North Arm Trails

This is a large system of summer hiking and winter XC ski trails (42 km).

Trails are maintained in the summer for day use hiking.  Hikers will have to fill out and carry a BWCAW day use permit if they plan to enter the BWCAW on these trails.  

Ski trails in the winter are are user groomed and user maintained.  This means trails are usually single tracked for classic skiing only.  Trails vary in skill level from intermediate to advanced and offer routes to locations with names like "Lost Lake" and "Druid Pines".  Most of the trails venture into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness - if you enter the BWCAW, you will need to fill out a use permit available, usually available at a self-serve kiosk where the trails begin.  

Several trails involve skiing on frozen lakes.  Exercise caution when skiing on frozen water, particularly in narrow areas or on streams where moving water could create thin ice.  Skiers should bring 'ice picks' to climb out if the ice breaks.

There are several access points off of the North Arm Road (Co 644).

For a printable map, click here.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: In the winter, visit the Ely Chamber of Commerce website for current trail conditions.
Fees: See permit section below.
Permit Info:
  • You will need to fill out a BWCAW entry permit (free) available at the trailhead.  
  • BWCAW entry point #6-Slim Lake.
Restrictions: For rules and regulations, see the BWCAW Trip Planning Guide.
Information Center: Kawishiwi Ranger District Email | Call | Address | Webpage


Day Hiking


Dogs and skijoring are allowed on these trails.  Dog sleds would find it difficult to negotiate most of the trails.  If you are using dogs, please leave no trace by picking up dog litter and any remains of food or bedding materials.  Try to avoid ski tracks, and repair tracks melted out by dog droppings.

XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

If you are snowshoeing, be sure to stay clear of ski tracks.

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
42 km of trails