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.