Twelve Angus steers (BW 452.8 ± 6.1 kg) fitted with ruminal cannulae were used to determine the impact of trace mineral (TM) source on digestibility, ruminal volatile fatty acid (VFA) composition, ruminal soluble concentrations of Cu, Zn, and Mn, and relative binding strength of trace minerals located in the rumen insoluble digesta fraction. Steers were fed a medium-quality grass hay diet (DM basis: 10.8% CP, 63.1% neutral detergent fiber [NDF], 6.9 mg Cu/kg, 65.5 mg Mn/kg, and 39.4 mg Zn/kg) supplemented with protein for 21 d. Treatments consisted of either sulfate (STM) or hydroxy (HTM) sources ( n = 6 steers/treatment) to provide 20, 40, and 60 mg supplemental Cu, Mn, and Zn/kg DM, respectively. Following a 21-d adaptation period, total fecal output was collected for 5 d. Dry matter ( P < 0.07) and CP ( P < 0.06) digestibility tended to be reduced, and NDF ( P < 0.04) and acid detergent fiber (ADF) ( P < 0.05) digestibility were reduced in STM- vs. HTM-supplemented steers. On day 6, ruminal fluid was collected at 0, 2, and 4 h post-feeding and analyzed for VFA. There were no treatment x time interactions for VFA. Steers receiving HTM had less ( P < 0.02) molar proportions of butyric acid and greater ( P < 0.05) total VFA concentrations than STM-supplemented steers. Steers were then fed the same diet without supplemental Cu, Zn, or Mn for 14 d. On day 15 steers received a pulse dose of 20 mg Cu, 40 mg Mn, and 60 mg Zn/kg DM from either STM or HTM ( n = 6 steers/treatment). Ruminal samples were obtained at 2-h intervals starting at −4 and ending at 24 h relative to dosing. There was a treatment x time interaction ( P < 0.03) for ruminal soluble Cu, Mn, and Zn concentrations. Ruminal soluble mineral concentrations were greater ( P < 0.05) for Cu at 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 h; for Mn at 4 and 6 h; and for Zn at 4, 6, and 8 h post-dosing in STM compared with HTM-supplemented steers. Copper concentrations were greater ( P < 0.05) at 12 and 24 h and Zn concentrations in ruminal solid digesta were greater at 24 h in HTM-supplemented steers. Upon dialysis against Tris-EDTA, the percent Zn released from digesta was greater ( P < 0.05) at 12 h ( P < 0.03) and 24 h ( P < 0.05), and the percent Cu released was greater ( P < 0.02) at 24 h post-dosing in HTM steers when compared with STM-supplemented steers. Results indicate that Cu and Zn from HTM have low solubility in the rumen and appear to be less tightly bound to ruminal solid digesta than Cu and Zn from STM. The lower ruminal soluble concentrations of Cu and Zn in steers given HTM were associated with greater fiber digestibility.