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Get Rid Of Your Cold-Weather Blues

Minnesota’s Northwoods offer many hiking trails to explore and enjoy through the fall season. And once the snow comes, snowmobiling and cross country skiing provide hours of trail enjoyment. Where are some of the best trails in the Leech Lake area? Look no further for more information on how you can relish in hours of outdoor enjoyment.

 

Explore Heartland State Trail

Image credit: MN Department of Natural Resources

With many rail-to-trail conversions happening in the US, the Heartland State Trail was one of the first. The trail is 49 miles in length. The trail divides into two, fully paved sections – Park Rapids to Walker, and Walker to Cass Lake. The Park Rapids to Walker section also has a grassy trail for horseback riding and mountain biking. Several parking lots, picnic areas and restrooms are conveniently located along the trail. The Heartland Trail also intersects with other trail systems including the Paul Bunyan State Trail system which allows for hikers and bikers alike to create their own, customized route.

 

Traverse Paul Bunyan State Trail

Another rail-to-trail conversion, the Paul Bunyan State Trail is Minnesota’s longest paved rail-trail at 115 miles. The Rails to Trails Conservancy inducted the trail into its Hall of Fame, calling it a “signature Minnesota destination.” The trail begins at Crow Wing State Park near Brainerd and extends to Bemidji State Park. Trail-users will pass 21 lakes along the way, as well as 15 communities offering plenty of activities and hospitality. Paying homage to the famed Paul Bunyan, hikers and bikers will see many incarnations of Bunyan and his sidekick Babe the Blue Ox along the trail. Geocachers also flock to this trail because of the 1,000 geocaches hidden along the path. If including the few connection trails in its length, the 123-mile trail leaves plenty to explore!

 

Experience Shorter Trails

If the lengthy aforementioned trails aren’t appealing, try the Lake Erin Interpretive Trail. A little further away from Leech Lake, this half-mile walking trail provides an experience in nature that’s manageable for small children. If lake proximity is a priority, Stony Point Recreation Area Trail is a .82 mile loop along the shoreline of Leech Lake. Boating, fishing and birding are several activities you can enjoy at Stony Point.

Living in the Northwoods area provides prime opportunities to enjoy nature through trail exploration. Whether you’re looking for a full-day trek or an afternoon stroll, the Leech Lake area offers hours of hiking, biking and geocaching for the fall season. For more trail information, check out our Hiking and Biking page.