Four Wheeler Trails Around Blackduck, Minnesota

by Lynda Wilson

Blackduck, Minnesota sits along the edge of the Chippewa National Forest in northern Minnesota. The city is often said to be "on top of the world" as the Continental Divide is just outside the city limits. Rivers north of the city flow north to Canada's Hudson Bay, while rivers south of the city flow south to the Gulf of Mexico. The area is a popular vacation destination and offers facilities for outdoor activities of all kinds, including two designated trails for all-terrain vehicles.

Blue Ox ATV Trail

The Blue Ox ATV Trail starts 6.7 miles north of Blackduck in Funkley, Minnesota, and runs 64 miles to International Falls, Minnesota, on the Canadian border. The trail runs along an abandoned railroad grade and winds through scenic black spruce swamps and stands of upland aspen. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources designates the Blue Ox Trail as "easiest" in its trail classification system. Parking facilities and trail-access points are located in Funkley, Northome, Big Falls and International Falls. The trail is open from April 1 to November 30.

Chippewa National Forest

Minnesota's Chippewa National Forest, located just east of the town of Blackduck, covers 1.6 million acres of northern hardwood forest. The forest lands include 700 lakes, 920 miles of rivers and streams and 150,000 acres of wetlands. It is co-governed by the USDA Forest Service and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. Off-highway vehicle use is permitted on designated roads throughout the forest. The USDA Forest Service provides maps of designated roads at the visitor centers in the park and on their website. Roads open to off-highway vehicles are closed between March 15 and May 1.

Ditch Riding

Ditch riding along scenic county roads and state highways is another way many people enjoy riding an ATV in the Blackduck area. The State of Minnesota generally allows Class 1 ATVs to ride along the ditches of state highways and county roads, with some restrictions. Class 1 ATVs are defined as having three to six low pressure tires, engine displacement of less than 960 cubic centimeters and total dry weight of less than 1,000 pounds. Ditch riding is restricted in state parks, recreation areas, historic sites, wildlife management areas, wetlands and certain agricultural zones. Ditch riding inside the city limits of Blackduck is further restricted by city ordinances.

Minnesota ATV Licensing and Permits

All ATVs operated in Minnesota must be registered with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, including those used exclusively on private property. Only adults 18 and older can register an ATV. All-terrain vehicles are classified as either Class 1 or Class 2, with a Class 1 ATV weighing under 1,000 pounds, and a Class 2 ATV weighing 1,000 to 1,800 pounds. ATVs can be registered at a deputy registrar of motor vehicles office statewide. ATVs registered in another state are not required to register in Minnesota if the ATV will be operated in Minnesota for no longer than 30 days. However, non-residents operating an ATV on state trails must obtain a trail pass if they are operating an ATV registered in another state. Non-resident trail passes are available through the Minnesota DNR's website.

About the Author

Lynda Wilson has been sharing her knowledge with web readers for over 10 years. She currently owns and operates online travel websites covering travel to Mexico. Her past experience includes operating a Spanish school in Mexico, as well as directing graduate admissions at a major U.S. university. Lynda holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Minnesota.

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