Trail Information Banadad Trail Association
Gunflint Trail — Grand Marais, Minnesota

The Banadad Ski Trail System is a public ski trail managed by the Banadad Ski Trail Association, in agreement with the Gunflint Ranger District — USFS and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The Minnesota Ski Pass is required to ski the trail. Free public parking is provided at the Eastern and Western Trailheads.

The System consists of the 27 kilometer Banadad trail, a single tracked intimate trail through the Boundary Waters Wilderness, and another 14 kilometers of trails taking off from the Banadad's eastern end. All the trails are single tracked. The Trail is centrally located along the 200-kilometer Gunflint Nordic Trails. The eastern end of the Banadad connects with the Central Gunflint Trails and at the western end skiers can ski into the Upper Gunflint Trail System. Trail access for the Eastern Trailhead is located along the Little Ollie Road. The Western Trailhead is off the Gunflint Trail, 1/4 mile south of the Loon Lake Public Landing at the Swamp, Lizz and Mead Lake Portages.

In the summer the Banadad Trail is an interesting hiking trail, providing you with a glimpse of what much of the interior of the Boundary Water (BWCA) looks like when not viewed from a Boundary Waters lake.

While Nordic Skiing is normally considered an eco-friendly sport, the Gunflint Nordic Trails have taken this one step further. Many ago the Banadad Ski Trail along with Central and Upper Gunflint Nordic Trails became carbon neutral ski trails.

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Map of The Banadad Ski Trail

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Click to Download West Map as PDF/GeoPDF or add this link to Avenza PDF Maps, free iOS or Android GeoPDF Viewer:
Map of the Banadad & Adjoining Ski Trails

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Click to Download East Map as PDF/GeoPDF or add this link to Avenza PDF Maps, free iOS or Android GeoPDF Viewer:

GIS Map of Banadad Ski Trail and Affiliated Trails

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Banadad & Adjoining Ski Trails


  • 27 km (16.8 mi)
  • Easiest to More Difficult- note: it is defined as "More Difficult" because of the trails length.
  • Single tracked
The trail connects the Central Gunflint with the Upper Gunflint Trail systems. Most of the trail runs through the BWCA. Trailheads along the Banadad beginning on the east end are the Lace Lake and Seppala Trails, Swamp Lake Portage (snowshoe), Tim Knopp trail (snowshoe) and Lizz Lake Portage. At the Mid Trail Junction the Banadad meets the western end of the Moose Trail. Continuing west, the Banadad connects with the North Star Trail before terminating at the Gunflint Trail. The Eastern and Western Ends of the trail are technically very easy with few curves and only small hills — great for beginners or to practice your ski technique.

Knopp Trail

  • 1.2 km ( 3/4 mi)
Follow the Knopp Trail to the Banadad and then loop back along Banadad to the Swamp/Poplar Lake Portage. Named in honor of Tim Knopp, former University of Minnesota Outdoor Recreational Professor, North Star Ski Touring Club leader and avid skier. This trail is an alternative route from the Lace Lake and Seppala Trails to the Banadad. The trail is groomed for skiing and snowshoeing.
NOTE — Please stay off groomed ski tracks when snowshoeing on ski trails.

Lace Lake Trail

  • 4 km (2.5 mi)
  • Easier to More Difficult
  • Single tracked
The Lace Lake Trail is a four-kilometer loop connecting the Banadad Ski Trail with the Poplar creek Trail. The northern portion of the trail follows Poplar Creek and is very scenic. The southern section of the trail is the shortest route between the Banadad and the Poplar Creek Trail.

Tall Pines Trail

  • 1.7 km (1 miles)
  • Easier
  • Single Tracked
The Tall Pines Trail is a loop trail branching off the south side of the Lace Lake Trail. The trail passes near Hooker Lake where the Tall Pines Yurt is located. The trail's name comes from the stand of old growth White Pine located east of Hooker Lake.

Poplar Creek Trail; 7 km (4.4 miles)

  • This loop trail is part of the Mid-Gunflint Trail System operated by Bearskin and Golden Eagle Lodges. There is trail fee charged for the use of this trail; for information on skiing this trail, contact Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B, Bearskin or Golden Eagle.
From the Lace Lake trail you can ski into Bearskin Lodge or loop back to the Lace Lake Trail passing Bow and Quiver lakes along the way.

Seppala Trail

  • 1.6 km (1 mi)
  • Snowshoe-Not tracked
This trail is the eastern exit of the Banadad to Little Ollie Lake and the Poplar Creek area. After exiting the Banadad, the trail crosses Little Ollie Road and then passes the Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B enroute to Poplar Creek Bridge where it travels along the creek and the loops back to the bridge. This trail was named in memory of Sam Seppala who ran a sawmill in the 1930's at what is now Trail Center Lodge. He drowned on Poplar Lake on July 4, 1940. The trail is not often groomed and can be used for snowshoeing.

Swamp Lake

  • 2 miles
  • Snowshoe-Not tracked
Trail begins and ends on Little Ollie Road by Little Ollie Cabin, loops through BWCA via Swamp Lake. Alternate section extends another 4.5 miles on through Caribou Lake to Lizz Lake and then back to Banadad at Lizz Lake Portage.

Trail Center Trail

  • 2 miles
  • Snowshoe-Not tracked
Trail heads west down Little Ollie Road across Poplar Lake to Trail Center Restaurant.

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