Bemidji Trails and Maps

41 Reviews

Looking for the best trails around Bemidji?

Find the top rated trails in Bemidji, whether you're looking an easy walking path or a long bike trail, you'll find what you're looking for. Click on a trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.

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Activities
Length
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8 Results
Activities
Length
Surfaces
Type

Blue Ox Trail (Voyageur Trail)

96.5 mi
State: MN
Ballast, Dirt

Circle L Trail

10 mi
State: MN
Dirt, Grass

Circle T Trail

39.5 mi
State: MN
Dirt, Grass

Heartland State Trail

49 mi
State: MN
Asphalt

Paul Bunyan State Trail

119.3 mi
State: MN
Asphalt

Shingobee Connection Trail

6.8 mi
State: MN
Asphalt

Soo Line Trail - Northern Route

148 mi
State: MN
Ballast, Gravel

Wapiti Trail

50.17 mi
State: MN
Ballast, Dirt, Grass
Trail Image Trail Name States Length Surface Rating
The Blue Ox–Voyageur Trail is a multi-use trail that permits ATVs and snowmobiles. It also accommodates mountain bikers, hikers, and equestrians along the former railroad right-of-way between...
MN 96.5 mi Ballast, Dirt
The Circle L Trail follows an abandoned logging railroad grade, which was used during the logging of the Bigfork River valley during the early 1900s. The trail passes through George Washington State...
MN 10 mi Dirt, Grass
The Circle T Trail forms a giant loop through the George Washington State Forest in the potholed lake region of northern Minnesota. The remote trail is one in a series of trails in the region and...
MN 39.5 mi Dirt, Grass
The Heartland State Trail is one of many long-distance trails managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. When established in 1974, it became one of the first rail-trail conversions in...
MN 49 mi Asphalt
Paul Bunyan State Trail, stretching 123 miles from Bemidji to Brainerd, is one of the longest rail-trails in the country. This distance includes its newest segment, completed in 2014, that extended...
MN 119.3 mi Asphalt
The Shingobee Connection Trail, spanning nearly 7 miles, offers a key link between two much longer rail-trails—the Paul Bunyan State Trail and Heartland State Trail—making it possible to travel more...
MN 6.8 mi Asphalt
The Soo Line North Trail travels for 148 miles through forest and bog between Moose Lake in the south and Cass Lake in the north. The trail, which is popular with ATVs in the summer and snowmobiles in...
MN 148 mi Ballast, Gravel
The Wapiti Trail is primarily used by snowmobilers and connects with the Big Red Lake Bog and McTrail system trails. The remote trail passes among boreal forests of willow and poplar. You may see...
MN 50.17 mi Ballast, Dirt, Grass

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Trails by activity

Heartland State Trail

MN - 49 miles

The Heartland State Trail is one of many long-distance trails managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. When established in 1974, it became one of the first rail-trail conversions in...

Shingobee Connection Trail

MN - 6.8 miles

The Shingobee Connection Trail, spanning nearly 7 miles, offers a key link between two much longer rail-trails—the Paul Bunyan State Trail and Heartland State Trail—making it possible to travel more...

Paul Bunyan State Trail

MN - 119.3 miles

Paul Bunyan State Trail, stretching 123 miles from Bemidji to Brainerd, is one of the longest rail-trails in the country. This distance includes its newest segment, completed in 2014, that extended...

Heartland State Trail

MN - 49 miles

The Heartland State Trail is one of many long-distance trails managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. When established in 1974, it became one of the first rail-trail conversions in...

Wapiti Trail

MN - 50.17 miles

The Wapiti Trail is primarily used by snowmobilers and connects with the Big Red Lake Bog and McTrail system trails. The remote trail passes among boreal forests of willow and poplar. You may see...

Blue Ox Trail (Voyageur Trail)

MN - 96.5 miles

The Blue Ox–Voyageur Trail is a multi-use trail that permits ATVs and snowmobiles. It also accommodates mountain bikers, hikers, and equestrians along the former railroad right-of-way between...

Circle T Trail

MN - 39.5 miles

The Circle T Trail forms a giant loop through the George Washington State Forest in the potholed lake region of northern Minnesota. The remote trail is one in a series of trails in the region and...

Accordion

Paul Bunyan State Trail

MN - 119.3 miles

Paul Bunyan State Trail, stretching 123 miles from Bemidji to Brainerd, is one of the longest rail-trails in the country. This distance includes its newest segment, completed in 2014, that extended...

Shingobee Connection Trail

MN - 6.8 miles

The Shingobee Connection Trail, spanning nearly 7 miles, offers a key link between two much longer rail-trails—the Paul Bunyan State Trail and Heartland State Trail—making it possible to travel more...

Soo Line Trail - Northern Route

MN - 148 miles

The Soo Line North Trail travels for 148 miles through forest and bog between Moose Lake in the south and Cass Lake in the north. The trail, which is popular with ATVs in the summer and snowmobiles in...

Circle L Trail

MN - 10 miles

The Circle L Trail follows an abandoned logging railroad grade, which was used during the logging of the Bigfork River valley during the early 1900s. The trail passes through George Washington State...

Soo Line Trail - Northern Route

MN - 148 miles

The Soo Line North Trail travels for 148 miles through forest and bog between Moose Lake in the south and Cass Lake in the north. The trail, which is popular with ATVs in the summer and snowmobiles in...

Blue Ox Trail (Voyageur Trail)

MN - 96.5 miles

The Blue Ox–Voyageur Trail is a multi-use trail that permits ATVs and snowmobiles. It also accommodates mountain bikers, hikers, and equestrians along the former railroad right-of-way between...

Circle L Trail

MN - 10 miles

The Circle L Trail follows an abandoned logging railroad grade, which was used during the logging of the Bigfork River valley during the early 1900s. The trail passes through George Washington State...

Shingobee Connection Trail

MN - 6.8 miles

The Shingobee Connection Trail, spanning nearly 7 miles, offers a key link between two much longer rail-trails—the Paul Bunyan State Trail and Heartland State Trail—making it possible to travel more...

Accordion

Heartland State Trail

MN - 49 miles

The Heartland State Trail is one of many long-distance trails managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. When established in 1974, it became one of the first rail-trail conversions in...

Paul Bunyan State Trail

MN - 119.3 miles

Paul Bunyan State Trail, stretching 123 miles from Bemidji to Brainerd, is one of the longest rail-trails in the country. This distance includes its newest segment, completed in 2014, that extended...

Wapiti Trail

MN - 50.17 miles

The Wapiti Trail is primarily used by snowmobilers and connects with the Big Red Lake Bog and McTrail system trails. The remote trail passes among boreal forests of willow and poplar. You may see...

Circle T Trail

MN - 39.5 miles

The Circle T Trail forms a giant loop through the George Washington State Forest in the potholed lake region of northern Minnesota. The remote trail is one in a series of trails in the region and...

Recent Trail Reviews

Paul Bunyan State Trail

GREAT TRAIL EXPERIENCE FOR OLDER FOLKS

September, 2017 by kcwyks_tl

We are from Missouri in our 60's and look for rails-trails (preferably paved) where we can stay comfortably along the trail and park our car in a safe location. In Sept 2017 we stayed at a resort in Backus MN before riding and arranged a 4 day ride from Backus to Bemidji and back, which would result in about 30 miles per day. Weather was unusually warm on day 1, but misty for the rest of our tour. Fortunately it rained only at night while we were under a roof. Day 1 we biked to Walker, a town on shore of Leech Lake with a brief stop in Hackensack for breakfast. On the way to Walker, rather than taking the Shingobee shortcut, we took the Paul Bunyan trail through the Chippewa Forest, which is not a rail-trail- it is a paved mountain bike trail with some steep sections for 9 miles before joining up with the Heartland rail-trail into Walker. But that Chippewa stretch was well worth it, beautiful scenery. We stayed at Walker Hotel, nice facility with good breakfast about 3 blocks off the trail. Anyone interested in outdoor sports must go to the Reeds sports store in Walker! (about 6 blocks from hotel but no biking stuff) And there are nice tourist shops and a brewery in Walker. Then on to Bemidji on day 2, with a brief stop at the LaPorte grocery, as there aren't many places to stock up on that stretch. Contrary to previous reviews, we found the trail in Bemidji to be well marked all the way to the new bridge over highways to our hotel, which is close to the lakeshore park where statues of Paul Bunyan and Blue Ox and downtown stores are. Lots of good shopping and restaurants in downtown, check out the cooperative store and the Bemidji Brewery, maybe also the Minnesota Nice Café. Day 3 was back to Walker with a stop for pizza at the PoppleBar in LaPorte. Day 4 we took the Shingobee shortcut out of the southeast corner of Walker, to connect with the Paul Bunyan back to Backus. Note that the Shingobee also has some short but very steep sections. Overall, the trail was well maintained, no bugs, only a few sections of bumpy roots, and we met some nice folks. Will come back to do the southern section of the PB trail someday.

Paul Bunyan State Trail

August 2017 on the Paul Bunyan and Heartland Trail

September, 2017 by wreinsel

We used panniers to carry our things and did laundry along the way. But if you don’t want to do that you can use the shuttle service Dennis at Embracing Pines provides. He also has a terrific B&B right along the trail you can stay at and get shuttled to a different stop each day.
First Day:
Flew to Minneapolis / St Paul and took the Executive Shuttle to Brainerd / Baxter MN. Shuttle driver was great though and dropped us at LifeCycles where we rented bikes (pre-arranged since their rentals are in Nisswa) – call and talk to Zach the owner. We rode the 2 miles to our hotel and stayed at the Baymont Inn. Dinner was at the Boulder Tap House the first night and they have 36 beers on tap and have avocado fries – so delicious. Staying at the Arrowhead Lodge would have been better since the shuttle drops there. Hunt around for the trail on Google Maps – you have to cross 371 – be careful. Rode 10 or 15 miles on the trail and checked out the small town of Brainerd. Lots of food establishments.
Second day
Rode 47 miles from Baymont Inn in Baxter to Crow Wing State Park and on to Nisswa. Walked around a little bit of the tourist shops and saw a Barbie collection and other nostalgic items. Drank a flight at Axe Brewery and learned that they play 18 holes of golf on the lake here in the winter. Each hole has a restaurant or brewery to taste and there are thousands of people. Ate pizza at Raffertys. Stayed in the Nisswa Hotel right there and the owner is Bob. Right after you leave Nisswa there is a Laundromat literally feet from the trail in Pine River about 5 miles north of Nisswa. There is another one in Backus just after Pine River.
Third Day
Rode 32 miles to Hackensack.
Stayed in Hackensack at the Owl’s Nest hotel. Right in town there is a statue of Paul Bunyan and his girlfriend Lucette. Also a beautiful etched marble bench. Owls Nest motel is small but clean and generally ok. Ate spaghetti at Lucette’s Pizza of course. Dinner was at Udom Thai and then breakfast the next day was supposed to be at Joe's Vittles. Those are the three best restaurants here and there are only like 5. One is called Butts and Buns and the other is Char Broiled. At Char Broiled the food looked really good too and they have lots of beer on tap and allow you to try them with a flight. We also keep seeing signs for a meat raffle. Weird. Also in every town there is a water tower with the town name on it. This is a very small town and not nearly as nicely kept as Nisswa.
Fourth Day
Rode 39 miles to Park Rapids
Left Owls Nest at 8:30 after skipping Joe's Vittles due to a steady drizzle of rain. We rode 38 miles through the Chippewa state forest. The forest section is 9 miles or so and slightly hilly and very beautiful and remote. Made our way to Park Rapids by turning onto the Heartland Trail. We made a point of stopping in Akeley to see the memorial to veterans and an enormous statue of Paul Bunyan. Arrived in Park Rapids at the Red Bridge Inn and host Chris was there to meet us. You can see this B&B from the trail. Chris and Robyn are the hosts. Chris was so wonderful and brought our bikes and us inside. Let us do laundry and helped us with getting settled. This is definitely the place to stay in Park Rapids. We ate a quick lunch at Subway and ate a terrific Mexican dinner at Vallartes. Relaxed the afternoon away with tea in this beautiful B&B.
Fifth Day
Rode 28 miles to Walker MN after an enormous breakfast at the Red Bridge Inn. Stopped in Dorset (lots of restaurants) and Nevis (giant fish statue) and Akeley (home of the largest Paul Bunyan statue and a museum. We saw a small beaver swimming in one of the many lakes. Arrived in Walker and stayed at Chase on the Lake. The resort is beautiful with flowers and the town is kept up. We found three tall cryptmaria like bushes against a bank where there were a hundred or so finches chatting. Very cool. We went to Portage brewery and had a sampler flight and a stout pint. They use wild yeast and this is the best beer ever. Then we went to the Superone grocery store and got dinner. There are a lot of restaurants in town – but we were tired out.
Sixth Day
Rode 32 miles
Next day we rode the Shingobee connection trail and then came back to town. We got a Subway sandwich and rode an hour or so towards Cass Lake. Turned around at mile 38 or so (11 miles from the lake) and came back. Took great photos of purple martins. Ate dinner at Zona Rosa. It was definitely only one or two stars. Got more breakfast and snacks at SuperOne. Walked around town and looked in the little shops – but this town closes up early.
Seventh Day
Rode 32 miles to Bemidji
After leaving Walkter we stopped in LaPorte and bought water and ate snacks and the grocery there makes lunch and is very good. Rode to Bemidji and rode through the college town and along the lake. Stayed at the Country Inn and Suites literally 20 feet from the trail. Had beer in the hotel bar called JJ’s (great) and rode bikes to Dave’s pizza for a veggie pizza and spaghetti and it was super. There is a brewery and Tara Bemidji restaurant we really wanted to try but they were closed that day. There is also a very cute B&B in town called Lake Bemidji B&B but we didn’t stay there. Rode back and after sunset the bugs were horrible so we used the guest laundry. Tomorrow we go back to Brainerd on the shuttle with Dennis from the Embracing Pines B&B.

Eighth Day
Rode the 26 miles again to Crow Wing State Park from Baxter / Brainerd.
Ninth Day
Used the Executive Shuttle service to return to Minneapolis Saint Paul airport.

Paul Bunyan State Trail

Lake Bemidji loop

July, 2017 by kevinkaren

I parked next to Paul Bunyan and Babe in downtown Bemidji. Very nicely kept park, much improved from the abandoned amusement park that was there when I first saw them many years ago. I rode up the west shore of Lake Bemidji to the northern end, then through the state park and down the east shore of the lake.

I didn't have any issues with signage on the trail, although part of it just south of where I parked was closed for sidewalk construction. From the city trail 2 blocks west I made the connection to a trail bridge over the highway and continued on my way. The only confusion came on the north side of the bridge, where the trail loops back in the opposite direction before looping again at the lakeshore in an exaggerated "S" shape.

There were occasional views of the lake through the trees before lakeshore development took over and bumped the trail further away. The surface was excellent throughout. At the abrupt end of the trail I doubled back for a short while to the turnoff into Lake Bemidji State Park. This route had some ups and downs and fast curves before ending at a campsite. I then took the road straight through to the park entrance and turned left on the marked bike route, a county highway with a wide paved shoulder.

This is when I encountered the only less than ideal riding conditions. The paved shoulder disappeared and I had to continue a while longer until turning left again to head south on a rather busy state highway. But it wasn't long until I reached the turn to a quiet side street that took me the rest of the way to the college campus and a separate bike trail through the parks to Paul and Babe.

I then headed south through a well-signed on road section and back to dedicated trail south. I intended to stop at Guthrie and head back, but turned around sooner when Guthrie didn't show up where I expected, but threatening weather did. It was a very nice ride, and a little work to separate the full lake circle route from traffic would have made it perfect.

Accordion

Paul Bunyan State Trail

Paul Bunyan State Trail

July, 2017 by tampagreg

Rode the Paul Bunyan from Crow Wing State Park to Pine River in late June 2017. Agree with other comments regarding signs in Baxter/Brainerd. Poorly marked. Once you get north of Baxter and the trailhead at the Northland Arboretum (mile marker 13), the route is well marked. Problem is all the large cracks in the pavement that feel like you've just hit a 2 by 4. And there are hundreds of them! Also rode the stretch from Pine River to Hackensack last year. It was worse than the section from Baxter to Pine River. Won't ride it this year because of those nasty cracks. Pavement is much better in the Walker area where the Paul Bunyan meets the Heartland to present MANY interesting and enjoyable combinations of trail, towns, hills, flat and scenery. In fact, all of the trail north of Hackensack (all the way to Lake Bemidji State Park) is in good shape with some minor bumps here and there. Apologies to Nisswa, Jenkins, Pine River and Backus who have very nice bike-friendly towns, but their section of trail is TERRIBLE (with the exception of the four miles from mile 37 to 41 which are excellent). No, I'm not with the Walker Chamber of Commerce, just a bike enthusiast who came up here from Florida to spend the summer away from the sweltering inferno that is the Sunshine State this time of year. (Florida is great from December to February... don't work for them either.)

Paul Bunyan State Trail

May 2017

May, 2017 by latriciadavis

My husband came up from Missouri and rode the trail from Crow Wing to Lake Bemidji. It is a beautiful ride. However, the signs are very confusing in places. In Brainard there were Paul Bunyan signs and then you would come to an intersection and there would be a MTR trail signs. Being unfamiliar with the trail we were quite confused. Then in Bemidji they need to distinguished between the main trail and the city connection routes. Overall, it was a great ride.

Paul Bunyan State Trail

What causes the bumps?

April, 2017 by jchapline

A friend and I biked from Baxter to Bemidji and back, two years ago, in July 2015. It's a beautiful trail and a fun ride. I'm not complaining, but I'm curious about the bumps and ridges in the trail. There are long sections that have raised ridges across the trail at frequent intervals. Relying on my memory, almost two years after that ride, I would say there was a raised ridge across the trail about every 20 feet. Possibly caused by frost, I don't know. In other sections, there were a lot of 2-inch-high bumps where plants were forcing their way up through the asphalt. Will the bumpiness stay the same, get worse, or is it repaired at intervals? What's the plant that can grow right through an asphalt trail?

Paul Bunyan State Trail

Needs better signs

January, 2017 by tim.bee

This is a great trail from Crow Wing State Park with lots of small hills & curves. Once you get to Baxter it becomes very confusing because there is another trail (MRT) that sometimes runs contiguously with it, sometimes parallel & sometimes goes in another direction. Obviously, better signs are needed.

When we rode it last summer we put on a lot of extra city miles getting through Baxter/Brainerd--mostly on busy city streets. Most of the locals had no clue about trails. Once through Brainerd the trail is wonderful going through pine forests & by lakes. There was supposed to be some road construction north of Nisswa but don't know if that's done or how it impacts trail?

Paul Bunyan State Trail

Flowers in Full Bloom!

July, 2016 by shaberstroh

We biked from Crow Wing State Park to Nisswa. The first several miles wind through the park with Pines, Birch and Oak trees. Along the trail edges were Black Eyed Susans which in July were in full bloom. In Baxter at approximately 10 miles, there was a convenience store/gas station with rest room (College Square). We turned left at the corner, but looks like you can go straight as well. There are some fast food places on the main road just a block north of the trail. After leaving Baxter/Brainerd you will past several lakes. In Merrifield (mile 21) there was a Superamerica Gas Station. We continued on to Nisswa (mile 29), where there were several restaurants was well as shops to browse. We had lunch and then turned around at this point. Trail was wide, well marked for the most part and fairly smooth pavement.

Paul Bunyan State Trail

Great for Rollerblading

July, 2016 by negangardo

Skated from Bemidji to Baxter in 2 days. The pavement and scenery are great the whole way and between Hackensack and Walker was my favorite. I took the original route (not the Shingobee connecting trail) and while it is hilly it is manageable if you have a good brake. The blind turns are worse than the elevation changes in my opinion. Bemidji to Hackensack is pretty sparse for supplies other than LaPorte so pack lots of water. The southern half has more frequent towns with better services. Only complaint is the walk from the trail in Baxter to the bus stop. Bus service is affordable and nice though. Highly recommend this trail and hope to go again!

Blue Ox Trail (Voyageur Trail)

A lot to know about a trail with little info

June, 2016 by adamsmarineservice

Parts of the trail between Big Falls and Littlefork are under a foot or more of water, and for a considerable distance. Not recommended for smaller atvs, bicycles, etc, on that portion. Most of the trail is overgrown with tall grass and in some areas it's hard to tell where the trail even is. It's ok for atvs and horses but nothing else. It's very bumpy too. If the dnr maintained and repaired the trail I'm sure more people would use it

Paul Bunyan State Trail

October 1st. Trail is now open between mile 8 & 9

October, 2015 by mlstskog

Paul Bunyan State Trail

Trail detour

June, 2015 by mlstskog

Road construction on trail between mile 8 and 9.

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