Paul Bunyan Trail News and Events

Media contacts: Patricia Arndt, Parks and Trails Division outreach manager, 651-259-5578,; Amy Barrett, Parks and Trails Division information officer, 651-259-5627,

“Trail in a Day” event Sept. 10 connects Paul Bunyan State Trail users to communities

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox will join Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Commissioner Tom Landwehr, Minnesota State Parks and Trails Director Erika Rivers and numerous bikers, hikers and other trail users in a day-long group effort to travel the entire 123-mile length of the Paul Bunyan State Trail on Saturday, Sept. 10.

At 8 a.m., Paul Bunyan will travel north from Crow Wing State Park and Babe the Blue Ox will travel south from Lake Bemidji State Park. They will travel by bicycle to Hackensack, where they will be reunited (see “Meet in the Middle” below.)

The trail passes through 16 towns, including Akeley, Backus, Baxter, Bemidji, Benedict, Brainerd, Guthrie, Hackensack, Jenkins, La Porte, Merrifield, Nary, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Pine River and Walker.

Lake Bemidji and Crow Wing state parks will host guided bike rides to the Mississippi River from 10 a.m. to noon. These guided rides will highlight the history of the trail and surrounding area, as well as the outdoor recreational opportunities the trail provides. To join one of these rides, meet at the park office. For more information, contact John Fylpaa, Lake Bemidji State Park, 218-308-2300, or Kacie Carlson, Crow Wing State Park, 218-328-8989.

Special events along the trail on Sept. 10 will include (from north to south):
Guided Bike Ride to the Mississippi River, Lake Bemidji State Park (10 a.m.-noon). Bring your bike and join the naturalist for an easy bike ride on the paved Paul Bunyan State Trail to the outlet of the Mississippi River. Round trip 10 miles. Meet at the park office. Contact John Fylpaa at 218-308-2300 or by email at

Ethnic Fest in Walker (11 a.m. parade). A parade will be followed by outdoor festivities, including music, foods and crafts from around the world. Contact Leech Lake Chamber of Commerce at 218-547-1313.

“Meet in the Middle” City Park, Hackensack (1-3 p.m.). Be there to greet Paul and Babe when they meet at the halfway point of the trail. There will be food, family activities and a “Chainsaw Quick Carve” by local artists, with cake and a short presentation at 2 p.m. Contact Hackensack Chamber of Commerce, 219-675-6135.

1930s Historic Encampment and Heritage Days, Forbes Park, Pine River (9 a.m.-4 p.m.). The 1930s Historic Encampment features tools of the trade and handmade crafts, displays, storytelling and demonstrations. The historic Pine River Railroad Depot will be open for tours. Hobo stew at noon. Contact Pine River Chamber of Commerce, 218-587-4000.

Pedal Pequot, Trailside Park, Pequot Lakes (9 a.m.-4 p.m.). Enjoy family activities and food. Contact Pequot Lakes Chamber of Commerce at 218-568-8911.

Mounted Eagles Walk-n-Roll 10K fundraiser, Nisswa Welcome Center, Nisswa (2-7 p.m.). Walkers, bikers and inline skaters will leave the Nisswa Welcome Center at 2 p.m. and trek 6 miles on the Paul Bunyan State Trail to Pequot Lakes. A spaghetti dinner will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Nisswa Community Center. Contact Lynn Fairbanks at 218-963-3936.

Guided Bike Ride to the Mississippi River, Crow Wing State Park (10-11:30 a.m.). Bring your bike and join the naturalist for an easy bike ride on the paved Paul Bunyan State Trail to the Mississippi River bridge, just outside the park. Round trip 12 miles. Meet at the park office. Contact Kacie Carlson at 218-328-8989 or by email at

“Trail in a Day” event organizers encourage participants to post their trail experiences to the Minnesota State Parks and Trails Facebook page between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.

A vehicle permit is required to enter Minnesota state parks ($5 for a one-day permit or $25 for a year-round permit). Those who don’t already have a Minnesota state parks vehicle permit can purchase one online ( or at the park office.

For more information on the Trail in a Day event or other events at Minnesota state parks, visit or contact the DNR Information Center at or 651-296-6157 (Twin Cities) or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Trail in a Day Timeline for Paul Bunyan – PDF
Trail in a Day Timeline for Babe the Blue Ox – PDF

Trail Event: Sertoma Winter Wonderland

The 8th Annual Winter Wonderland starts on Thursday, November 27, 2014 and runs weekends throughout the holiday season at The Northland Arboretum, home to the start of the Paul Bunyan Trail in Brainerd, MN. Drive through the Sertoma Winter Wonderland and be dazzled by the amazing lights show put on by The Northland Arboretum and Brainerd Lakes Area Sponsors.

Shingobee Connection Trail Ribbon Cutting Ceremony – Walker, MN
August 15, 2014

The Chippewa National Park in Walker, MN which boasts 21 campgrounds and 1,300 Minnesota Lakes and streams, can now be called home to the newest Paul Bunyan Trail official section; the Shingobee Trail.

A vision eight years in the making came to life on August 15, 2014 at the Shingobee Connection Trail Ribbon Cutting ceremony held at the Walker City Park tunnel underpass.

The six mile Shingobee Connection Trail is now fully operational and connects Walker, MN with the Paul Bunyan Trail from the south and creates a loop between the Paul Bunyan Trail and the Heartland Trail.

Starting in 2009, the Shingobee Connection Trail slowly gained life with the help of funds from the Lions, Rotary, Walker Area Foundation, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Leech Lake and Shingobee townships, First National Bank and Bank Forward.

Guests looking to bike the Paul Bunyan Trail now have the ease of a smooth, paved connection from Walker to the Paul Bunyan State Bike and Snowmobile trail.

The Shingobee Connection Trail is considered “moderate” with rolling hills and tons of scenery and features a sliding hill and a weekend warming chalet in the cold winter months.
Camp, birdwatch, hike, hunt, fish, cross-country ski, or just relax and enjoy the beautiful MN outdoors on the Paul Bunyan Trail at the Chippewa National Forest!

Chippewa National Forest, Walker, MN
201 Minnesota Avenue East
Walker, MN 56848

Paul Bunyan State Trail extends to Crow Wing State Park
July 27, 2014

Construction of a six-mile paved trail segment connecting the Paul Bunyan State Trail to Crow Wing State Park in Brainerd is now complete and open to the public, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division.

The ceremony to reveal the trail completion brought out tons of Brainerd Lakes Area residents to christen the bike trail with a ride. Check out the gallery of photos from this exciting day in history.

The completion of this segment brings the total length of the trail to 115 miles, not including a couple of short on-road connections through the cities of Baxter and Bemidji. Extending all the way to Lake Bemidji State Park, north of Bemidji, it is the longest of Minnesota’s 25 state trails and the longest continuously paved rail-trail in the country. In 2011, the Rail-to-Trails Conservancy bolstered the trail’s growing national reputation by naming it to the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame.

“This new segment is a great addition to the Minnesota state park and trail system,” said Andrew Korsberg, state trail program coordinator for the DNR. “It connects the first class outdoor recreation opportunities of the state park to the Brainerd and Baxter communities via state trail.”

An aerial video of the new trail segment–created by the contractor, Anderson Brothers Construction Company of Brainerd–is posted on YouTube.

For more information about the Paul Bunyan State Trail, including a map and virtual tour, visit Trail information is also available from the DNR Information Center; send email to or call 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Aerial View of the Paul Bunyan Trail Segment from Brainerd / Baxter south
to Crow Wing State Park

ride-the-dreamTrail Event: Ride with Jim & Trail Extension Ceremony
A celebration of completion of the Paul Bunyan Trail Extension to Crow Wing State Park will be held on July 27, 2014. After nearly 30 years of planning and building, the trail now links Crow Wing State Park with Lake Bemidji State Park, a stretch of about 120 miles.

The itinerary for the celebration kicks off at the Northland Arboretum in Baxter, beginning at 9:00 a.m.  Coffee & Snacks will be provided and a small ceremony will be held. At 9:30 a.m., those who wish to partake in ride along the newly completed, final section of the trail will depart from the Paul Bunyan Trail head toward Crow Wing State Park. Once arriving at Crow Wing State Park, The Eagles Club will be providing a walley lunch ($10/plate).

RSVP to Jodi Weber by July 13, 2014. Call, text or e-mail at (612)804-2310 or

Organizers have billed the event as the last “Ride With Jim”, marking the contributions of the late Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., a longtime advocate of the trail.

Download the Invitation.

Trail Event: Northern Plaid Festival
Saturday, July 26, 2014 will be the Brighter Days Foundation’s 2nd Annual Northern Plaid Festival in Baxter, MN at the Northland Arboretum. The festival will feature an Arts & Crafts Fair, 5K Plaid Run/Walk, free Kids 1 Mile Fun Run, food and beverage stands, fun for kids, and live music! A portion of the 5K Run will take place along the Paul Bunyan Trail. Have fun and help raise money for a great local cause. The Festival is a FREE EVENT following the Plaid Run! Get more information.

Trail Event: Bean Hole Days & Arts and Crafts Fair
It’s time to dig out Thor, Big Bertha, Ole, Sven, Lena and Baby Olga for the Pequot Lakes Bean Hole Days celebration July 8 – 9. It’s a time for thousands to gather as they share a free lunch of baked beans, a dinner roll, and a glass of Culligan water. The fun begins with the Paddle Hunt – your first clue will be released at 9 a.m. July 7. On Tuesday night, the baked beans are buried in the ground. And on Wednesday, the celebration culminates with the raising of the beans, a Queen and King Bean Coronation, an arts and crafts fair, food market, children’s games, and of course, lunch!

Trail Event: Moondance Jam
The Moondance Jam Classic Rock festival will be held July 17-19, 2014 in Walker, MN. Moondance Jam is approximately 3 miles from the Paul Bunyan Trail. Get more information.

Former US Representative Jim Oberstar dies
May 7, 2014
oberstarFormer U.S. Representative Jim Oberstar (DFL), who represented Minnesota’s 8th District from 1975 to 2011, died May 3, 2014 at age 79. As the leader of the Transportation Committee for a number of years, Oberstar has had much impact on our roads, bridges and, most noteably to us, our trails. Oberstar co-sponsored the transportation funding bill that was critical in constructing the Paul Bunyan State Trail.

Beyond his efforts in securing funding for the Paul Bunyan State Trail, Oberstar was an advocate for healthier lifestyles through his support of projects to help increase walking and bicycling. He actively shared his message about the benefits of walking and bicycling by setting a personal example. The annual Ride with Jim along the segments of the Paul Bunyan Trail is one example of his involvement.

Oberstar’s physical presence on the Trail will be missed, but we will always Ride with Jim when biking the Paul Bunyan Trail. Ride on, Jim!

Snowmobile Restrictions Lifted on Paul Bunyan Trail
December 2013
The Brainerd DNR Parks and Trails office announced that the signs prohibiting snowmobiles with metal traction devices from using the trail have been removed on the south end of the Paul Bunyan State Trail. Studded snowmobiles are now allowed on any stretch of the trail.

Trail Event: Brainerd Jaycees Run for the Lakes
The 7th annual Run for the Lakes. Events include a Kids Fun Run, 5K, 10K, Half, Full, and Relay Marathons. The race weekend has something for everyone from amateur to professional. This is a Boston Qualifier event. The Run for the Lakes will be held in Nisswa, MN on April 25 & 26, 2014. A portion of the scenic course takes place along the Paul Bunyan Trail.

Trail Event: Baxter Turkey Run
The 4th Annual Baxter Turkey Run will be held November 28, 2013. This great holiday tradition is a 5k run / 1 mile walk to benefit the Shriners Hospitals for Children. The race starts and finishes at the Northland Arboretum, with the course taking you on the Paul Bunyan trail and surrounding city streets.

Heartland State Trail segment to close temporarily for bridge construction
Released May 30, 2013

A segment of the 49-mile Heartland State Trail in Cass County will close temporarily on Monday, June 3, for construction on the historic Steamboat River Bridge. The bridge will be outfitted with new approaches, hand-railings, structural supports and decking. After the old wood decking on the trestle is removed, the trail will be paved.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) expects most of the construction with the possible exception of the paving to be complete by Dec. 1, in time for snowmobiling season. If paving is not completed this year, it will be in 2014.

Signs will indicate the trail closure on both sides of the bridge from 130th Street on the north side to the first approach to the south. No alternate route is recommended around the construction area due to the long distances on roadways around the lakes and river crossings. The DNR recommends trail users avoid using Trunk Highway 371 as a detour because of high traffic volumes and vehicle speeds along this stretch of road. The rest of the trail – which travels north to Cass Lake, south to Walker and then west to Park Rapids – will remain open.

Constructed circa 1914 by the Great Northern Railway Company, the Steamboat River Bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Although no longer operational, a pivot mechanism that was hand-powered by up to 16 men used to open the bridge. Once open, the Steamboat Bridge enabled steamboats and logs from Steamboat Lake to be moved along the Steamboat River and through Leech Lake to Leech Lake Lumber Company in Walker.

For construction updates and more information, visit the Heartland State Trail Web page at

Rails-to-trails bikeways featured in DNR’s Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine
Released March 11, 2013

Four state trails that have been converted from railroad lines are featured in the March-April issue of Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine. These rails-to-trails bikeways are the Central Lakes, Paul Bunyan, Casey Jones, and Sakatah Singing Hills state trails.

Rails-to-trails conversions are an important part of the state trail system, making up 560 of the 620 miles of paved multiuse trails managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Bicyclists comprise more than two-thirds of the travelers on multi use trails.

“We Minnesotans are fortunate to have so many miles of trails that literally follow in the tracks of former railroads,” said Keith Goetzman, managing editor of the magazine and a co-author of the story. “These corridors are still being used for transportation, but of a different kind.”

The Central Lakes State Trail stretches 55 miles between Fergus Falls and Osakis, winding through glacial terrain of lakes, rolling prairies and hardwood hills.

The 112-mile Paul Bunyan State Trail runs from Brainerd to Bemidji, meandering past lakes, woods and wetlands.

The Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail, covering 39 miles from Faribault to Mankato, passes through several small towns, by a dozen lakes, and past patches of prairie and big woods.

The 21-mile Casey Jones State Trail in southwestern Minnesota traverses the areas prairie and farm landscapes.

The Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, a bimonthly magazine published by the DNR, provides readers with entertaining and informative articles about Minnesota’s woods, waters and wildlife. Featuring some of Minnesota’s best-known outdoor writers and photographers, the magazine delivers in-depth and in-the-field natural resources coverage.

Trail Event: Northern Lakes Arthritis Walk

Make a positive impact on the lives of people living with arthritis by raising funds for arthritis research, education and life improvement programs. Walkers of all ages are welcome to gather at the Paul Bunyan Trailhead in Baxter, MN on May 18, 2013. The walk begins at 10 am and registration begins at 9 am.

Trail Event: Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Join the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s and unite in a movement to reclaim the future for millions. The event will be held at the Northland Arboretum in Brainerd, MN on Saturday, September 22, 2012. The walk begins at 10 am and registration begins at 9 am.

Bridge Dedication Ceremony – Paul Bunyan State Trail TH 197, Bemidji
Released September 13, 2012

A Bridge Dedication Ceremony, celebrating the construction of the trail and Bridge Project spanning Hwy 197 in bridge-dedication-posterBemidji, is planned for September 26, 2012. The Ceremony will be held from 1:00 – 1:30 p.m.
In addition to the Ribbon Cutting ceremony, we will hear remarks from notable figures who have been influential in

making this project a success. Included in the ceremony will be: Dave Larson, Mayor of Bemidji; Senator John Carlson, MN State Senate; Representative John Persell, MN House of Representatives; Courtland Nelson, MN DNR Parks & Trails Division Director; John Chattin, City Manager, Bemidji; Jerry Downs, Trail Advocate.

This project was a collaboration between the City of Bemidji and the MN Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Trails.

Along the Trail: Duck stamp art exhibit opens at Lake Bemidji State Park Sept. 8
Released September 6, 2012

Lake Bemidji State Park is hosting the 2012 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Minnesota Junior Duck Stamp Traveling Exhibit Sept. 8-20. The exhibit displays the works of Minnesota’s talented young artists in grades K-12 who are the winners of this year’s competition. The art work depicts North American waterfowl in various mediums.
“We’re excited to join the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in encouraging youth to take part in the Junior Duck Stamp program,” said Pete Harrison, Lake Bemidji State Park manager. “We hope parents and aspiring young artists will visit the park to view this incredible display of talent.”

The Best of Show artwork was drawn by Keaton Van’t Hull, age 17, of St. Michael. The Minnesota Conservation Message Winner is Hannah Angell, age 12, of Andover. Hannah’s statement, “Surrounded by nature, surrounded by opportunity,” along with Keaton’s Best of Show artwork, a pencil drawing of a Bufflehead, advanced to the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest held in April at Patuxent Research Refuge, Maryland. Keaton placed in the top five at the contest.

“This year’s contest had extraordinary waterfowl images from Minnesota’s talented young artists,” said Mara Koenig, Minnesota coordinator of the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program. “Their art communicates the importance of wetlands for not only wildlife, but also for people to enjoy.”
The National Junior Duck Stamp program uses both conservation and design principles to teach wetland habitat and waterfowl biology to students in kindergarten through high school. It provides an opportunity for students to artistically express their knowledge of the diversity, interdependence and beauty of wildlife.
In 2012, more than 1,170 Minnesota youngsters participated in the program. Artwork entries are judged on the basis of original design, anatomical accuracy, artistic composition and suitability for reproduction on a 1-inch by 1.5-inch stamp.

The first place art from the national contest is used to create a National Junior Duck Stamp each year. The $5 Junior Duck Stamp is available at the U.S. Postal Service or at many national wildlife refuges. Proceeds from stamp sales support conservation education, and provide awards and scholarships for participating students, teachers and schools.

More information about the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program is available at
Lake Bemidji State Park is located at 3401 State Park Road NE in Bemidji. The exhibit is free and open for viewing Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. All vehicles must have a valid state park pass to enter the park ($5 daily or $25 annual). For more information, call the park at 218-308-2300 or visit

Trail Event: Step Out – Walk to Stop Diabetes

The Brainerd Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes will take place on Saturday, October 6th, 2012 at Paul Bunyan Trailhead in Baxter, MN. This year we will be kicking off the event with an official start line! Registration and check in starts at 7:45AM to 8:45AM. Announcements and line-up will happen at 8:45AM which will be followed by an official send off at 9:00AM. There will even be a balloon arch!

Begin and end your walk at the Paul Bunyan Trailhead Parking lot (behind Movies 10) in Baxter. The 4-mile walk will take you along the beautiful Paul Bunyan Trail. Once you reach Beaver Dam Road, stop for a quick snack and some water, then return to the Trailhead parking lot to pick up your goody bag and check to see if you have won a door prize.

Please come dressed comfortably and prepared for any kind of weather. Diabetes doesn’t stop for rainy or snowy days and neither will we. For more information please visit

To pre-register for the event visit or call 1-888-DIABETES x 6783. Day of event registration is welcome. See you October 6th and thank you for helping us Stop Diabetes!

Along the Trail: Crow Wing State Park to host overnight program on camping basics
Released July 16, 2012

People can learn how to camp or refresh rusty outdoor skills during a one-night I Can Camp! program being offered by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Parks and Trails Division on Saturday, July 21, at Crow Wing State Park in Brainerd.

Experienced instructors from Conservation Corps Minnesota will teach participants basic camping and outdoor skills, including how to set up a tent, how to build a campfire, and camp cooking. All camping equipment is provided (including tents, air mattresses and cook stoves). Participants just bring their own food and bedding (sleeping bags or blankets and pillows).

The program costs $35 for a tent accommodating up to six people. A one-day vehicle pass will be included as part of the program fee, or participants may buy a year-round Minnesota state parks permit for an additional $20.
For more information, visit For reservations, call 866-857-2757 (TTY: 952-936-4008) between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.

These programs are part of an ongoing effort by the DNR Parks and Trails Division to connect people with the outdoors. They also offer skill-building programs that introduce fishing, paddling, climbing and archery to beginners. They were created in response to research that indicated declining participation in outdoor recreation by young families.

Funding for the I Can Camp! programs is from the Parks and Trails Fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the sales tax revenue and may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.

Along the Trail: Northland Arboretum to Hold it’s 4th Annual Minnesota Country Sampler Picnic Wednesday, July 18
Released July 11, 2012

(Brainerd, MN) The Northland Arboretum will hold its annual Minnesota Country Sampler Picnic on Wednesday, July 18 from 4:00-8:30 pm at the Northland Arboretum in Brainerd. All proceeds from this family-style event benefit the Northland Arboretum.

The Country Sampler Picnic will feature food, wine and beer tasting from more than twenty-five Minnesota restaurants and vendors. The Picnic will begin with a pig roast, and continue with various vendors along the trails at the Arboretum. There will be pig races throughout the evening, live entertainment, a dunk tank, picnic basket silent auction and other events. Tickets are available at the Arboretum now and will be available at the gates the night of the picnic. Prices for tickets are $11 per adults, $5 per child ages 5 to 15. Kids 4 and under are free.


This event is sponsored by Cub Foods, Grand Casino Mille Lacs, Schells Brewery many local Brainerd/Baxter area business. For more information about the Minnesota County Sampler Picnic, contact the Arb at 218-829-8770

Along the Trail: Yikes! Bikes! 2012

The Yikes! Bikes! Annual Bike Ride is scheduled for Saturday, July 14, 2012. Yikes!Bikes! is a Saturday morning bike tour designed for families as well as serious trail riders. Routes follow paved roadways and trails in the Leech Lake area. The event raises funds to build houses with families in need of a decent and affordable home.

This ride features 18/40/60 mile tour routes along a combination of lakeshore, countryside and dense forest in the beautiful Leech Lake vacation area making Yikes! Bikes! one of the most scenic rides in the Midwest. It includes paved roadways and trails, SAG wagon support and maps. You may register the day of the event but get signed up early for special savings!

Come join this wonderful ride that benefits the Leech Lake Chapter of Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity. Past participants have raved about our “Up North” hospitality. Enjoy live music and a variety of foods, including ethnic treats like lefsa, at the rest stops and at the finish. This is not a race. It’s fun for all ages and abilities. T-shirt guaranteed if registered by June 25. Reserve a hotel early if you plan to stay in this popular vacation destination, Walker, MN!

Get more details:

Along the Trail: Camper cabins now available at Lake Bemidji State Park
Released June 18, 2012

Visitors to Lake Bemidji State Park can begin making reservations for four newly installed camper cabins on June 18 for arrival dates starting June 29.

The rustic, one-room cabins provide basic shelter for up to six visitors (or five in wheelchair-accessible cabins) who want a “camping out” experience but who may not have the necessary equipment for typical camping.

“These cabins are perfect for families that would like to introduce their kids to a camping experience, or for those who want to stay overnight at the park but aren’t able or don’t want to sleep on the ground,” explained Pete Harrison, Lake Bemidji State Park manager.

The new cabins are heated for year-round use. Two of them are wheelchair accessible. The cabins do not have indoor plumbing, but they are located in or near the park’s campground, where seasonal restrooms, showers and drinking water are available. Vault toilets are available year-round at all locations.

As at other Minnesota state parks and recreation areas, the 12-foot by 16-foot wooden cabins have a table with benches inside, as well as wooden bunk-bed frames with mattresses. Outside, the cabins have a picnic table, fire ring and grill for outdoor cooking.

The cabins are semi-private, with their own view of the park’s natural areas. They are also located within easy access of the many miles of trails offered in the park, for both summer and winter recreational use.

The nightly rate for the cabins is $50. Reservations can be made up to 12 months in advance of a scheduled first night stay.

The Lake Bemidji State Park cabins may be available to rent on a first-come, first-served basis before June 29. Contact the park at 218-308-2300 for further updates.

Trail Event: Ride with Jim 2012

Ride the Paul Bunyan Trail with Jim Oberstar Sunday, June 3, 2012.

The ride will start and end at the Baxter/Brainerd trail head.

Riders will leave the trail head at 9:00 a.m. Lunch for $5 will be served at the trail head following the dedication of the Bridge to the memory of Terry McGaughey.

This is an informal, casual ride. There is no registration. It is all about the bike ride – come and enjoy.

Trail Event: Arthritis Walk – Northern Lakes

Celebrate movement and make a positive impact on the lives of people living with arthritis. The Arthritis Walk is the signature fundraising event for the Arthritis Foundation. The Northner Lakes Arthritis Walk will be held Saturday, May 19, 2012. We will gather at the Paul Bunyan Trailhead in Baxter, MN. Walk begins at 10:00 am. Registration is at 9:00 am.

Trail Event: Arbor Day at the Arboretum

Come on and enjoy Arbor Day at Northland Arboretum on Friday, April 27 from 10 am to 3 pm

Enjoy the beauty of our 540 acres – Take a Nature Hike on the arboretum trails. Enjoy a Bird Walk with Judd Brink.

Stop in the visitor center and receive a free tree! We are accepting clothing for recycling ? so clean out those closets and bring in your unneeded wearable clothing, coats, shoes (no high heels, please), curtains, linens, purses & handbags. If you can?t make it to the Arb on April 27, stop by before with your used clothing Monday through Friday between 8 am and 4:30 pm. Items collected at the Arboretum will be recycled and all proceeds benefit the Arboretum. Bring in your empty ink jet cartridges to recycle ? this benefits the raptor center. Check out our Solar Demonstration Project. Compost bins available. Nature Prints & Cards in our gift shop ? and more!

For more information call the Arboretum at 218-829-8770

Celebrate Arbor Day – Plant a Tree

Trail Construction: New Bridge Connection in Bemidji
Released March 15, 2012

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Northwest Region Parks and Trails Division recently awarded the contract for construction of the Paul Bunyan Trail and bridge project spanning Highway 197 in Bemidji. Construction will begin around March 19 and be completed around Aug. 15, weather permitting.

The new bridge and trail will create a continuous connection between the city of Bemidji trails along Lake Bemidji to downtown, and to the Paul Bunyan State Trail on the south side of Lake Bemidji.
The project will provide a safe trail crossing at a very busy city intersection–Highway 197 and 1st Street.
The $1.75 million project was funded by the 2011 legislative session through bonding. It is a cooperative effort between the DNR, city of Bemidji, Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and Ottertail Power Co.

Trail Event: 7th Annual Family Education Program at the Arb

The Northland Arboretum, located at the Paul Bunyan Trail head in Brainerd, MN is hosting its 7th Annual Family Education Program on Saturday, March 24, 2012. Raptors of Minnesota & Wild and Free Wildlife Rehabilitation Center will be present. Learn about the majestic bald eagle and other beautiful raptors and the key role they play in our environment.

Trail Event: Candlelight Ski Tour / Snowshoe Walk

Take in the beauty of Lake Bemidji State Park at night during the Annual Candlelight Cross Country Ski & Snowshoe walk on February 25, 2012. Candles will light 5 km of groomed ski trails and fires will be lit along the trail for you to stop and warm up or roast marshmallows. Additional refreshments and live music will be provided at the visitor center.

Trail Event: Nisswa Winter Jubilee

“Once Upon a Time in Nisswa” is the theme for the 40th Nisswa Winter Jubilee, which will be held February 17-19, 2012. The Jubilee activities include snow sculptures, parade, wood splitting contest and more. The Miss Nisswa Pageant, scheduled for Feb. 17, 2012 is also part of the festivities. Bring out the family for a great weekend of winter fun.

Trail Event: 33rd Annual EelPout Festival

The 33rd Annual International Eelpout Festival is scheduled for February 17-18, 2012. This “all-weather” angling event is held on Leech Lake in Walker, MN. In addition to the fishing contest, this uniquely Minnesota festival includes fun winter events such as the Polar Pout Plunge and the Eel Pout 500 “on Ice” Auto Race.

Trail Event: Back to Hack

Hackensack, MN is the place to be for winter fun January 27-29, 2012. Join us for Back to Hack, our annual snowmobile days celebration. This year’s theme is Winter Fun with Paul & Lucette. Events include our Snowmobile Parade, Family Ice Fishing Paul Bunyan Contest, PAMDA Penguin Plunge, Snow Sculptures and more!

Trail Event: Antique Snowmobile Rendezvous

The Antique Snowmobile Rendezvous will take place January 20-22, 2012. The snowmobile show, trail ride and competitions take place at Trailside Park in Pequot Lakes, MN. In addition to the trail ride, vintage snowmobile show and rally, there is a Social Hour & bonfire Friday evening as well as a Social Hour, Dinner and Style show on Saturday Evening. An oblate breakfast will be held Sunday morning. Visit for more details.

Trail Event: Step Out – Walk to Stop Diabetes

The American Diabetes Association will be hosting its signature fundraising event, Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes at the Paul Bunyan Trailhead on Saturday, October 1st. There are 25.8 million Americans living with diabetes, a disease that is outpacing heart disease, cancer and AIDS. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors appear to play roles.

This event has a 1 mile walk or 3 mile walk that begins between 8:00am – 9:00am. Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes is filled with fun for the entire family including: face painting, the Pine Grove Zoos Outreach Program, Goodie Bags, Door Prize Drawings, a light breakfast and much more!

To pre-register for the event visit or call 1-888-DIABETES x 6783. Day of event registration is welcome. See you October 1st and thank you for helping us Stop Diabetes!?

Trail Repairs: Partial Trail Closures Fall 2011

The portion of the Paul Bunyan Trail from No Name Avenue on the south side of Hackensack, north 7.8 miles to the Adirondack Shelter in Chippewa National Forest, will be temporarily closed for asphalt resurfacing. The trail closure will be in effect from Monday, September 26, 2011 through the remainder of the fall. No alternate route is available.

Trail Event: Ride with Jim 2011

Ride the Paul Bunyan Trail with Jim Oberstar Saturday, September 10, 2011.

Hosted by the Paul Bunyan Trail Association and Brainerd Community Action, this year’s ride will showcase the original 50 miles that started the Paul Bunyan Trail.

The ride will start at 8 a.m. at the Baxter/Brainerd trail head with coffee, rolls and juice. From 8:30 -9:00 a.m. there will be a 15th Anniversary Program with keynote speaker Oberstar, former Eight District congressman.

Riders will leave the trail head at 9:00 a.m. There will be a short program at 10:30 a.m. in Nisswa and at 11:15 a.m. in Pequot Lakes. Lunch featuring hobo stew compliments of the Pine River Chamber of Commerce will be at noon in pine River. The ride will end at 3:00 p.m. in Hackensack.

This is an informal, casual ride. No registration fee is required. Riders are on their own. No sag wagon or shuttle service is provided.

Trail Event: Terry’s Ride

The Paul Bunyan Cyclists Bike Club invites others to enjoy any part of the Paul Bunyan Trail this coming Saturday, August 27, 2011, in honor of Terry McGaughey, founder of the trail.

There is no cost and no formal organization for Terry’s Ride. Participants can choose any section of the trail to ride.

Bikers interested in riding the northern portion of the Paul Bunyan Trail from Walker to Bemidji, around Lake Bemidji and back to Walker (Approx 80 miles) can find additional information on the Paul Bunyan Cyclists website.

Paul Bunyan Trail Receives National Honor:
Rail-to-Trails Conservancy names Paul Bunyan State Trail to Hall of Fame
February 25, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C.  This February, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) announced the Paul Bunyan State Trail as the newest member of the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was established in 2007 to honor 25 outstanding rail-trails around the country. Out of 1,600 open rail-trails, and approximately 750 more in development, Hall of Fame inductees are selected based on merits such as scenic value, trail and trailside amenities, historical significance, excellence in management and maintenance of facility, community connections and geographic distribution.

The Paul Bunyan State Trail passes through 15 communities in north-central Minnesota and extends 112 miles from the northern end in Lake Bemidji State Park south to Brainerd’s Northland Arboretum. An extension on the southern end to Crow Wing State Park is set for construction in 2012, and plans are under way to create an off-road route through Bemidji. When these projects are completed, the Paul Bunyan State Trail will become the longest continuously paved rail-trail in the country. Currently, it is visited by more than 650,000 users a year and has become one of the premier state trails in Minnesota.

“It’s an awesome privilege to have a Hall of Fame trail here in Minnesota. [The honor] will bring national attention, and bikers from all over the country can come enjoy it,” says Forrest Boe, deputy director for the Division of Parks and Trails in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which owns and manages the trail.

The idea for the trail emerged in 1983 when the county lost its 90-year-old Burlington Northern rail line. The late Terry McGaughey, a long-time trail advocate, saw the potential of a trail along the corridor and committed himself to rallying local communities in support of the project. Thanks in large part to the patience and perseverance of McGaughey–who  is seen as the “Father of the Trail”–the Paul Bunyan State Trail has initiated a new sense of community and tourism since the first section opened in 1988.

“When I think of the Paul Bunyan State Trail, I think of time and space,” says Jeff Ciabotti, vice president of trail development for RTC. “While riding along this iconic rail-trail, time seems to slow down and space seems ever expanding. From the start, Terry McGaughey understood this allure and used it to help create an unforgettable trail experience.”

Twenty-one trails have been named to the Hall of Fame thus far. The program will conclude on Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s 25th Anniversary celebration on National Trails Day, June 4, 2011. For a complete list of the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame designations and stories, including a Trail of the Month feature on the Paul Bunyan State Trail, visit RTC’s website at

Trail Event: Memorial Ride for Terry

Congressman Jim Oberstar and the Brainerd Community Action are inviting everyone to join them for a Memorial Ride for Terry McGaughey on the Paul Bunyan Trail October 16, 2010.

Terry was key in transforming the unused railroad bed into the longest paved bike trail in Minnesota. Terry had a clear vision and volunteered his efforts during the past 30 years to help make this recreational trail available for everyone to enjoy. Everyone is welcome to have lunch at the trail head in Baxter from 12-1:30 p.m. The ride will go from Baxter to Nisswa for a short program (15-20 minutes) and then on to Pequot Lakes. Congressman Jim Oberstar will speak at the Pequot Lakes Chamber office.

Trail Repairs: Trail Spot Repairs Project to Cause Temporary, Partial Trail Closures

Segments of the Paul Bunyan Trail between Brainerd and Pine River will be closed temporarily for repairs during all or part of the period between Sept. 15 and Oct. 22, 2010, according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The first phase of the project consists of spot repairs in the following locations:

  • from the Baxter parking lot trail entrance to Beaver Dam Road (two miles)
  • from Smith Road to North Long Lake Road (three-and-a-half miles)
  • from CSAH 13 (Lake Hubert Road) to Clark Lake Road (one mile).

The second phase of the project involves resurfacing a four-mile stretch from Rosewood Lane, just south of Jenkins to CSAH 115, two miles south of Pine River.

There is no short, safe, bike-friendly way around the project, so no detour route has been designated.

Trail Event: Legislative Bike Ride
August 21, 2010

Celebrate the most recently paved section of the Paul Bunyan Trail and
help raise legislative awareness about on-going Trail needs.

The bike ride will take place on the Paul Bunyan Trail segment from Guthrie to Walker.

Trail Project:  Paving of the trail from Guthrie to Walker (completed in May 2010)

Trail Event: Ride with Jim 2010

Ride the Paul Bunyan Trail with Jim Oberstar Sunday, June 6, 2010

The 28 mile ride begins at 9:00 am at the Northland Arboretum in Brainerd/Baxter.
The route will take you through the Baxter trails. Free event.

Trail Project: Paul Bunyan Trail Bridge: Excelsior Road Crossing (October 2008)



Trail Event: Paul Bunyan Trail Bridge Dedication (October 15, 2008)



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