Your Guide to the Chippewa National Forest
April 4, 2018
The Chippewa National Forest was the first National Forest east of the Mississippi River. President Theodore Roosevelt dedicated it a National Forest in 1908.
The Chippewa National Forest is home to over 1,300 lakes (including two of Minnesota’s largest lakes – Leech Lake and Lake Winnie), 925 miles of river, over 400,000 acres of wetlands, campgrounds and hundreds of miles of hiking and snowmobiling trails.
Home to over 1,000 lakes and miles of river, the Chippewa National Forest is a great place to go fishing. Leech Lake is home to a large Walleye population and provides you with fresh fish all year long. Here are some of our favorite tips to catch a walleye, so you can show off to your friends and family. Don’t forget to check our weekly fishing report so you can stay up to date on the best spots to reel in a fish and know exactly what’s biting each season.
Coniferous forests to the north, hardwood forests to the south, and prairies to the west. The Chippewa National Forest’s diverse ecosystem makes it a great place to go bird watching and see all types of different birds. Additionally, the Chippewa National Forest has the highest breeding population of Bald Eagles in the continental US. Grab your binoculars, paper, and a pen to record what you see while exploring!
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries can all be found in the Chippewa National Forest. Depending on the time of year and location – you could fill up your bucket with fresh sweet berries.
HIT THE TRAILS
Named for the Bald Eagle in Ojibwe, the Migizi Trail is a 18 mile paved loop that surrounds Pike Bay. The trail has four access points – Forest Supervisor’s Office in Cass Lake, the Norway Beach Recreation Area, the South Pike Bay picnic area, and across from the Cass Lake Wayside Rest. Take a portion of the trail for a day hike, or bike the entire trail.
The 50 mile long trail goes from Walker to Park Rapids and is one of the oldest paved trails in Northern Minnesota. The portion of the Heartland Trail southwest of Walker is home to beautiful lakes, forest, and wildlife. The Heartland Trail also works to connect other trails and recreation areas, including Chippewa National Forest’s Shingobee Recreation Area.
Shingobee Recreation Area
Located just 5 miles southwest of Walker, the Shingobee Recreation Area is a place for various activities including hiking, cross-country skiing, bird watching and camping. After a long day out on the Shingobee, fill up with hearty, authentic, Kansas style BBQ at The Piggy – located in Walker. The Piggy, raved reviewed by the New York Times, is a must stop – but make sure you get there early!
Plan your trip to the Chippewa National Forest and Leech Lake easily by checking out our lodging options and specials. We’ll see you on the trails.