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.
Camping in Chippewa National Forest
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 Campground
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
Pool or Hot tub: No
Other amenities: Small shop in the park office, boat rentals, playground, dump station, water, two boat launches, 10 miles from town
Chippewa National Forest Chippewa Campground
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.
Activities in Chippewa National Forest
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.
Identifying Flora and Fauna
The forest contains a diverse ecosystem of prairies in the west, forests of conifers in the north, and hardwood forests in the south. The "Lost 40" section of the forest contains rare old-growth trees, and you will also see birch, pine, aspen, and maple. The forest has 150 nesting pairs of bald eagles as of 2020.
The Chippewa National Forest is mostly free from light pollution, and visitors can enjoy viewing the bright canopy of stars above at night.
How to get to Chippewa National Forest
Address: 200 Ash Avenue NW, Cass Lake, MN 56633
Fee: Entry fee (ages 62+) $10.0
Fee: Entry fee (annual pass) $80.0
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.
Frequently Asked Questions About Chippewa National Forest
What is the closest town to Chippewa National Forest?
Deer River, Minnesota is one of the closest towns to Chippewa National Forest. You'll find places to eat, sleep, shop, and more in town.
What type of wildlife lives in Chippewa National Forest?
Wildlife that lives in the Chippewa National Forest includes white-tailed deer, black bears, grey wolves, bald eagles, and a variety of other small animals. There is also a variety of birds that live in the forest.
What is the best time to visit Chippewa National Forest?
Summer is the best time to visit Chippewa National Forest. The weather is mild and visitors can hike, swim, paddle, and more.
Is there a fee to get into Chippewa National Forest?
No, there is not a fee to get into Chippewa National Forest. However, there may be additional fees or permits required for certain activities or to visit certain areas of the forest.
Does Chippewa National Forest offer free camping sites?
Yes, Chippewa National Forest offers free camping sites. Dispersed camping is allowed within the forest, and many dispersed sites are available along lakes and rivers. Canoe camping is common in the area.