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Banadad Ski Trail System

Winter Recreation Area
Skiing on the Banadad Trail – Ted Young

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. Web page:

The Banadad Ski Trail is the longest tracked ski trail within the BWCAW. This trail has been in operation since 1980.

Power equipment for maintenance is prohibited within the BWCAW, as a result, just to get the trail open for skiing each year requires some 400-500 hours of hand labor. Must of this labor is contributed by volunteers.

The origin of the trail was a series of logging roads, Finn lake, Tucker Lake and Birch Cliffs. Following the 1978 BWCAW Act these roads were converted by the USFS into a ski trail. For a complete history see

Snow Sports Area By the Numbers

This year’s estimate of 773 skier days was the lowest number since the winter of 2010-11 when 720 skier days were recorded. Nordic ski areas throughout the Arrowhead had abundant snow combined with this winter being one of the coldest in years most likely contributed to this year’s skier numbers.

Ski Days Totals by Seasons

2004-05 653
2005-06 877
2006-07 931
2007-08 982
2008-09 776
2009-10 1056
2010-11 720
2011-12 908
2012-13 957
2013-14 773

Trail System

The System consists of the 27 kilometer Banadad Ski Trail, a single tracked intimate trail through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and another 12.3 meters of trails taking off from the Banadad's eastern end; all the trails are single tracked. The Banadad Trail System is centrally located connecting the Central Gunflint Ski Trails and Upper Gunflint Ski Trail System.

Best Access and Parking Area

The Banadad Trail System is located in the central section of the Gunflint Trail in CookCounty. Free Parking is available at each end of the Trail.

Eastern Trailhead: From the Gunflint Trail, turn left at the Lima Grade and then right at Little Ollie Roadto Parking Area.

Western Trailhead: From the Gunflint Trail, 1/4 mile south/west of the Loon Lake Public Landing.Turn in at Banadad Trail sign.

The trail can also be accessed via the Swamp, Lizz and Mead Lake BWCA Portage trails.

Rules and Regulations

A Minnesota Ski Pass is required to ski the trail.


Approximate Operating Season

November until April

Nearby Places