Leech Lake Area: North Country Trail includes Solitude, Incredible Scenery…Don’t Forget the Dedicated Volunteers
The North Country National Scenic Hiking Trail (NCT) is a 4,600-mile long, non-motorized trail stretching from New York to North Dakota. We are fortunate that part of the NCT goes through the Leech Lake area. The National Trail System offers scenic hiking, backpacking, and primitive camping opportunities – and part of it is in our backyard!
Along segments of the NCT, in addition to hearing birds calling, hikers will see lakes, ponds, bogs, and streams. There are massive pines, oaks, birch, and other trees along the Trail. Many backpackers have said they enjoyed the solitude they experienced when they were backpacking. These backpackers were pleased that they did not see another person when they were on the NCT. Backpackers and hikers need to be prepared. The North Country Trail Association’s website has interactive maps and valuable information about the NCT.
If you want to hike the NCT but do not want to hike alone, there are group hikes scheduled annually. The Pilot-Independent (Walker’s newspaper), publishes information about dates, times, and locations of group hikes. North Country Trail Association is always looking for new members and its website also has information about group hikes.
In the Walker Minnesota area, volunteers have so many volunteer options to choose from. As you can imagine, the NCT does not remain accessible without the efforts of public agencies and volunteers. Volunteers are the NCT’s primary caretakers. As an example, the Itasca Moraine Chapter of the North Country Trail Association is a very active local group of volunteers. Wearing their head gear with mosquito netting, they use self-propelled all-terrain lawn mowers to cut back summer plants. We understand the Itasca Moraine Chapter tries to mow or clear their segment of the NCT twice a year – spring and early fall. They also cut back plants and other growth that have grown over the NCT.
Part of the Shingobee Recreation Area Trail, which is just 6 miles from Leech Lake and Walker, is also part of the NCT. If you have been on the trail that is closest to Anoway Lake, you have already been on the NCT!
Blue-painted “blaze”, which are blue vertical rectangles 2 inches by 6 inches painted on trees, mark the way on the NCT. Bring your camera!
The Heather Hauser Group loves Selling the Lake Country™ – because the Leech Lake area has so much to offer. Who wrote this blog: HHG member, Denise.