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Iron Ore Heritage Trail

The Iron Ore Heritage Trail is a 47-mile, multi-use, year round trail that connects people to the sites and stories of the Marquette Iron Range by following rail lines across the County of Marquette. These rail lines were used to transport the iron ore the mine sites to the Marquette harbor.

photo: Mile marker made of rail with double jackers

Length: 47.00 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Rail Trail
Agency: City, Town, or County
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

Allowed Uses:

Bicycling (on pavement)
Bicycling (off pavement)
Dogs - Off leash
Dogs - On leash
Equestrian - Riding
Heritage and History
Motorized vehicles - ATV riding
Motorized vehicles - Snowmobiling
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
Rock Climbing
Snow - Cross-country Skiing
Snow - Snowshoeing

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Location: Railtrail that connects Marquette, MI to Republic, MI in the north, central Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
State(s): Michigan
Counties: Marquette County
Longitude: -87.395592
Latitude: 46.547581

Driving Directions

From M-28, the main east west corridor of northern Upper Peninsula, turn into the Chocolay Lions Field (1 mile east of U.S. 41/M28 intersection in Marquette. This is the eastern trail head. The western trail head is off M-95, a north/south Michigan highway. Turn to head into downtown Republic (approximately 7 miles south of US. 41/M-95 intersection) and park at the Old Bank Building.


The Iron Ore Heritage Trail is a 47-mile rail trail across the Marquette Iron Range, a significant historical site where iron mines operated to serve the country during the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the industrial revolution.

The trail follows the rail corridors where the mines in the western half of the County operated, both underground and open pit mines, and follows the corridor that the railroads used to transport the iron to the Marquette harbor for shipping. This industry has been ongoing for over 150 years and allowed the United States to defend our democracy through the use of these ore reserves. The trail connects the most populated areas of the Upper Peninsula but also interprets the human story of mining in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The trail takes people to the iconic towering concrete mine shafts in Ishpeming to the large, unique iron ore docks in Marquette's harbor. It goes right by the location where iron ore was discovered in the region in 1844 and the first mine sites opened in 1845. It also takes trail users through ethic neighborhoods that were moved to accommodate the underground mines, to furnaces used to make iron.

The trail is managed by the Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority who gains funding from a .2 mill property tax that was voted in by the people in the eight municipalities that the trail travels through.

Additional Details

Width: 127 inches.
Primary Surface: Asphalt
Secondary Surface: Bituminous treatment
Crushed Rock

Average Grade: 3%
Maximum Grade: 12%
Elevation Low Point: 600
Elevation High Point: 1,680
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Public Contact:
Carol Fulsher
Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority
102 W. Washington Suite 232
Marquette, MI 49855
(906) 235-2923




Biker at the lakeshore with one of our mile markers (made from rail used to transport ore to harbor)

Biker at the lakeshore with one of our mile markers (made from rail used to transport ore to harbor)


86 year old on the trail

86 year old on the trail

Fat tire bike race on trail

Fat tire bike race on trail


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