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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Rail To Trail Bridge At Lake Bemidji
Mississippi River Trail Crossing
Near Bemidji, MN

Rail To Trail Bridge At Lake Bemidji

• Location: River Mile 1281.6
• River Elevation: 1,339 Feet
• County: Beltrami
• Bridge Type: Wood Trestle
• Bridge Length: 237 Feet Overall, 19 Foot Longest Span
• Bridge Width: 12 Feet
• Height Above Water: 13 Feet
• Date Built: 1901, Rebuilt A Number Of Times
This bridge was first built by the Minnesota & International Railroad, which built a railroad line between Bemidji and International Falls. The bridge was rebuilt in 1920 and 1937 by the M&I, and again in 1971 and 1980 by the Burlington Northern Railroad.

The old rail bridge is now owned by the State of Minnesota as part of the Paul Bunyan Trail. The bridge reopened in 1991. It was redecked and paved in 1996. The Paul Bunyan trail runs for 100 miles between Brainerd and Lake Bemidji Park, 80 miles of which are paved. From Lake Bemidji, the Blue Ox Trail continues all the way to International Falls as an ATV trail. This bridge shares the honor (with the Highway 19 bridge just a few hundred feet to the east) of being the northernmost bridge to cross the mighty Mississippi River.

These two photos show the east side of the bridge looking west into the afternoon sun. The photo above was taken in mid-summer, while the photo below is from early spring. There is no parking available near the structure, so more detailed photos will need to wait until I can find a location to park and hike to the bridge.

Rail To Trail Bridge At Lake Bemidji

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