Hiking Trails in the Brainerd Lakes Area
Take advantage of all of the nature in the Brainerd Lakes Area with a walk or a hike on a local hiking trail. Many of the hiking/walking trails feature amenities such as benches and roadside stops. There are many paves hiking trails such as the famous Paul Bunyan Trail, as well as rustic hikes through the woods or near the lakes.
Cuyuna Lakes Trail
The Cuyuna Lakes State Trail is eight miles of paved trail within the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area from Crosby to Riverton. One mile passes through the City of Aitkin along State Highway 169. Abandoned by mining companies more than 35 years ago, the state recreation area contains six natural lakes, plus an additional 15 deep lakes that were former mine pits. Stop to fish, explore the Croft Mine, or ride the new 25-mile single track mountain bike trail system.
Veteran's Memorial Walking Trail and Wetland Walkway to the Island
Jenkins, MN near the A-Pine Restaurant
This walking trail located on Counrty Road 16, East of Jenkins, features a 500' bog walk to a small island. Follow the island loop for another 1/4 mile to view a shrub swamp and scenic overlook.
Crow Wing State Park
3124 State Park Road, Brainerd, MN
Visit the historic Old Crow Wing Town Site, at the confluence of the Mississippi and Crow Wing rivers. Signs share the story of this frontier town in the mid-1800s. Start from the picnic area parking lot. From the boat landing, climb the stairs to Chippewa Lookout. Stand high atop the Mississippi River for distant views.
Foot Hills State Forest
Minnesota 87, Backus, MN
Foot Hills State Forest's proximity to the metropolitan areas of St. Cloud and the Twin Cities make it a popular recreation spot. The trail system in Foot Hills State Forest is used for hiking and OHV riding in the summer and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter.
14250 Conservation Drive, Brainerd, MN
The Northland Arboretum boasts nearly 20 kilometers (12 miles) of trails for hiking and cross-country skiing wih nearly 5 kilometers lighted for evening skiing. The trails are designed to accommodate all ages and skill levels and are considered among the best in Minnesota. The arboretum is used extensively by junior high and high school runners and skiers for both practice and competition.
Paul Bunyan Trail
Crow Wing State Park to Lake Bemidji State Park
The Paul Bunyan State Trail is 115 miles long, not including a couple of short on-road connections through the cities of Baxter and Bemidji. Extending all the the way from Crow Wing State Park to Lake Bemidji State Park, north of Bemidji, it is the longest of Minnesota's state trails and the longest continuously paved rail-trail in the country.
Pillsbury State Forest
County Road 77 - Brainerd Area
The trails at Pillsbury State Forest meander through a heavy forested area consisting of a variety of deciduous and coniferous trees. The woods are dotted with small lakes and ponds where you're likely to see evidence of beavers and other wildlife. You may also find several varieties of wildflowers, including the yellow lady's-slipper.