Trails

Immerse yourself in the story of Minnesota's north woods by exploring the forests, grasslands and wetlands. Explore these scenic trails by foot, bike, ski, and snowshoe — whatever suits the reason and the season.

There are more than 5 miles of trails at the Forest History Center that connect to the National Scenic Trail, which spans the country coast to coast, as well as the city trail system of Grand Rapids. They’re open year-round to hikers, bikers, birders, and more.

Learning stations located along the renovated trails let visitors see forest management techniques put into practice.

Forest of Today Trail, 3 miles

Located just behind the visitor center, this trail leads through aspen stands, hardwoods, old-growth and red pine, and a plantation of genetically improved tree stands.

River Trail, 1 mile

Learn how to identify Minnesota’s trees through informational signposts and a self-guided brochure available at the visitor center.

Swamp Trail, 1 mile

Travel through a cedar and black spruce swamp and a tamarack bog, while keeping your feet dry on an elevated gravel trail and boardwalk.

Wildlife

This area is a convergence of all three of Minnesota’s biomes: prairie, Big Woods, and pine forest. Come and explore these habitats and, if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of one of the many creatures that call this area home, such as coyotes, bobcats, bear, martens, fishers, reptiles, snakes, and hundreds of species of birds, including eagles and owls.

PLEASE NOTE:

  • Use of ATVs, UTVs, or snowmobiles is not allowed on the trails.
  • Leashed dogs are allowed on the trails, but not in the logging camp, Forest Service cabin, and fire tower area, or visitor center area. Service dogs must be checked in at the front desk.
  • Use of firearms is prohibited on-site.
  • Camping is prohibited on-site unless it is offered as part of a historic site program.

Winter activities

Plan a winter adventure! Take a fat tire bike ride or strap on your snowshoes or cross country skis and traverse the 5 miles of “easy” groomed ski trails. 

Before you go…

  • Skis, snowshoes, and fat tire bikes are welcome, but please leave your snowmobiles and ATVs at home — motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trails.
  • The site maintains 50 pairs of aluminum snowshoes (adult and children’s sizes) which are available for use with MNHS Member and/or paid site admission. Snowshoes can also be rented on other days for use on-site for $10 per day, per pair, by calling the site at 218-327-4482. There must be at least 6 inches of snow on the trails for snowshoe use.
  • Skiers should possess a valid Minnesota Ski Pass.
  • The sites does not offer kick sleds, cross country skis, mountain bikes, or fat tire bikes, but fat tire bikes and cross country skis can be rented at Itasca Trail Sports in Grand Rapids.