Chippewa National Forest Minnesota

Chippewa National Forest

Traveling to the Chippewa National Forest means traveling "up north". The Forest, located in the heart of northern Minnesota, is a celebration of seasons, culture, and environment. This northern hardwood forest mixes between the western prairies and the northern boreal forest to the north and east. It is a Forest with shared boundaries-red oak to white pine, wild ginger to wild rice and Canada lynx to sandhill crane. The border is also shared between governments as well, with the Chippewa National Forest working across shared borders with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.

There is history here----of PaleoIndian people living along the lakeshore 10,000 years ago, Dakota and Anishinabe people, French Voyageurs and early loggers. In 1902, Congress Passed the Morris Act and created the Minnesota Forest Reserve, which in 1908 would become a National Forest. Today, the 666,542-acre Chippewa National Forest employs over 150 people, working with very unique and diverse cultural and natural resources. We invite you to learn more about our beautiful northwoods, through this website or by traveling to the great north!

HISTORY
People have inhabited the land we now know as the Chippewa National Forest for thousands of years. In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the papers making the Chippewa the first National Forest established east of the Mississippi River. Originally know as the Minnesota National Forest, the name was changed in 1928 to honor the original inhabitants. Today, the Forest and the Leech Lake Indian Reservation share boundaries and offer visitors a chance to experience Anishinabe culture as well as a rich history, ranging from prehistoric times to the early logging era and CCC days. There is a lot of real estate for sale in the area offering great privacy amongst the edges for the forest.

Chippewa National Forest Facts

  • Established: 1908 (Minnesota Forest Reserve-1902)
  • Forest Boundary: 1,599,660
  • Forest Managed: 666,620 acres
  • Location: North Central Minnesota
  • Lakes and Wetlands: 1300 Lakes and ponds, 925 Miles of Rivers; 440,000 acres wetlands, 25 watersheds. Some of these lakes include Leech Lake, Lake Winnibigoshish, Boy Lake, and Cass Lake
  • Recreation: 21 developed campgrounds, 160 miles of hiking trails, 315 miles of snowmobile trails, 280 dispersed camping sites. Hunting, fishing, berry-picking, bird watching and Visitor Center programs---year round recreation opportunities!
  • Heritage: Passport in Time Program; Over 3000 archeological and historic sites including Rabideau CCC Camp National Historic Landmark and Oldest Ranger Station East of Mississippi River;
  • Timber: Acres Harvested 26,923 Million Board Feet (2004); Certified Silviculturist Program; 2313 Acres Reforested (2004), Timber Stand Improvement 2900 acres (2004).
  • Special Uses: 286 Recreation Residences; 11 Resorts; Traditional Use Gathering including balsam boughs, birch bark, maple sap and poles.
  • Wildlife and Plants: Rare and sensitive species, including goshawk, goblin ferns, osprey and orchids. Over 250 wildlife species, and 180 nesting pairs of bald eagles. Large fisheries program, walleye, muskie, lake trout, pan fish, bass. Seventy species of fish, 9 species of freshwater mussels.

Points of Pride

The major characteristics, unique features, special issues and management activities of the Chippewa National Forest form the four major themes which are woven through the programs on the Forest.

Lakes and Wetlands

Imagine a forest of half water! Over 400,000 acres of the Chippewa National Forest are actually lakes and wetlands. The Chippewa contains two of Minnesota's five largest lakes, and eight different types of wetlands each with distinct plant and animal life. Sixty seven of the 314 wildlife species that make their home on the Chippewa National Forest are dependent on lakes and wetlands. Over 230 species use wetlands and only 20% of Minnesota's original wetlands remain today. The Chippewa National Forest is one of the few areas with wetlands essentially unchanged since settlement.

Heritage Resources

From the spruce-fir forests that followed the glaciers, to prairie and then the forest we see today, this area has been home to people for over 10,000 years. After the nomadic PaleoIndians hunted here, the Woodland people survived by fishing, gathering maple sugar, berries and wild rice. Pottery was made from local clays. The long established link to the land was interrupted by European explorers and traders in the early 1800's. The introduction of metal and glass changed the lifestyle of the Anishinabe (Chippewa or Ojibwe) people forever. The logging era at the turn of the century further changed and settled the land. Concern over Indian rights and use of the remaining pine forests promoted the formation of the Minnesota Forest Reserve -- later called the Chippewa National Forest to honor its original inhabitants. Women played an active role in establishing this first National Forest in the eastern U.S. Today the Chippewa National Forest and the Leech Lake Reservation share their boundaries. Many of the Anishinabe (Ojibwe/Chippewa) continue to live in the traditions of their ancestors with close ties to the forest and it's resources.

Bald Eagles

The Chippewa National Forest is home to the highest breeding population of Bald Eagles in the lower 48 Unites States! Over 150 pairs of the magnificent birds live among the pines and lakes of the Forest. Eagles have been monitored on the Chippewa since 1962. Eagles are often seen soaring near the larger lakes and along the Mississippi River, or perching in old growth trees on points of land on the windy side of lakes. The bald eagle is a threatened species in Minnesota. Productive lakes, abundant nest trees and careful management to limit human disturbance maintain healthy populations of this bird once threatened with extinction.

Forest Ecosystems

Located near the boundaries of three major vegetative communities; the coniferous forest (pine, spruce, and balsam fir) to the north, the hardwoods (aspen, birch, oak and maple) to the south, and the prairie to the west, the Chippewa has a very diverse ecosystem. Timberwolves, eagles, towering pines and vigorous aspen are just part of the picture. The Forest is actively pursuing a broader ecosystem management philosophy.

***************Start of alphabetical interests ****************************

Recreational Activities

Biking

Biking on the Chippewa National Forest has changed dramatically over the last ten years. Ten years ago, mountain bikes were the only option to travel a limited number of bike trails. Today, 41 miles of paved bike trails line the west side of the Forest and mountain bikers can travel over 43 miles of unpaved trails on the east side between Deer River and Marcell

PAVED TRAILS:

  • Migizi Trail (Cass Lake, Minnesota)
    This beautiful trail is named for the bald eagle, migizi in Ojibwe language. Dedicated in 2003, the Migizi Trail circles Pike Bay on an 19-mile paved loop through the big red pines of the original Ten Section of the Chippewa National Forest. There are four access point along the trail route: Forest Supervisor's Office in Cass Lake, across from Cass Lake Wayside Rest on Highway 2; Norway Beach Recreation Area off Highway 2; South Pike Bay Picnic Area on the Pike Bay Loop road.Many bikers begin their ride at the Norway Beach campgrounds in the summer. Please use caution when crossing Highway 2 out of the Norway Beach Recreation Area.
  • Heartland Trail: (Walker, Minnesota)
    The Heartland Trail stretches 22 miles across the Chippewa National Forest, with a total of 49-miles through northern Minnesota, linking Cass Lake Minnesota, Walker Minnesota, Akeley Minnesota, Nevis Minnesota and Park Rapids Minnesota.This scenic trail parallels Highways 371 between Cass Lake and Walker Minnesota, and Highway 34 from Walker Minnesota to Park Rapids Minneosta, yet still has a secluded feel with little highway noise. The trail meanders around many lake homes and lake properties in its stretch.  Pines, birch, oak maple and aspen line the path. Bikers cross old trestles that were once a part of the railroad system. The Heartland Trail was one of the first rail-to-trail projects in the country!
  • Paul Bunyan Trail: (Walker, Minnesota)
    The Paul Bunyan State Trail carries cyclists north from Brainerd Lakes Area to Walker Minnesota on a 65-mile paved route. The Paul Bunyan Trail makes its way through Backus Minnesota and Hackensack Minnesota around many popular lakes such as Pine Mountain Lake, Birch Lake, Ten Mile Lake.  Just south of Walker Minnesota, it connects with the Heartland Trail and leads to the town of Cass Lake Minnesota.Located on a former Burlington Northern Railroad grade, the trail is fairly level, with a majority of hills and curves on the section that leaves the grade and goes through the Forest. A good break from the straight and level, but take care on curves in this heavily wooded area. Lake property for sale that connects to the Paul Bunyan Trail is always popular.

UNPAVED TRAILS:

  • Simpson Creek Trail: (Deer River)
    In 1907, Sam Simpson's logging crew built the first tote roads and trails in the Cut Foot Sioux area. Today, this system makes up the 13-mile Simpson Creek Trail.Enjoy rolling topography through pines and along glacial eskers, with overlooks onto Cut Foot Sioux Lake and journeys into the cedar swamp. Cyclists travel on both old tote roads and dirt trail. Access at the Cut Foot Sioux Visitor Center or Eagle Nest Road (FR2198).
  • Cut Foot Sioux Trail (Deer River)
    An extension of the Simpson Creek Trail, this is an 18-mile loop along old Forest Roads with gravel and sand. Access from the Cut Foot Sioux Visitor Center or the Hwy 46 Wayside Rest 5 miles north of the Center. Horse back riders also utilize this trail. Say "howdy" and pass with caution.
  • Suomi Hills Trail (Marcell)
    The remote and stunning Suomi Hills has 19 miles of hiking, biking and ski trails and is part of a semi-primitive nonmotorized area. The rolling topography offers mountain bike trails for intermediate and advanced cyclists. Access the Suomi Hills area from the Highway 38 National Scenic Byway, eight miles south of Marcell, Minnesota.
  • Trout Lake Trail (Marcell)
    This is a nice short scenic trail into the woods and out onto the Trout Lake Estate, a national historic site featuring a 1920 lumber baron estate.The rolling trail moves bikers between narrow path to old tote road-please watch for hikers. Bring your picnic basket and enjoy quiet moments along this beautiful lake. Access the 11 mile trail from the north end of Trout Lake off Co 326 or from the south end near FR 2065.

Camping

Imagine spending time on a warm sunny beach, hiking a forest trail . . . fresh walleye, loons calling, a sunset and northern lights. All this can be yours in one of the Chippewa National Forest's 21 campgrounds. The campgrounds are located on 12 of the Forest's 1,300 lakes. Campgrounds are generally open from mid-May to mid-September; some are open all year with no water or garbage pickup off-season.  Campground facilities vary from flush toilets and showers to rustic campgrounds with vault toilets and hand pump water wells.  Each campsite has a picnic table, fireplace, tent pad and parking spot. For a day trip enjoy one of our picnic areas.

For a $9.00 fee, reservations may be made in advance at some of the campgrounds through the National Recreation Reservation System (NRRS) by calling 1-877-444-6777. Reservations can also be made through the NRRS web site at www.Recreation.gov.   Reservations can be made 240 days in advance.  Due to increased use levels and the impacts on the campground sites  the Chippewa National Forest enforces the National Policy of a 14 day maximum length of stay limit at each campground.

If you are seeking a more primitive experience, there are over 380 back country recreation sites on the Forest;  these sites are free of charge, have limited facilities, and allow you to "get away from it all".

A table is available to give you a listing of all the services, facilities, opening dates and fees for each of the campground. Fees are based on single occupancy. Single occupancy is defined as a group of eight people or less with one motorized vehicle. A family of more than eight people is considered single occupancy if there are no more than two adults with the immediate children. Double occupancy is defined as two families or two groups, with no more than two motorized vehicles, camping together.

Cut Foot Horse Camp

LOCATION:
Cut Foot Sioux Horse Camp
is surrounded by over 120 miles of Forest Roads and recreation trails.  Cut Foot Horse Camp is located 20 miles north of Deer River.   Drive 3.2 miles past the Cut Foot Sioux Visitor Center along Highway 46 and turn left on

Forest Road

2171.  Travel approximately 2 miles.  Watch for campground signs.  

The Cut Foot trails will lead you through the Cut Foot Experimental Forest.  The Forest is an outdoor laboratory for studying pine forest management.  Research areas are designated by various markers--please do not remove or disturb the markers as you move through the area on horseback. The Experimental Forest is jointly managed by the North Central Research Station in Grand Rapids and the Chippewa National Forest.

EQUESTRIAN TALES:
From 1890 to 1908, people depended on horses to travel from Deer River to Northhome.  The first Ranger in the Cut Foot Sioux area traveled with a 2-hitch team when venturing out on the Forest.

In 1910, Sam Simpson was successful in obtaining a large contract for logging pine from the Cut Foot Sioux area for the Northland Pine Lumber Company. Simpson's logging crew utilized horse power to pull pine logs out of the woods.  Records show that the logging camp employed 60 men and 30 horses.  Even today, horses are used to pull logs out of non-motorized areas on the Forest

Canoeing

Travel the route of the Anishinabe Indians and the early explorers. The Chippewa National Forest offers nine canoe routes, ranging from the mighty Mississippi and the unpredictable Leech Lake to the slow moving Shingobee River and other small creeks. These canoe routes offer excellent opportunities to view bald eagles, loons, and a variety of northern Minnesota wildlife. Walleye, northern pike, and panfishing is good along most of the routes. Extreme caution should be used in crossing the large and unpredictable Winnibigoshish, Leech, and Cass Lakes.

Primitive campsites are available along most of the rivers. Some sites have wilderness latrines and tent pads. Water must be treated for drinking. Explore Minnesota's northwoods on the waters of the Chippewa National Forest.

Canoe Routes

 

Length

Difficulty

Map

Comments

Turtle River

16 miles

Easy

USFS

Good Eagle and waterfowl viewing, low water

N. Branch Turtle River

14 miles

Easy

USFS

Several beaver dams below Pimushe Lake

Chippewa Headwaters Loop/ Pike Bay Connection

120/8 miles

More Difficult

USFS

Historic route - six portages

Mississippi River

55 miles

Easy

DNR

Excellent eagle viewing

Big Fork River

165 miles

More Difficult

DNR

Some whitewater beyond Bigfork

Boy River

23 miles

Moderate

USFS

Inguadona Canoe Route , good eagle viewing

Cross Country Ski Trails

 

Snow Conditions 

Ski and Trail Reports from Skinnyski.com 

Trail Reports Cass County 

 

The sound of your skis across the new snow.  If youÂ’ve ever cross-country skied, you know that sound. Gliding through the birches.  The scent of balsam as you brush down the hill, the herringbone tracks as you scurry up.  There are over 150 miles of cross-country ski trail on the Forest.  Trails range from a simple stretch of the legs to a high level romp up the hills of the Suomi area.  We hope you enjoy your winter adventure!

Trail Name

Distance

Map Available

Groomed
Nordic skiing
 unless noted

Comments

Carter Lake

3 miles

Y

N

Hunter/Walking, Ski Tour, Snowmobiling, 
Parking area not plowed

Meadow Lake

10 miles

Y

N

Hunter/Walking, Ski Tour,
 Parking area not plowed

Webster Lake

6 miles

Y

N

Hunter/Walking, Ski Tour,
Access from

Forest Road 2207

 

Migizi BikeTrail/
Pike Bay

8 miles

Y

N

Paved Biking, Hiking and Skiing

Cut Foot Sioux

22 miles

Y

N

Follows Continental Divide
Snowmobile Trail

Simpson Creek

13 miles

Y

N

Through cedars, along lakes and eskers.  Hiking and Skiing
Annual candlelight ski program

Miller

.8 miles

Y

N

Hiking, Geologic Site
Access from groomed S. Suomi Trail

Suomi

21 miles

Y

Y

Rolling Hills, Semi-primitive, Non-motorized

Trout Lake

5 miles

Y

Y

Hiking, Skiing, Historic Site

Goose Lake

12 miles

Y

Y

Hunter/Walking, Ski Tour State Ski Permit Required

Shingobee 

6 miles

Y

Y
 small part groomed for skate skiing

National Recreation Trail, Rolling Hills and Scenic Vistas.  Skiing and sledding.

Eagle Viewing

 
Eagle Trivia
CNF Bird Checklist
Audubon Mississippi Birding Guide

 

RETURN OF THE EAGLE

The grace, strength and beauty of the bald eagle has been admired through the ages. It is difficult to believe that this majestic bird, our national symbol, faced extinction just a few decades ago.

Bald eagle populations were at an all time low in the 1960's, with less than 12 known pairs on the Chippewa National Forest. Today, the Forest supports one of the highest breeding densities of bald eagles in the continental United States.

Over the last 18 years, the Chippewa National Forests bald eagle monitoring shows an annual average of 150 active breeding pairs, and 100 successful breading pairs producing each year. The Chippewa Ntaional Biologists gather information on eagles by recording the number of nesting pairs each spring, and young produced each July. The return of the bald eagle is one of America's greatest wildlife conservation success stories.

BALD EAGLE NATURAL HISTORY

With a wingspan of seven feet, the bald eagle is the largest bird of prey in northern Minnesota. The adult eagle is easily identified by it's striking white head and tail. Eagles attain their adult plumage and can begin breeding at four or five years of age.

Young bald eagles remain flecked with brown and white and can be mistaken for golden eagles, though golden eagles are not found in Minnesota. Eagles mate for life, and return to the same nest area each year.

Large red and white pines on the Forest make excellent eagle nesting sites although aspen and others are occasionally used. Nests sometimes reach 10 feet in diameter and weigh over 4000 pounds!

Eagles generally lay one or two eggs (occasionally three), and incubation lasts about 35 days. Eagles are especially sensitive to disturbance during incubation, an important reason for people to respect nest locations. The average nesting success for Chippewa National Forest is 67%. Eaglets remain in the nest about 10 to 12 weeks.

BALD EAGLE MANAGEMENT

The bald eagle is federally listed as a threatened species. The bald eagle is being considered for removal from the threatened list, at which time it would be listed as a sensitive species on the Chippewa for a minimum of five years.

In the state of Minnesota the bald eagle is listed as a species of "special concern". Protection of nest sites from destruction and disturbance has been a key objective of bald eagle management on National Forest lands.

Each eagle breeding area has a management plan specifically tailored to the site. Circular "buffer zones" have been established around each nest to limit human activity. Timber cutting, roads or trail use are restricted within 330 feet of each nest. A zone of 660 feet from the nest allows activity only between October 1 to February 15, while eagles are on their winter range.

The number of active bald eagle breeding pairs appears to be leveling off on the Chippewa. Increasing competition among breeding pairs at high nesting densities and continued lake shore development may be factors affecting the Forests "carrying capacity" of bald eagles.

EAGLE VIEWING

People often make a special trip to the Chippewa National Forest to observe bald eagles. The best opportunities for viewing bald
eagles are from the large lakes and major rivers. Wildlife viewing is best at dawn and dusk. Tall white and red pine with openings in the limbs are often prime perch sites. Nests are usually located about 10-20 feet from the top.

Eagle nest sites are kept confidential to protect the birds from disturbance during incubation and rearing of young. If you know of an eagle nest location, please use caution and watch them only from a distance.

In the spring and summer start your eagle viewing expedition while boating at the biggest lakes such as Cass, Winnibigoshish and Leech. Watch along the shorelines for eagles perched in trees on calm days, and overhead air shows on windier days. Canoeing on the Boy River, Mississippi, or Big Fork Rivers almost always guarantees an eagle sighting.

You can easily reach open viewing areas at Federal Dam at Leech Lake or Winnie Dam at the east end of Lake Winnibigoshish. Near Cass Lake, Knutson Dam and campground provide an expansive view of the lake and opportunities for fishing, by humans and eagles!

The Mississippi River winds along Highway 2 between Cass Lake and Deer River. Eagles are often seen soaring overhead. A prime viewing area is where the river meets the highway about eight miles west of the town of Deer River.

In autumn, eagles are often seen perched on lake or river edges, searching for food. The change in temperature causes the lakes to "turn over" as the cooling surface water mixes with lower layers, causing fish to die. Eagles capitalize on the fish's inability to adapt to seasonal changes!

Eagles remain near open water during winter months. On the Chippewa, dams, channels between large lakes and faster moving rivers provide such habitat. The Cass Lake Wayside rest provides easy parking for those with an hour for exploring.

Fishing

As glaciers sculpted northern Minnesota's landscape 10,000 years ago, they also carved some of the nation's best fishing lakes. The frozen rock and ice formed deep clear basins, now home to trout. Glacial sediments filled other basins producing nutrient-rich lakes with complex food webs which feed walleye, bass and panfish. These fish, along with others are in turn dinner for northern pike and muskie.

The Chippewa National Forest is at the headwaters of two major drainages: The Mississippi River and Hudson Bay. Nineteen watersheds lace the Forest with 400,000 acres of open water; 1,300 lakes including three of Minnesota's five largest, 923 miles of streams and over 400,000 acres of wetlands. The combined acreage of lakes, streams and wetlands represents half of the 1.6 million acres within the Chippewa National Forest boundary. Enjoy Fishing on the Chippewa!

Hiking

There is no better way to see the Chippewa National Forest than on a trail. Hike and view spring wildflowers, bike along a tranquil wetland, hunt grouse on a hunter/walking trail, or ski through winter woods. The Chippewa National Forest offers over 298 miles of non-motorized trails. Below are recommended hiking trails on the Chippewa National Forest. These trails are for nonmotorized use unless otherwise noted. All National Forest System lands are open to camping. A number of primitive campsites are located along the trail routes. We ask that you pack out all that you bring in and help maintain the Forest for those who follow.

View map of trail head locations.

 

Key

Trail Name

Miles

Location

Map

Camp-sites

Groomed

Comments

B1

Camp Rabideau 

1

6.5 mi. south of Blackduck on Co. 39

·

 

 

 

B2

Carter Lake

3

2 mi. east of Tenstrike on

Forest Road 2419

·

 

 

Hunter/walking trail, ski tour and snowmobiling

B3

Elmwood Island

.5

7 mi. north of Alvwood in Island Lake

 

·

 

Boat access only

B4

Lost 40

.5

3 mi. north of Dora Lake on

Forest Road 2240

 

 

 

Large red and white pine

B5

Meadow Lake

10

8 mi. south of Tenstrike on County Road 307

·

 

 

Hunter/walking trail, ski touring

B6

Webster Lake 

6

10 mi. south of Blackduck at Webster Lake Campground

·

·

 

Hunter/walking trail

C1

Migizi

19

4 mi. east  of Cass Lake in the Norway Beach Recreation Area

·

·

 

Paved biking and hiking

C2

Star Island 

6

2 mi. east of Cass Lake on Star Island 

·

·

 

Boat or over-the-ice access only.

C3

Tower Lake 

6

3 mi. east of Pennington on

Forest Road 2172

·

 

 

Hunter/walking trail

D1

Cut Foot Sioux 

22

18 mi. NW of Deer River on Hwy. 46

·

·

 

Follows Continental Divide

D2

Johnson Lake 

12

14 mi. SE of Deer River on Hwy. 46

·

 

 

Hunter/walking trail

D3

Simpson Creek

13

18 mi. NW of Deer River on Hwy. 46

·

·

·

Eagle,osprey and loon viewing

D4

Sugar Lake 

2

7 mi. north of Remer on

Forest Road 2112

 

·

 

 

Hunter/walking trail

M1

Jingo Lake 

5

9 mi. NW of Marcell on

Forest Road 2423

 

 

 

 

Hunter/walking trail, rolling glacial topography

M2

Miller Lake

8

13 mi. south of Marcell off Hwy. 38

·

 

 

Hiking, geological site

M3

Skeeter Lake 

3

17 mi. north of Grand Rapids on County 49

 

 

 

Hunter/walking trail

M4

Spur Lake 

9

15 mi. SW of Bigfork on

Forest Road 2402

 

·

 

 

Hunter/walking trail

M5

Suomi Hills

21

15 mi. north of Grand Rapids on State 38

·

·

·

Rolling hills and lakes, semiprimitive, nonmotorized

M6

Trout Lake 

5

16 mi. south of Marcell on County 335

·

·

·

Hiking, skiing, historic site

W1

County Road 50

8

6 mi. south of Walker on County 50

·

 

 

Hunter/walking trail

W2

Goose Lake 

12

5 mi. SW of Longville on County 5

·

·

·

Hunter/walking trail, ski touring

W3

Heartland

50

Trailhead 1 mi. south of Walker on County 12

·

 

 

State trail, paved biking, hiking, skiing and snowmobiling

W4

Lake Erin

1

5 mi. south of Walker on Hwy. 371

· 

 

 

Great for families, viewing wildlife by lakes and wetlands

W5

North Country 

68

Corridor runs 3 mi. south of Walker to 7 mi. SE of Remer

·

·

 

National Scenic Trail from New York to North Dakota

W6

Shingobee

6

5 mi. south of Walker on County 34

·

·

·

National recreation trail, rolling hills and scenic vistas

Snowmobiling on the Chippewa

Under a blanket of snow, the Chippewa National Forest becomes a land of unexplored adventures.  Over 330 miles of snowmobile trails provide snowmobilers access to 1,500 lakes, scenic woodlands, and frozen wetlands.  Trails connect to nearly 200 miles of routes surrounding the Forest.  The Soo Line trail, an old railroad grade extending from Cass Lake to Moose Lake, is the longest motorized recreation trail in Minnesota.    Snowmobilers may also travel on unplowed National Forest roads unless posted closed to recreational motor vehicle use.  Cross-country travel off of Forest roads is prohibited.   Snowmobiles must be operated in compliance with State and Federal laws and regulations. 

A Chippewa National Forest map is helpful to identify designated Forest roads and trails. Maps for specific snowmobile trails are available from county offices, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and National Forest offices.

Most snowmobile trails are  grant-in-aid trails managed and maintained by snowmobile clubs.  The Grant-in-Aid Program is a cooperative effort between the Minnesota DNR, local governments, local snowmobile organizations, and private landowners. Funded through snowmobile registration fees and gas taxes, the grant-in-aid program helps local groups and clubs develop and maintain trails. Taconite, Heartland and  the Paul Bunyan are state trails maintained and groomed by the Minnesota DNR. Comments on trails can be directed to State and local trail coordinators.  Trails cross Federal, State, and Tribal owned lands.  If you tread lightly on the environment, are courteous to others, respect private property and obey the laws, you are contributing to the positive image of snowmobiling.   By driving safe, smart and legal, you protect the future of your sport.

TRAIL NAME

MILES

GROOMED

LINEAR

DESCRIPTION

Eagle Loop

12

l

l

Connects the Soo Line trail to the West Shore of Lake Winnie.

Winnie

28

l

l

Links the Soo Line trail to the Dam on the South Shore of Lake Winnie.

Soo Line

49

l

l

Longest motorized recreation trail going from Cass Lake, Minnesota to Moose Lake, Minnesota. 

Avenue of Pines

23

l

l

Links the Squaw Lake trail to the Winnie Dam Recreation area.

Ditch Bank

15

l

l

Trail goes from Deer River, Minnesota to the Avenue of Pines.

Pipe Line

14

l

l

Connects the Soo Line to Lake Winnie.

Bowstring

48

l

l

Trail goes from Marcell, Minnesota  to Squaw Lake, Minnesota.

Cameron

5

l

l

Connects the Marcell North trail to the Taconite trail.

Marcell North

8.5

l

l

Trail goes from Marcell, Minnesota  to Big Fork, Minnesota.

Marcell South

8.5

l

l

Connects Marcell, Minnesota to the Suomi snowmobile trail.

Suomi

8

l

l

This trail connects to the Taconite trail in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

Spider Lake

2.5

l

l

Connects  to the Marcell South trail.

Taconite Trail

3

l

l

Trail goes from Grand Rapids, Minnesota to Ely, Minnesota with three miles crossing the Chippewa National Forest.

Triville

19

l

l

Connects Longville, Minnesota to Federal Dam, Minnesota.

Paul Bunyan

20

l

l

A State trail going from Brainerd to Bemidji, Minnesota.

Eagle Country

6.5

l

l

Connects Remer, Minnesota to Outing, Minnesota.

Lost Girl

19

l

l

Trail goes from Longville, Minnesota to Remer, Minnesota.

Heartland

10.5

l

l

A state trail from Park Rapids, Minnesota to Cass Lake, Minnesota.

Chipp Connector

24

l

l

Connects Walker, Minnesota to Longville, Minnesota.

Sno Way

8

l

l

Trail goes from Walker, Minnesota to Pine River, Minnesota.

Blue Ox Trail

6*

l

l

The trail will take you from Bemidji, Minnesota to International Falls, Minnesota.  *The trail is longer but only 6 miles crosses the Chippewa National Forest.

Northland Trail

6

l

l

Connects Bemidji, Minnesota to Blackduck, Minnesota.

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