The Chippewa National Forest was originally established as a reserve in 1902 and re-established as a national forest in 1908. This large national forest is almost half comprised of various types of watersheds and also has a unique area of old-growth trees, many of which are around 350 years old. Because of a mapping error in the 1800s, the "Lost 40" area of 144 acres was never logged. The forest offers plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities, and you can also tour historic sites, like Camp Rabideau, a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp that is of the best-preserved of its kind, and the Chippewa National Forest Historic Supervisor's Office, which was also built by the CCC. There are three visitor centers within the national forest: Cut Foot Sioux Visitor Center at Deer River, Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center at Marcell, and Norway Beach Visitor Center at Cass Lake.
The Chippewa National Forest has a multitude of lakes, thick forests, and Ojibwa reservation lands. There are ample recreational activities and historic sites to discover within the forest, and driving your own or a rental RV from RVshare is one of the most comfortable ways to get around this wilderness.
Maplewood State Park has a variety of lodging choices that include primitive, group, and equestrian sites, totaling 71 sites total with 32 electric RV sites. The state park contains eight small lakes and several ponds that lie below hills in the interiors of deep valleys. The habitats are diverse and contain both western prairies and eastern forests, and visitors can see much of these areas from the extensive multi-use trail system all year-round. Besides all the usual summer fun, you can also enjoy snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing in the winter. Maplewood State Park is particularly popular in the fall because of its large number of sugar maple, basswood, and oak trees, all of which display splendid colors when they change. Number of sites: 32 RV sites Rates: Call for rates Type of hookup: Electric Amps: 50 Wi-Fi: No Pool or Hot tub: No Pet-friendly: Yes Showers: Coin-operated Laundry: No Other amenities: Small shop in the park office, boat rentals, playground, dump station, water, two boat launches, 10 miles from town
The Chippewa Campground is located on Cass Lake and is part of the Norway Beach Recreation Area inside Chippewa National Forest. Cass Lake covers almost 16,000 surface acres and has 27 miles of tree-lined shores and sandy beaches. The entirety is filled with mature stands of red and white pines. Number of sites: 46 Rates: $26 daily Type of hookup: Electric Amps: 50 Wi-Fi: No Pool or Hot tub: No Pet-friendly: Yes Showers: Yes Laundry: No Other amenities: Paved biking trail, sandy beaches, boat ramps, concessions
The Lost 40 Trail is a loop trail near Wirt. The trail travels through a forest of old-growth red and white pines and is a good choice for any skill level. There are numerous informative plaques that name the nearby plants and also explain the history of the site. Dogs are allowed if they are leashed.
Length: 1.9 miles
Lake Erin to North Stocking Lake is an in-and-out trail located near Hackensack. The trail is a mix of forested and wetland areas and has a few moderately inclined hills. The trail is not crowded, and hikers have a good chance to see occasional sightings of wildlife. Dogs are allowed on a leash.
Length: 9.9 miles
Heartland Trail: Hidden Road to Park Rapids is an in-and-out trail near Akeley and features a lake. The trail is most often used for hiking, running, and mountain biking and is moderate for most skill levels. This multi-use trail is often used by snowmobilers in the winter months, and it is a Rails to Trails trail. Dogs are allowed if they are leashed.
Length: 22 miles
Lake Windigo Loop is a loop trail that is located near Pike Bay. It has wildflowers in the spring and summer months and is a good trail for bird-watching. The trail is a long one but can be hiked in sections. Dogs are allowed on a leash.
Length: 22 miles
Lake Erin Loop is a short loop trail that lies along Lake Erin. It is an easy trail that is good for young children, and it has several small bridges that ford the streams. You can view beaver dams and evidence of beavers cutting the trees. Dogs are allowed when they are leashed.
Length: 0.7 miles
Chippewa National Forest is in northern Minnesota and features quite a number of lakes, approximately 1,300 in all. Three of Minnesota's largest lakes are inside the forest: Leech Lake, Cass Lake, and Lake Winnibigoshish. Fishing is a popular activity in this preserve in all seasons, and anglers can catch species like walleye, panfish, pike, muskie, and varieties of bass. Hunting is also available in season, with waterfowl and grouse being some of the most targeted populations to be hunted.
Activities include hiking, biking, viewing wildflowers, watching for wildlife, and bird-watching. There are around 314 species of wildlife, of which 230 use the existent wetlands of this preserve. There are numerous multi-use trails and areas in the forest, and winter sports include snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
All national forests allow geocaching with restrictions on cache placement.
The Chippewa National Forest is mostly free from light pollution, and visitors can enjoy viewing the bright canopy of stars above at night.
Address: 200 Ash Avenue NW, Cass Lake, MN 56633
Fee: Entry fee (ages 62+) $10
Fee: Entry fee (annual pass) $80
The Chippewa National Forest is known as one of the most "aquatic" national forests, with more than 400,000 acres of wetlands, 400,000 acres of open water, 1,300 lakes, and 923 miles of streams. Fishing in the Chippewa National Forest is a prime sport, and there are numerous places to practice your angler skills. However, there are also many other things to do and see beyond fishing. Embarking on an RV road trip through the forest is an excellent way to experience all this pristine preserve has to offer.