I searched state and county maps but was unable to find an ATV or winter snowmobile trail that runs along the Northshore Mining Railroad. As a result, it does not appear that this bridge is part of a named trail. There are a tangle of trails throughout the Superior National Forest, most of which follow old logging roads from the early part of the 20th Century.
At first glance, the bridge structure is very simple. It consists of two parallel steel I-beams with railroad ties forming the deck. But after looking at the structure a bit, a few interesting features become apparent. First, most modern trail bridges are factory built prefabricated units, but this appears to be an impromptu design. Second, the bridge is set above the elevation of the trail, so it needs to have short ramps at each end of the bridge. Third, the concrete pier is very narrow, and only rises halfway to the beams. This requires an awkward looking stack of railroad ties to make up the gap. Next, it appears that the abutments were also raised at one point in time. Finally, it appears that the concrete pier is much older than the rest of the bridge.
In putting this together, I get the impression that this is a second generation bridge built on the remains of an older bridge. I suspect that a very simple bridge was built during the logging era, possibly for a narrow gauge railroad. That bridge was low to the water, and it was probably pulled up when the railroad was pulled out. It might have been used to haul logs to the Saint Louis River so they could be dumped into the river and floated to the Skibo Mill seven miles downstream. Then, when the snowmobile became popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s, or when ATVs became popular in the 1990s, this new bridge might have been built on the remains of the old bridge abutments and pier. The new bridge would have been built higher to provide more clearance for high water during the spring runoff. The bridge does not appear on a 1991 aerial photo, but does appear on 2003 aerial photos, which puts a lower and upper date on when it could have been built. I would love to know more about the history of this bridge. If anyone knows more of the story, please fill me in.
The photo above is looking northwest towards the ATV Trail Bridge, located just 40 feet downstream of the Northshore Mining Railroad Bridge.