Welcome to Hackensack, Minnesota

Welcome to Hackensack, MN

Located on the eastern shores of Birch Lake, Hackensack, MN and the surrounding, area is the heart of your family vacation. Within a 10-mile radius, there are 127 lakes, a state forest and the Chippewa National Forest. Wildlife such as deer, black bear, bald eagles, fishers, porcupines, timber wolves, coyotes, bobcats, loons and more can often be seen.

Hackensack, MN is located in Cass County- about 50 miles north of Brainerd and 50 miles southeast of Bemidji. The population of Hackensack, MN is under 300, but this is not a sleepy community - rather a bustling, active community. Hackensack, MN still blows the fire siren every day at noon, so you can check your watch or be reminded that it is lunchtime.

While the town explodes with visitors during June, July and August, visitors come year round -to see the fall colors in September and October and take in the National Chainsaw Carving Competition   - to come ice fishing and snowmobiling in the winter or just cozy up to a warm fire - and to watch the ice go out in the spring, the leaves bud out and the many spring flowers. The landmark of Hackensack is Lucette - Paul Bunvan's sweetheart and wife of 169 years. Lucette stands watch over the city pier and the city park, as well as the Hackensack Visitor's Center and the old log cabin on the shores of Birch Lake, which now houses a library operated by volunteers. From her vantage point, Lucette can see a variety of activities and keep watch over the many visitors.

There's no doubt that Hackensack, MN has much to offer families on vacation - a place to build memories and to return to life’s basics. Enjoy the wonders of nature. Bring the whole family - go fishing, boating, play board games, swim or just lay in the sun.

Welcome to Hackensack, MN


History of Hackensack, MN

Settlement in the Hackensack area began in Lothrop, a few miles north of the current community. James Curo built a log building, which housed his living quarters, a grocery, a general store. and a post office. The Ojibwa Indians mostly inhabited the area, but settlers began building around Curo's enterprise as early as 1884. When the railroad pushed north in 1896, Lothrop was abandoned.   No trace of the town exists today. Hackensack was officially put on the map in 1902, and Bye Bartlett and Curo, who came to the area from Hackensack, NJ, decided its name. Industry at the time centered on logging and a sawmill. The Minnesota and International Railroad came through town on the site of the current Paul Banyan Trail. Most of the retail shops were built of wood, many of which were destroyed by fires. Several of these structures were replaced with brick structures. In 1915 the Royal Ice Cream Parlor was a busy place-serving tourists in the area and was also known as a place to buy fireworks. There were several hotels, general stores, and even a hospital on Pleasant Lake. There was a bank, but the depression led to its demise. Today there are many businesses.

The Legand of Lucette

Lucette stands 17 feet high, and the legend of Paul Bunyan s Sweetheart and wife is not much different than the legend of Paul, himself. Lucette grew much faster than other children and her parents were in need of a bigger room for such a large girl on the family farm in Iowa. Then Lucette's aunt and uncle issued a plea for help in their north woods logging camp and Lucette went to Minnesota to help out.   Upon her arrival, the aunt and uncle realized that they would need to build a larger cabin to house such a big person, so they called upon the legendary Paul Bunyan to help level some trees for the building. Paul arrived, and with one swoop of his axe, leveled enough trees to make her a home. Having never seen the girt, Paul ran into her one day in the woods, when she was poking among the forest undergrowth with her walking stick, seeking mushrooms. Aside from the fact that she was a size more fitting to Paul's own size, and even appeared to be somewhat deformed on her right hip, he fell in love. Following a suitable courting period, they were married back in Iowa on June 9, 1838. They returned to Minnesota, where she lived in the logging camp. Paul, however, was known to roam far and wide seeking more trees to fell.

The reality of Lucette is that local businessman Doad Schroeder felt Hackensack needed something to draw visitors. He came up with Lucette, and constructed her out of wood, cement and sand. He gave her genuine moose eyes. A national contest was launched in 1951 to select a name for this creation, and the name Lucette Diana Kensack was entered by a woman from Iowa. On June 27, 1952, the first Paul Bunyan Sweetheart Festival was held in Hackensack. In 1991, a high wind toppled Lucette's head, but residents of Hackensack were prompted to repair the damage. When they took her down, they discovered she was pregnant. She returned with a new face, and Paul, Jr. appeared with her and was installed at his mother's side. In 2005, Paul, Jr. was moved and can now be found in front of the Hackensack City Hall.

Lucette continues to play a role, not only in Hackensack, but also in references found in the University or Minnesota annals and in some school textbooks.  We even keep her warm in the cold north winters with a 20-foot scarf around her neck, just in time for Back to Hack in January.

After years of standing alone and then years of having Paul. Jr by her side. Lucette needed to be reminded that Paul Bunyan was out there someplace. When Paul, Jr. moved to City Hall, Lucette wanted a reminder of Paul, Sr., so when the 1st National Chainsaw Carving Invitational was over, Hackensack responded. A wooden carving of Paul now stands watch over the trail bearing his name - Paul Bunyan. He's a smaller version of  Paul himself, but just as imposing. And the best part is that Lucette can clearly keep her eye on this version - much like you might keep a photograph of your loved one.

Enjoy our Resorts

Our resorts are the heart of your family vacation - where you can escape to enjoy the sunrise or the sunset over the lake, sit around the campfire, swim, fish and just plain relax. You can enjoy many amenities at your resort - watch the wildlife, go for a boat ride, or find new family activities.   However, plan on getting away from the television and phones - this is about family time - down time - an escape from the worries of the world.

Many of our resorts started in the 1940s and 1950’s with individual cabins on the lake. Every cabin is unique as is every resort, and cabins are close enough to make fiends with your neighbors, but large enough away to enjoy your privacy. They're the type of resorts where to bring the kids and share the life that "used to be" - long before television, computers, and electronic games took interest away from togetherness.

You'll meet other families and make new friends - sometimes lifelong friends from all over the country. Many people reserve the same week even' year just so they can meet their friends "from the Lake", get re-acquainted and catch up on what's happened over the year.

Enjoy our Area Trails

Hike, Bike, Skate, Ski, and Snowmobile.   Hackensack, MN is blessed with several beautiful trails and free parking from which to reach the trails.   The hard-surfaced Paul Bunyan Trail runs from Brainerd through Hackensack and north to the Heartland Trail  The hard-surfaced Heartland Trail continues to Park Rapids, or to Walker and on to Cass Lake where it connects with the Mi-Gi-Zi trail.   Hikers and in­line skaters also enjoy the 100 plus miles of dedicated trail.   Wild flowers, wildlife, magnificent forest and lake views greet the visitor.   Pedal, hike or skate through spectacular  woods in the Chippewa National Forest between Hackensack, MN and the Heartland Trail.

Few towns in Minnesota are closer to a premier national hiking trail than Hackensack, MN. The North Country Trail and National Scenic Trail crosses Hwy. 371 just 6 miles north of Hackensack near the Chippewa National Forest picnic grounds, a few steps away from the Paul Bunyan Trail.   Hackensack, MN is a great place to launch a back packing trip across the entire width of the Chippewa National Forest or beyond.   The North Country Trail stretches from North Dakota to New York.

In the wintertime, the Paul Bunyan Trail is open to snowmobiles without studded tracks.   In addition to the Paul Bunyan Trail. Hackensack is part of an exhaustive system of mapped and marked snowmobile trails that stretch through the forests toneighboring towns near and far.   Snow shoeing and cross country skiing rake place on the North Country Trail. There are many groomed cross-country skiing trails near Hackensack, MN.

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