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Get out while you can

LAKE MILLE LACS -- With many ATV trails closing for the season on Nov. 1, now is the prime time to ride in Mille Lacs and Aitkin Counties, said Tina Chapman of Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council in a news release.

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LAKE MILLE LACS - With many ATV trails closing for the season on Nov. 1, now is the prime time to ride in Mille Lacs and Aitkin Counties, said Tina Chapman of Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council in a news release.

There are more than 300 miles of ATV trails between the two counties, all connected, ranging in difficulty for beginners and families to more seasoned riders looking for an off-road adventure.

"It's by far and away the largest connected ATV trail system in the state of Minnesota," said Ross Wagner, Aitkin County Economic Development Coordinator, in a news release. "Everything that the great northwoods has to offer you can witness here on your ATV."

The Soo Line South Trail, a former railway trail, spans from the southern edge of Lake Mille Lacs, north to Superior, Wis. It connects other ATV trails along the way, many of which feature obstacles, steep grades and varying surfaces for experienced riders.

In Mille Lacs and Aitkin counties, Les Pinz, a 50-year member of the Drift Skippers Snowmobile and ATV Club, is among the crew that helps maintain the trails.

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"This time of year, the scenic beauty of our trails is something to behold," he said in a news release. "This is a beautiful area of Minnesota to explore by ATV."

Here are a few routes Pinz recommends around the Lake Mille Lacs area:

Soo Line South Trail

About: Skirting the southern edge of Lake Mille Lacs, this trail passes through five Minnesota counties and travels through farmlands, wetlands and woodlands as it follows the former railroad grade. In Mille Lacs County, the trail runs just south of the Rum River State Forest, Mille Lacs Kathio State Park and Father Hennepin State Park.

Distance: 114 miles..

Difficulty: Easy

Parking: Parking is available in Isle, McGrath, Moose Lake and Genola.

Season: April 1- Nov. 30.

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Vehicles Allowed: Class I and II.

Red Top Trail

About: The trail is a series of challenging loops that have developed a reputation for abundant technical backwoods riding including gravel piles, sand dunes and a water hole. There is a picnic shelter and restrooms near the trail as well.

Distance: 25 Miles.

Difficulty: Easy.

Parking: Parking is available near the Drift Skipper Clubhouse in Isle.

Season: May 15 - Oct. 31.

Vehicles Allowed: Class I. Class II allowed on some portions.

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Foxy Trail

About: Curvy without many rocks or hills, Foxy is a scenic, wooded one-way trail, rated moderate in difficulty. Foxy meets up with the Soo Line South Trail just southeast of Lake Mille Lacs near Isle.

Distance: 3 miles.

Difficulty: Moderate.

Parking: Parking is available near the Drift Skipper Clubhouse in Isle.

Season: May 15 -Oct. 31.

Vehicles Allowed: Class I and II.

Ten Bruin and Adventure loop

About: Off Red Top Trail are two more technical loops called Ten Bruin and Adventure. These loops offer rocky, steep, rugged rides through dense woods and marshy areas.

Distance: Ten Bruin is approximately eight miles while Adventure is three.

Difficulty: Difficult.

Parking: Parking is available near the Drift Skipper Clubhouse in Isle.

Season: May 15 -Oct. 31.

Vehicles Allowed: Class I.

For more information on the Mille Lacs area ATV trails, including maps and trail conditions, visit MilleLacsDriftSkippers.org and NorthwoodsAtvTrail.com, or find more things to do on and around Lake Mille Lacs, including world-class fishing and year-round outdoor adventure for the entire family, at MilleLacs.com.

Related Topics: AITKIN
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