We are very fortunate to have many miles of paved and unpaved trails in the Leech Lake area. The Paul Bunyan State Trail may be the most popular paved rail-to-trail system in the Leech Lake area. However, there are other paved trails; and, of course, miles and miles of unpaved trails.
The multi-use Paul Bunyan State Trail is approximately 120 miles of paved trail from Crow Wing State Park (just south of Brainerd) to Bemidji State Park (in Bemidji). This trail and other trails in the area are used year-round for walking, hiking, biking, inline skating, or snowmobiling. With about 15 towns near the trails, there are many choices for lodging and dining. Of course, there are benches along the trails for resting and enjoying the scenery.
There is so much information about the trails available online. For visitors and others wanting more information, here are a few informative websites:
- Dept. of Natural Resources – The Visitor Alerts information is incredibly valuable; there is information about sections of the trail that may be closed for repair. The DNR also has information about state park permit fees, an events calendar, and so much more.
- The Paul Bunyan Trail – We’ll mention specifically the information they post for snowmobilers. Their website has maps and mileage information – snowmobilers can decide where to stop to eat and fill their gas tanks! They also have a valuable information about trail conditions. For instance, in the spring, is the trail snow covered in a specific section of the trail? The Paul Bunyan State Trail is groomed for snowmobiling. The Paul Bunyan Trail website has a list of snowmobile clubs that are responsible for grooming the trail. You are encouraged to call them directly for information about conditions!
- Leech Lake and Walker Area Chamber of Commerce – The Chamber has information about all of the paved and unpaved trails in the Leech Lake area. Of course, they have so much more information about the Leech Lake area! Of course, you can also stop at their office to pick up maps and other information about the area.
One more fun fact about the Paul Bunyan State Trail, according to the DNR, in 2011 the Paul Bunyan State Trail was inducted into the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame. We didn’t know there was a Hall of Fame for Rail-Trail systems! Two of the qualities that a trail has to have are trail amenities and scenic beauty – Paul Bunyan State Trail definitely has those items! I have cycled north of Hackensack on the trail and been greeted by a hillside of Black-eyed Susan flowers; and cycled for miles in different sections of the trail in the shade under a canopy of towering trees. Of course, there is plenty of wildlife to see along the trail, too. Don’t forget to pick some raspberries!
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.