Logging camp

Meet the blacksmith, saw filer, bull cook, clerk, and lumberjacks. See draft horses demonstrate cross-hauling and jammer shows as lumberjacks load logs onto sleighs. Don’t be surprised if you’re asked to help with the chores!

Guided 60-minute tours of the recreated logging camp leave the visitor center on the hour during summer hours; last tour at 3:30 pm. During winter season, visits to the logging camp are self-guided.

Tours begin in the visitor center with an introductory video and time to explore the exhibits. The visitor center also houses the museum store and restrooms. Visits can include a stop at the river wanigan and the Forest Service cabin.  

Highlights

The logging of the forests was the most dramatic event in the relationship between people and the environment of Minnesota. White pine logging was done in the winter. Logging camps were usually used for one or two seasons until the timber was cut, and then moved to another location.

As you tour the camp, some of the things you will discover:

  • The date is December 15, 1900. (Logging camps existed in the winter.)
  • Loggers worked so hard that they needed to eat 5,000 calories per day.
  • Ice roads enabled a team of draft houses to pull a sleigh with up to 50,000 pounds of logs.
  • A medium-sized camp had about 24 horses and 80 men. A draft horse can weigh up to two tons!
  • These replica buildings were built from the blowdown from Itasca State Park in 1978.

Visitors are welcome to explore the fire tower and visitor center on their own, and take a short walk to the moored river “wanigan” — the floating cook shack and bunkhouse used by river drivers when moving logs down river to the mills.

For multi-day itineraries, hotel, and dining options, visit the Grand Rapids Convention and Visitor Bureau.

Have a group?

Group tours  are available; tours last 60 minutes. We recommend two hours for your group’s visit to allow time to explore the historic site, visitor center, and the museum store. Our tour formats are flexible and can be adjusted to meet your needs.

  • Free on-site car and bus parking.
  • The visitor center is fully accessible. There are mobile entry ramps for each log building in the camp that can be employed as needed. The fire tower and river wannigan are both inaccessible for wheelchairs.  
  • $8 per person. Admission is free for the tour leader /bus driver. Payment is nonrefundable unless tours are cancelled due to inclement weather.
  • $4 discounted group rate for nonprofit organizations serving limited income audiences.
  • Please reserve your group of 25 or more people at least two weeks in advance.
  • Call 218-327-4482
  • Email foresthistory@mnhs.org

Field trips

Education programs are engaging, relevant to your curricula, and built to meet state standards. Reservations must be made a minimum of two weeks in advance.