials for the Trail, created a Joint Powers Board to enable development and maintenance of the future Trail, and started up a non-profit fund-raising group called Friends of the Lake Vermilion Trail.

Current efforts focus on building local awareness of the Trail, fund-raising, trail reconnaissance, and preparing for trail construction grant applications.  Please visit the Meetings page to learn about past and ongoing efforts made by the Joint Powers Board, Friends of the Lake Vermilion Trail, and original Steering Committee.

If you would like to be involved with the Joint Powers Board or Friends of the Lake Vermilion Trail, please visit send a note to lvtinfo@yahoo.com.

Donate / Friends of the Lake Vermilion Trail

It takes a village to build a trail! To make a tax-deductible donation to trail development efforts, click the “donate” button or send your contribution to the mailing address below:

Friends of the Lake Vermilion Trail
1300 Trygg Road
Ely, MN 55731

Please make checks payable to “Friends of the Lake Vermilion Trail”.


Keep up to date on the latest news from the Lake Vermilion Trail here!


What are your thoughts? Send us an email at lvtinfo@yahoo.com, and a representative from the Lake Vermilion Trail Steering Committee will reach out to you as soon as possible. You can also keep in touch with us on Facebook.